Bicycle theft is one of the most common and unreported crimes all around the world. It is difficult to prevent it since bicycles are easy to steal.
Especially with children, as their attention span and precaution level are little to non-existent.
You, as a parent, are left with the responsibility to secure and protect their belongings so that they can be as carefree as they want.
How can you ensure your Kid’s Bike safety anywhere while they play freely?
The most effective way to protect any bicycle is to use locks. Especially U-locks are the most recommended ones.
You can protect your bike with a double lock system. Here, the U-lock goes through the back wheel and part of the frame, securing the bike to something solid.
Secure the front wheel and a part of the frame in front with a cable lock, skewers, or a second u-lock similar to the back wheel.
With little practice, even the kids could apply the lock securely whenever you’re not around.
Check my article on How to Lock Your Bicycle on Public? for a better overview of your and your kid’s bike safety.
Here, I am about to discuss 8 different ways to ensure the safety of your kid’s bike from getting stolen:
1. Use High-Quality Locks and Double up the Security
U-locks are the better option for safety and durability rather than cable locks. Cable locks can be cut easily by any daily use equipment like garden scissors.
Thieves find them extremely easy. But you can use a cable lock for extra security along with a U-lock or steel chain.
Use smaller U-locks since they provide less room for leverage to free the bike and are lighter to carry around for you and your kids.
They can go through one of the wheels and solid objects like bike racks, a sturdy bench, or railing, securing the wheels.
But, if you want to be extra careful, you can always carry a bigger U-lock so that it can fit in the frame of the bicycle too.
A loose-fitting lock or a lock hanging too close to the ground could be an easy target for the thieves. So, make sure that the bicycle locks are tight-fitted.
For double security, always lock both the front and the rear wheels. Never leave the rear wheel unlocked as it is the most stolen item.
Secure the rear wheel and frame with a U-lock then, loop the cable lock or steel chain through both front and back wheels along with the U-lock. This method ensures maximum security.
You can swap the quick-releasable seats and wheel skewers for the ones which require keys. You can also use heavy-duty industrial-grade chains that cannot get cut by daily use equipment while locking the bike.
2. Install GPS and Smart-Lock Technology to Track and Lock the Bike
GPS and motion detectors installed in your kid’s bicycle help you track it when stolen or when your kid forgets where he parked it.
Nowadays, more and more technologies get integrated into biking for better experiences and better security. Smart locking tech helps protect your bike even from a distance.
Features like key-less Bluetooth locking mechanisms can alert you when your bike is in motion and even allows you to track its location.
Your bicycle’s safety now can be ensured through your smartphone.
You can use locks that produce a loud alarm sound or smelly gases when someone tampers with your bicycle.
If you don’t know the procedure to install a GPS tracker on your bike, read this article: How to Install a GPS Tracker on your Bike?
Alternatively, you can invest in bike alarms that detect when the bike gets moved, set off a signal, and directly send a message to your smartphone.
Therefore, you can instantly take measures when someone is trying to steal the bicycle.
3. Never Leave your Kids Bicycle Outside at Night
Remember to keep the bicycle indoors at night. You can keep them in your garage or shed. Bicycle theft commonly takes place at night since there is no one around to keep watch.
If you cannot take them indoors, make sure to lock them up with a sturdy anchor and park them in a well-lit area to prevent them from getting stolen.
4. Do Not Lock up the Bike in an Overcrowded or too Secluded Area
Whenever you take your kids on an outing with their bicycles, it is necessary to check the area before parking and locking the bike before leaving it.
If you have to lock up the bike in an unknown neighborhood, be sure to check with the nearest shopkeepers to find the most suitable spot for parking and if the area has any track history of bicycle theft.
If you can, try to lock up the bicycle in an area within your field of vision and check up on it whenever you can.
For instance, if you have to enter a shop or a restaurant, do not lock the bike somewhere far away. Lock it up in an area visible clearly from the shop or restaurant’s window.
Do not lock up your bike in a secluded area, somewhere like a back alley. Choose a spot where people are frequently passing by.
The thieves are less likely to tamper with your bike in such areas with many eyes on them.
While leaving the bike in public, park it in a well-lit area with high traffic and covered by CCTV. Do not park in a crowded area where people are loitering around.
These areas provide perfect cover and enough time for the thieves to break the lock and steal the bike.
5. Make your Bike Look Unappealing
I know we all like to decorate our bicycles a little to make them more attractive. Doing so not only makes them more appealing but also attracts the attention of thieves.
Some people say that an old and cheap bicycle could never get stolen. So, if you want, you can give your kid an old bike to ride for safety.
Make sure not to attach expensive items such as bike lights, horns, or bells to your kid’s bike if you have to leave it unattended in public.
These items are easily noticeable therefore leaving the bike prone to theft.
Cover up the brand’s name, handlebars, and seat with black tape to make the bicycle look unattractive and worn out. So, it does not attract attention from the thieves.
If you do not want to make your bicycle look too ugly or shabby with the black tape, you can stick some stickers on your bike. This way, thieves won’t be able to take away the bicycle unnoticed.
Also, you can give your bike a distinctive style like a whacky paint job so that it looks unique. These bikes are less likely to get stolen than generic ones since adding personalized elements makes them easy to identify.
6. Never Park in the Same Place too Many Times
If your kid rides his bicycle regularly or takes it to the park every day, do not let him park in the same spot for a long time.
Even if it’s a public place, your regular habit makes it easier for thieves to break the lock and steal the bicycle when no one is around.
You don’t have to find a different location every day but, you can choose a few suitable spots and alternate between them.
You can use bicycle covers to protect the bicycle from prying eyes if you have to leave it unattended for a long time.
7. Get your Bicycle Insured
Bicycle insurances are similar to car and motorbike insurances. They provide a sense of security.
They help you alleviate the financial and emotional burden in case your bicycle gets stolen. If you own an expensive bike, you must get insurance for it.
Ensure to read the insurance terms and policy carefully as they may demand you to use a specifically approved lock on your bicycle.
8. Take Note of the Identities of your Bicycle
Even with all the necessary precautions, it is not always easy to protect the bicycle from theft.
Take some photos of your bicycle and the receipt of your purchase and keep them safe. These things will serve in finding the bike in case of theft.
Note down the serial number of your bike. You can find it stamped under the bottom bracket of the frame. Note down the size, color, model, and brand of the bike too. You can also etch your initials on the bicycle.
These things will help identify your bike if the thief puts it on sale online or in some pawn shop.
The most full-proof way to not get your bicycle stolen would be to keep an eye on it all the time. But since that is a little difficult, you can follow the above measures to ensure your kid’s bike safety.
Keep your bicycle safe and enjoy riding!