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Calgary cycling advocates kick off sticker campaign to curb bike theft

The simple public information campaign is an initiative of Bike Calgary's Bike Theft Task Force

Cyclists ride in Calgary. Photo Credit: BikeCalgary via Compfight cc

In Calgary, local cycling advocates are trying to stem a recent surge in bike theft through a simple, effective public information campaign. The idea? To cover the city’s bike racks with stickers, showing how best to lock up your ride.

Simple though it sounds, the circumstances of recent thefts, as Metro News reports, makes it a necessary measure.

Overall, looking at 90 per cent of Calgary thefts reported recently, bikes, most of which were often unlocked, were lifted from garages, storage lockers or parking structures. When secured, it was little more than a cable lock that held them in place. Recognizing so many hot spots for bike theft, Bike Calgary vice-president Darren Mazzei, launching his organization’s Bike Theft Task Force, saw the opportunity to make a difference, one sticker at a time.

“There’s an education opportunity here,” Mazzei said, speaking to Metro News about his program’s origins. Engaging the help of the City of Calgary, Mazzei and his organization printed 1,000 stickers, splashed with the words, “Good, better, best” in showing how to lock up one’s ride.

Using a U-lock instead of a cable lock, securing the back wheel and removing the front wheel were all among the suggested methods.

“Mostly what I want to get across,” Mazzei said, speaking to reporters, “is that cable locks are not effective. They’re just so easy to break. You can buy cable cutters for about $30 and snip the cable in 15 seconds—and it’s so discreet.”

“If you lock your bike up with a U-lock, that’ll definitely prevent the bike from being stolen.”

Speaking for the City of Calgary, Kim Fisher, the municipality’s active transportation planner, said, “We want to be proactive about this and provide people an opportunity to make an on-the-spot behaviour change,” referring to ways to stop bike theft before it starts. “So, for us, this was a great opportunity for that behaviour change and a really inexpensive way to reach a lot of Calgarians.”

Between 2014 and 2015, Calgary Police noted a 44 per cent increase in reported bike thefts in the Alberta city.