Who cares about bike theft?

by Raymond Parker on March 15, 2012

in Cycling, News

Img description

Stop, thief!

Photo Credit: New York Times, screen grab

If you witnessed a bike theft in progress, would you intervene, call the cops? Going on a new video by New York filmmaker Casey Neistat, if you answered “yes” you’d be an exception to general indifference.

You may be familiar with Neistat’s hilarious antics illustrating how little respect is paid to New York’s bike lanes; now with “Bike Thief” he sets out to discover how seriously folks in the Big Apple take flagrant bicycle burglary.

In the Op-Doc video for The New York Times Neistat uses every tool of the “trade,” from hacksaw to power-grinder, to “steal” his own bike in a variety of locations, even outside a police station.

I recently reported on a citizen-led initiative designed to combat bike theft in Vancouver, using bait-bikes. I mentioned the grounbreaking program launched in 2006 by Victoria Police, abandoned though it proved successful in slashing the rate of bicycle theft in the city.

Last week the department reported a dramatic 59 per cent decline in car theft, linked to its continuing Bait Car program.

From New York to Victoria, it’s apparent that the theft of human-powered transportation draws little attention, from the non-cycling public or those charged with protecting private property … which is why, I guess, cyclists have taken to defending their own assets.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add your spin! }

Conor Ahern March 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm

When I lived in Colorado the cops in Vail, or as I prefer to remember it a housing project for rich people, were giving out tickets for BUI (Biking Under the Influence). This offence also warranted points on the driving license. It is a no win situation, if you drive you get done for drinking and driving, if you cycle you get done for drinking and biking (a former pastime for me, but I never got caught) and if you walk you get done for being drunk in a public place.

As for the moral of my story, I haven’t the clue if it has one or not.


Raymond Parker March 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Perhaps “If you defy the law in Vail, you will fail and go to jail.”


Conor Ahern March 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm

That is good rhyming. But I was always a good boy and never got caught. I only worked in Vail, even as a master craftsman I couldn’t afford to live there. Living was done in a lovely little place called Leadville, the highest town in the USA (in more ways than one, need I say more), where the “Normal” people lived.


Raymond Parker March 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Sorry Conor, I can’t think of anything that rhymes with “Leadville.” However, maybe it should have been called “Headville,” according to your hint.


Ryan March 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I had to use a saw to cut the lock off my bike once. The key broke inside of it. It was in a quieter location so no one noticed as far as I know.

I don’t think I can say one way or the other if I’d intervene. I’d like to say yes, but if you have some nutter, I’m not sure you’d want to risk your own safety.


Felicity March 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I’d be interested to see what would happen if the person sawing off the lock wasn’t caucasian, or nicely dressed, or fairly tall and able-bodies. This guy, I just think “he lost the key”. He matches the bike. But if it’s some guy in a ratty parka, and a big bolt cutter in a sling over his back for easy use, then I’m going to be more suspicious.

But then, who’s going to say anything at all to a man holding a tool that can cut through metal? No bike is worth it, sorry.


Raymond Parker March 15, 2012 at 11:33 pm

The most amusing part of the video (linked above) is where (@ 2:03) Neistat’s friend, who is black, takes over as the “thief.”


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