One of the main problems when surveys are done regarding urban mobility is the conflict between bikers and pedestrians. Riding on sidewalks (outside bike-lines) is fined in a lot of countries. The bike is logically considered as a vehicle and thus it should move on pavement or bike-lines. Bikers who ride their bikes on sidewalks probably do it because:
– They act as pedestrians, following the same paths and mental schemes as if they were walking. But not, they are riding and this can cause problems due to the higher speed than human step and/or the potential accident caused by the fact that it is an almost noiseless transport.
– This kind of bikers also can present fear to ride on pavement. This fear is understandable in some cases specially in avenues in which cars and motorcycles do not usually respect the speed limit. This reason makes it difficult to convince those bikers to move to the pavement since the more bikers on it, the more calmed traffic we will enjoy. In order to avoid going around in circles, government actions on sustainable mobility should calm traffic and, at the same time, bikers should take the pavement.
As I previously wrote about, locking the bike is key if you want to enjoy it. Today, I am going to focus on how to avoid bike thefts. Of course, the best way is to lock your bike at home, specially on nights, but this is not always possible. When you lock your bike in the street, you should consider a few points:
Locking bikes on thin metal bicycle parkings is a bad idea. Better, locked it to a sturdy, hard to hack post or a tree (this last point could be controversial according to some local laws)
Difficult, but not impossible: Locking wheels to the frame so that they can’t turn, but not locking the frame to a post or something. Bicycle can easily be carried away and locks open at one’s convenience at home.
Locking just wheels, not the frame itself, to a post or a tree. Wheels are simply taken off, left, while the rest of the bike is carried away.
Locking the frame, but leaving the chain close to the ground. Ground provides lots of leverage for different cutting tools. Keep locks as high as possible.
Having too long to wide locks and padlocks, leaving room to insert leverage metal bars, car lifting jacks etc – is also a bad idea.
Combine at least two types of locks so that thieves must use at least two different tools.
Lock the frame to a strong immobile object, putting the lock through the frame so that it can’t be taken off without cutting the frame (or the lock).
Lock both wheels (to the frame, or an immobile object).
Make sure saddle, or other expensive parts are either taken off, or locked to the frame as well.
No method is 100% safe. Even a well locked bicycle with a good lock takes about 20 minutes to hack. If the thief uses a battery powered angle grinder, it is just few minutes. However, if the bike is better locked than the other bikes in the street and it doesn’t look more expensive, there is a greater chance you conserve it the next day.
When one thinks about locking the bike to a cycle parking or a piece of a street furniture, it is always useful to consider three key elements in whatever bike. No matter if you have a folding bike, tandem or mountain bike, all have the same parts. Saddle, front and rear wheels should be properly locked as these elements are the most common target of bike thieves. Of course, they can steal the whole bike, but it is normally faster to just rob one part. Nevertheless, I will write about the whole bike and the ways of locking it right in other time. For now, take into account how your bike elements are secured because it is not the same having fast-open locks, locking skewer or traditional nuts. The last ones make thefts to take more time, because an adjustable wrench is needed. Also, try to use different locks so that you have an indirected advantage: more than one tool is need.
As it comes to bike locks, you can find several types in the market.
- Chain and padlock: Hardened steel chains are heavy, but flexible. Try to use one with hexagonal profile so that cutters press on a wider area, creating less force per mm. It should be at least 10 mm thick.
- Cable with lock: Cable locks use to be easy to carry and flexible. However, they are a bit easier to cut and I recommend use them as additional locks.
- U-lock: Lower weight per level of protection and easy to carry, but it has the lowest flexibility and you need to find a proper post.
- Folding lock: The best locks joint with the U-locks. The folding locks offer good security and are easy to carry.
Cheap bad locks and poorly locked bicycles are taken within a minute or less with ordinary tools every small thief has. Better use a combination of good locks and lock the bike in secure, crowded places.
In this post I am not referring to white bikes as opposite to black bikes. The white bikes are put in the places where a cyclist died, mainly as a result of a car accident. Those bikes are a kind of gravestone to remember the tragic event and in memory of the person who died. It is common that among the events to remember this cyclist, candles and/or flowers are placed next to it. Friends and local bikers offer their respects to the white bikes as they were the lost people. These monuments recall us we have to obey the traffic law, indicate our movements and use lights at night.