Bait bikes tempt Whistler thieves

Bike thieves along the Sea-to-Sky corridor may soon be in for a surprise thanks to a new anti-theft program being introduced by the RCMP.

The program, called the Sea-to-Sky Free Ride (S2S Free Ride), will allow RCMP officers in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton to deploy special bicycles throughout the area that, if stolen, allow the RCMP to track and locate them.

“Bike theft across the region has steadily increased over the last few years, to the point where we, as police, had to try a new approach to stop it,” explains Sgt. Rob Knapton, Whistler RCMP.

“The S2S Free Ride program will allow us to track and recover the stolen bikes and will help identify the people responsible for the theft.”

While bike theft may not seem like a significant issue in other parts of the province, in the Sea-to-Sky corridor much of the local economy is based on tourism, and cycling is a major draw.

Many of the bikes in the area represent a significant financial investment for their owners, and any time a bike is stolen it is a huge inconvenience and financial hardship for the victims.

“Anyone considering stealing a bike needs to know that our S2S Free Ride bikes are out there,” said Knapton, “and they won’t know which ones they are.”

“If you happen to steal one of our bikes we will know exactly where it is and we will be coming to get it back.”

Bike owners should take some basic precautions to help ensure that they are not victims of theft. These include:

  • Lock your bike no matter how long you are leaving it. Often bikes are stolen within minutes of being parked. Don’t just trust the lock as they can be removed with minimal effort. Take the extra step and remove the seat or a wheel as an extra deterrent.
  • Secure underground parking lots at apartment/condo complexes are continually targeted. If you are required to store your bike in a designated area, consider multiple locking systems.
  • Avoid leaving your bike on or in your vehicle as thieves find ways into the secure underground parking lots.
  • Record serial numbers (no matter the value) so that they can be added to police computer records, helping bikes be identified as stolen property if located.
  • Photograph your bike, as a reference, to assist police in identification.
  • Document upgraded components or modifications made.

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