Stop thieves riding away with Christmas presents
FINDING a shiny new bicycle under the Christmas tree no matter your age, is a never-to-be-forgotten moment.
It's a special gift which combines fun, fitness, freedom and that a heady taste of independence as you take your first pedal down the street.
Unfortunately, it's also a big business for criminals, worth an estimated $50 million with more than 25,000 bikes stolen annually in Australia.
Rising thefts and low recovery rates
Until now, rising theft numbers and low recovery rates meant the chance to finding your stolen bike was as unlikely as winning the Tour de France.
But keen cyclist and former police officer Brad Kellas has created the Stolen Bicycles Australia database which allows people to register their own bike and post a message when one is stolen.
The website contains a public and police accessible database, which now has over 1000 recently stolen bikes valued over $2.4 million, offering hope for those hoping to locate a beloved ride.
Mr Kellas said bike owners can register their bikes for free at www.bikevault.com.au, the confidential part of the Stolen Bicycles Australia database, where you can lock up your bikes identity and your ownership in a personal vault, before your bike is stolen.
"By registering your bike a date stamped Log book history is created that remains with your bike and can later be transferred to a new owner and this will go long way to prove your bikes authenticity and ownership when you go to sell in the future."
Mr Kellas said SBA is also running an online competition to win $3000 towards a new bicycle upon completion of a stolen bicycle survey.
He said people looking to purchase a bicycle second-hand at any time of the year should tread carefully.
"If you suspect the bike is stolen or something is not quite right, it is best to walk away to avoid potentially lining the pockets of a bike thief or handler of stolen bikes," he said.
"By proceeding to purchase a bike you suspect may be stolen, you run the risk of losing your hard earned money and the potential of facing charges yourself, if the bike is later recovered and found to be stolen."
At Lismore's Harris Cycles, Darryl Pursey advised anyone giving a bicycle this Christmas to include a good lock.
Lock your bikes
He said people should always aim to put a spoke in the wheel of bike thieves by locking their bikes when not in use, even at home, school or work.
"The most common instance is people get home and leave their bicycle by the front door or by the shed and when they come back its gone," he said.
"I look at most local thieves are opportunists so a lock is a good deterrent, as is parking your bike in a busy, public place, because most bike thieves are not going to walk down the street with a big pair of bolt-cutters."
However Mr Pursey did say it's not always good value to purchase the best bike lock.
"You might not want to pay $100 for a lock for a $200 kids bike," he said.
"If you can, get your licence number engraved on the bike frame so the police can track you down if it does get stolen."
In Ballina, Andrew Downey from the Bicycle Emporium said most high-end bikes are stolen from homes, rather than on the street.
"If you have a high-end bike, then always lock it up at home even if you store it in a locked garage," he said.
"Make sure you have your bicycle included in in your home and contents insurance insurance policy too."