Author Topic: (USA) Bicycle registration -- which is best?  (Read 7123 times)


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(USA) Bicycle registration -- which is best?
« on: October 23, 2011, 01:44:28 am »
Hi All,

I'm looking at my new Sherpa right now, and realizing I would be wise to register with with some authority so I would have some hope (however infinitesimal) of recovery in the event it is someday stolen.

Where I live, there is a requirement that any bicycle ridden or parked on the local university campus must be registered else it can have the lock cut and be confiscated/impounded by campus security (!). A bicycle may also be registered with the local police department.  While the city license seems to carry little or no weight when parked on campus, the university license has reciprocity with the City regulations, so it makes sense to get the uni version, as I have for my other bikes.  Unfortunately, the license is a rather large sticker (~2.5cm x 6cm or so) which must be displayed prominently on the seat tube in an unobscured location.  Of course this will play havoc with my plans for a Batman Bicycle (all-black, insofar as possible), but that's the way it goes, I suppose.  I'm hoping this will be the year for a black sticker with white lettering.  ;)

A quick check online reveals a number of national registries, which claim to provide information to local police departments in the event a bicycle is reported stolen.  One version uses a code that is readable by smart phone and can be uploaded to Facebook in the event of a theft.  The idea (hopeless as it sounds to me) is someone will see the bike, scan the bar code, and file a time-dated report to make recovery easier.

My question:  What have other 'Merkins done with regard to registering their Thorns?  Is it mandatory in your community?  Have you done it?  Given the universal concern about theft, I'd surely welcome input from abroad as well, along with any suggestions.  Some of my bicycles date from the time when local municipalities actively encouraged one to stamp or engrave their Social Security number on the bicycle.  Of course, thieves discovered identity theft pays better than stealing bikes, so now we lose both our bicycles *and* our identities when thieves strike.





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Re: (USA) Bicycle registration -- which is best?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2011, 07:03:34 pm »

Just been through the registration game with my new Raven Tour. Here in Scotland there is no compulsory registration but the police actively encourage bike registration and even have free registration days up and down the UK. Often the local post code (ZIP) is engraved on the bike. Here is what I did ...
I already had an account here to register other valuables. Many bike shops here sell the RF ID units that jam into the bike. You then just go on-line and enter all details of the bike such as frame ID, description, marks, components and multiple photos. The RF ID unit comes with a separate sticker with another number to attach to the bike as a warning. I entered this sticker number too. If the bike is stolen (or anything registered on the site), the details are passed to the national stolen property register accessible only by the police force in the UK. All police forces here have a hand-held scanner that can read the code and hence return your beloved bike!
This I think is what you refer to when you mention a QR bar code that can be scanned by a smartphone app. There are web sites in the UK, Australia, South Africa and the US and Canada. Maybe more but it is expanding after it was purchased as Bike Revolution by Kryptonite Locks. Again you enter your details, bike details, description, all marks and components and one photograph. It is bike specific and becoming popular. You get 3 stickers which are difficult to remove and are a deterrent.
Just been chosen by the UK police as the preferred registration site in the UK by the police. Its free and all I did was to add all details from the above two sites into this. They also offer an RF ID and other security options. I took the Bronze free version as I already have the Immobilise RF tag. Again stolen bikes can be activated so that the police know if your bike is stolen or not. The police frequently walk around scanning bikes in cities here and the stolen ones pop up. They then wait on the thief - at least I hope they do!!

While UK based they may not be much good to you over the pond (unless you plan a tour on our tiny island!) However the Bike Shepherd/Revolution option is the one to go for, together with a local RF tag that is recognised in your country by the police nationwide.

I have already fitted PitLocks as far as possible ( and looking at one CHUNKY chain lock (

Hope that helps!

« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 07:52:15 pm by StuntPilot »