BU Today

Campus Life

Protect Your Bike from Thieves

Step one: lose the cable lock


Bike thefts around campus dropped by 27 percent this fall compared to the same time last year. But bikes still vanish—10 were stolen last month, including 7 in one week—as mild weather has kept them in use longer than usual. The Boston University Police Department (BUPD) offers beat-a-thief precautions, starting with the types of locks riders should use.

Too many students are still using cable locks, which can be severed with bolt cutters, says Scott Paré, BU’s deputy director of public safety and BUPD deputy police chief. In fact, 61 percent of bikes stolen this fall had been locked by cable or chain, he says. Instead, the BUPD and the University’s bicycle safety committee recommend Kryptonite locks or Ulock. Splurge as much as your budget permits, Paré advises.

“The more money you invest in a lock, the better off you are,” he says.

Bicycles remain the most coveted campus target of thieves, with 32 bikes worth about $15,000 stolen this semester, Paré says. Locations suffering repeated thefts included 765 and 771 Commonwealth Ave., 610 Beacon St., and 91 and 140 Bay State Road.

Besides using better locks, officials advise riders to:

  • Park smart. Use bike racks on campus, and particularly if storing a bike overnight, the indoor bicycle storage spaces. The latter are the safest bike parking spaces at BU, according to Paré.
  • Register your bike with the University here. Each registered bike gets a numbered decal, making retrieval easier for the rider if authorities find a missing bike. BU’s Parking & Transportation Services has almost 3,900 bikes registered.
  • Report suspicious loiterers or behavior around bike parking areas to BU police.

The good news is the drop in thefts. Paré says there were more bike thefts in September of last year than in all of this fall.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

11 Comments on Protect Your Bike from Thieves

  • Julissa on 12.18.2012 at 5:27 am

    where is the BU today article on BU’s initiate to promote education on how to share the road with bikers and safe DRIVING on commonwealth avenue? such article would be much more appreciated after recent “bike-safety” articles — not this.

    • BU Today on 12.18.2012 at 10:09 am

      Thank you for your comment. BU Today has reported on bike safety tips, including a recent article on products that help increase visibility on the road. Read the full articles here: http://www.bu.edu/today/2012/bike-safety-gear-see-be-seen-and-heard/ and http://www.bu.edu/today/2011/bicycle-and-pedestrian-safety-day-returns/

    • AP on 12.18.2012 at 10:15 am

      I agree that drivers and bicyclist both need to ride carefully. But how would it be practical for BU to educate motorists when the University is located along Boston’s biggest thoroughfares?

      The overwhelming majority of the traffic along Comm Ave, passing through Kenmore Square, or getting off of the Mass Pike or Storrow Drive, isn’t affiliated with the University. How is BU supposed to reach them, without spending exorbitant amounts of money on mass-mailings to the Greater Boston area or television advertisements?

  • SigChi on 12.18.2012 at 9:08 am

    One of my brother’s frats used to make the pledges steal bikes haha, ya the cable locks are no good. ulocks all the way

    • yeah on 12.18.2012 at 10:17 am

      greek life ftw! \s

  • M on 12.18.2012 at 9:18 am

    I agree with Julissa. Those who drive requires an education on learning how to share the road with bikers. Bikers themselves already have too much to deal with such as with thieves and mechanic issues; those who bike deserve peace of mind on the road and that would not be achieve until drivers keep their distance from bike lanes and slow down.

  • BU Faculty on 12.18.2012 at 9:50 am

    Can BU install cameras in the locations with multiple bike thefts? Plus, your numbers are too low. Many people don’t report a stolen bike to BU Police, especially when most insurance policies don’t cover stolen bikes.

  • Kevin on 12.18.2012 at 9:53 am

    As a biker who commutes to BU every day, I’d like to see MA require all drivers (esp. in metro Boston) to receive special training on driving with bikers. Start with the Metro bus drivers & commercial vehicles. The BU BUS drivers, in my experience, are much nicer to bikers. The Metro bus drivers scare me.

    • Jack on 12.18.2012 at 10:42 am

      Taxi’s need this more than anyone else. They are a whole new breed of monster. Everything from pulling directly into bikers to stopping in a crosswalk. As a daily bike commuter I’ve learned to fear taxi’s more than any other vehicle. I mean on a friday night they are a welcoming sight (most likely not drunk) but any other time, they are the most aggressive drivers on the road.

  • Orly? on 12.18.2012 at 10:21 am

    BU Today isn’t required to only write about “safe driving and riding” until all deaths stop.

    Most students ride bikes, they don’t drive, and there has been plenty of information about riding safely. Meanwhile, it’s worth helping them prevent theft of their wheels.

    Also, Julissa and “M,” the city of Boston controls the roads, and the citizens of Boston (and those passing through) control their driving. There’s not much BU can do, but I am willing to bet that BU Today would cover such an “initiate” if it happened. However, passive aggressive comments at the end of an article that happens to be about bikes is hardly the place to begin concrete action, which means you’re only interested in complaining and trolling, not making a difference.

  • voiceofreason on 12.18.2012 at 1:06 pm

    If the fraternity brothers are stealing bicycles, why don’t we search their houses? seems like that ‘sigma chi’ smart aleck just came forth…..

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