We recently said goodbye to Kevin’s bicycle. It was stolen from our building’s “secure” parking garage. We really miss the red bicycle. With it, we travelled all around the city and also visited places like Point Roberts, Galiano Island and Salt Spring Island.
I’m fortunate to still have my bicycle because it was being repaired at a local bike shop at the time of the theft. Someone tried to steal my rear wheel a few days earlier while my bicycle was parked at work. I’ve never been so grateful for an act of vandalism.
Everyone knows bicycle theft is a big problem in Vancouver. Now that we’ve been hit by it, we’re puzzled by the messages around bike theft. HUB has this educational video about correct bicycle parking to prevent theft, but it focuses on parking your bike at a destination:
We haven’t found many resources on bicycle theft that examine the problem of theft while your bicycle is parked at home. We couldn’t even file a stolen bicycle police report because theft from a secure parking garage is considered a break and enter and not just a stolen bicycle. The number of stolen bicycles in this city must be much higher than the official statistics report.
Here is our situation, which I suspect will sound familiar to many of you:
We rent a condo unit where the bicycle storage room is small and full. When we moved into the building, we were informed that the only option for bicycle parking outside of our unit would be to rig up something in our unit’s two (!) motor vehicle parking spots in the parking garage. Off we went to Home Depot to buy the heaviest chain we could find. We tied this to the concrete pillar between our two parking spots and locked our bicycles with U-Locks to the chain. This worked well for a couple of years, but then someone came along with tools to cut the chain and removed Kevin’s bicycle. My bicycle now lives in our front hallway where it competes for space with a stroller; we have no room for a second bicycle. The strata that manages our complex doesn’t allow bicycles in elevators so I have to be sneaky when I transport my bicycle between our unit and the ground level. Proper bicycle racks and storage systems are not allowed in most parking stalls in the building’s underground parking. There are no immediate plans to expand the bicycle storage room and we learned from the strata that bicycles have even been stolen from that space.
So where can Vancouverites, particularly renters, safely lock their bicycles at or near their homes overnight?
TransLink provides some bike lockers and secure bike parking, but all of these facilities are intended for daytime use. TransLink lockers can be used overnight, but they are very limited and the cost of $10 a month adds up to quite a bit for a long-term rental. In addition to a bike share, perhaps Vancouver needs to look at developing hubs for secure around-the-clock bicycle parking throughout the city.
The Cycling in Cities project found the risk of bike theft to be a deterrent of cycling, so this need for secure all-hours bicycle parking seems pressing if the City wants to increase the cycling mode share.
Do you have any ideas to share? We’re listening.