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Bicycle owners urged to record serial numbers and report thefts

Gardai say that vast bulk of victims of bicycle theft do not know the details of their own bicycles. Owners of bicycles are being asked to photograph and record key details of their bikes, in case of theft.

The request comes after a nearly 50% spike in bicycle thefts in the south east area of Dublin, which we reported on last month, and a 70% increase in Limerick City, which we reported on last year.

“In the vast number of cases where bicycles are reported as being stolen, the victim cannot provide Gardaí with the serial number of their bicycle so we are appealing to cyclists to take a moment to record the details of their bicycles and keep it in a safe place,” said Sergeant Kelvin Courtney from the National Crime Prevention Unit.

When bicycles are recovered by the Gardai, they often find it hard to reunite them with the bike’s owners, as the owners do not report the bicycles stolen or do not have a comprehensive description of their bikes when doing so.

The general advice in case of bicycle theft includes:

  • Photograph your bicycle
  • Record the serial number on your bicycle (here’s how to find it)
  • Note its make and model
  • Keep the details in a printable format in case you need to report it
  • Report any theft to the closest station to where the theft happened

To try to avoid theft, the Gardai and Dublin City Council advise:

  • As a general guide think about spending around 10% of the value of the bike you are trying to protect on locks
  • Use two locks, which are a combination of different lock types. The tools used to force rigid U locks and flexible cable or chain locks are different and most thieves don’t carry both.
  • Lock your bike frame to something solid and secure
  • Fit locks snugly, slack locks are easier to break
  • If locking your bike in public make sure that the location is well lit or covered by CCTV
  • In the city use Dublin City Council’s monitored, free bike park at Drury Street

MORE: Cycling popularity pushes bicycle theft up 70% in Limerick
MORE: Bicycle theft up nearly 50% in central area of Dublin City
MORE: Bicycle theft: Minister for Justice says Gardai are targeting main offenders

And here’s how to and how not to lock your bicycle:

Hal Grades Your Bike Locking 2014 (Part IV) from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

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Cian Ginty


  1. Reporting your stolen bike is always a good idea in my opinion. It’s common for people to say that it won’t do any good, but even if the guards don’t find your bike it still helps the powers that be identify the scope of the problem.

    Guards find a guy with an angle grinder and ten bikes thrown in the back of his van? If none of those bikes are reported stolen then they can’t do anything.

    I’m not sure about the lock advice. If someone buys a €200 bike from Halfords then spends €20 to get a bad d-lock and cable lock combination then I think they largely may as well not bother. I would say the minimum you should spend if you are going to leave your bike locked for more than a few minutes on a regular basis is €50. I also think one €50 lock is superior to two €25 locks even if they are different types.


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