Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bike thefts hit a Logan condo

Pat Collins of NBC 4 reports in the video below about the brazen theft of bikes plaguing a condo near 13th and N Street in Northwest near Logan Circle. A total of 1,142 bikes where reported stolen last year in the District, with the actual number probably much higher.

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By way of WABA, the bike lock manufacture Kryptonite offers some tips on how to thwart would be thieves.  Unfortunately, poor Kent McCarthy did most of those things and still lost his bike.  While there appear to be other problems that contribute to why his bike was stolen (like the ease at which people are allowed to enter the building), the main problem appears to be that the bikes are not properly changed to a proper bike rack.

The District's Bicycle Parking Expansion Amendment Act of 2010 requires that large commercial and residential buildings to provide adequate and safe bike parking.  Kent's condo should have had a relatively expensive rack installed.  In the words of Kent,"A lock isn't a sure thing", but there are ways to reduce you're likelihood of coming to find that your bike is gone.

A two-square foot building pillar seem ideal to lock a bike but actuality it is not safe because it's too wide and relies on the relative thinness of a 6 ft. wire.  While Kent used two locks, he used a vinyl-wrapped chain, which has a notorious incidence of failure if you buy it on the cheap.  Brandy Willingham of the site Mademan offers a lists of the 5 best cable locks, but most of these are short and relatively thick, focusing on wrapping around a proper bike rack.  As a way to make the bike less appealing, add a quick release to the front or rear wheel and take it with you. Taking a bike without a wheel makes it difficult simply ride off with it.

Cross-posted on Rollin'.