Along with Cycle Wellington, Greater Wellington, the police and local bike shops, we encourage Wellington bike owners to register their bikes with 529 Garage. This is a free app that allows other local app users to monitor missing bikes and can help police return bikes to their rightful owners.
If your bike is stolen, you’ll have all the information you need to report it to the police in the usual way and for insurance purposes, and you can use the app to alert other local app users if you wish it.
529 Garage is the world’s largest community bike salvage service. It started in North America and recently started operating in New Zealand.
Terry Steven, owner of the Wellington Electrify NZ store on Thorndon Quay, is a huge fan.
“We pre-register all the bikes we sell with 529 Garage before they leave our door and encourage new owners to use the system. Over the past few weeks we have also gone through our records and recorded the frame numbers of approximately 1500 bikes sold over the past few years. This means that, even if their owners do not enter them into the system, if the bike is stolen and recovered, it can give the police a useful point of contact to help find the owner.
“We also encourage anyone who comes to have their bike serviced or repaired to download the app and register their bike with 529 Garage. It’s extremely well thought out and it works. »
In other places where 529 Garage is in use, authorities have noticed a promising drop in bike theft. For example, there was a 40% drop in bicycle theft in the four years since the service launched in Vancouver, Canada.
Registering is quick and easy:
- Your bike will be included in a secure national database.
- If you report it was taken and someone sees it, they can contact you anonymously through the app, or you can choose to share the contact information.
- You can also use the database to check if a used bike you are considering buying has been reported as stolen.
Cycle Wellington’s Alex Dyer hopes this will spread here and eventually see fewer bikes stolen and more returned to their owners.
“More and more Wellingtonians are investing in bikes and we don’t want bike theft to put people off or affect their ability to get around,” he says.
When you register, you can choose to get a tamper-evident sticker with a unique registration code to place on your bike frame. The sticker provides a visual deterrent, letting potential thieves know the bike is registered.
Wellington Police Sergeant Hamish Knight says prevention remains the best first line of defence.
“We recommend that you always use a quality D-lock or thick chain lock, locking your frame and wheel to a solid object, and never rely on a flexible cable lock as your primary lock.
“Registering your bike can also be very helpful as it can help us identify it and return it to you if it is found or recovered.”
Learn how to register with 529 Garage and where shield stickers are available in Wellington.
You will also find many tips on how to lock your bike there. video of Christchurch.