Maddy’s Safety Tips

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Being someone who doesn’t cycle regularly, I wanted to compile a list of the top 12 safety tips I feel are important for those who do cycle in the Tuscaloosa-area to know.

– What I Personally Learned From Sources About Theft –

  1. The more expensive the bike the more expensive the care needed to protect it from theft.
  2. If you have a bike valued at over $500, like a Cannondale or a Ibis, add it to your home owners or renters insurance policy. That way, if it’s stolen, you aren’t completely at a loss.
  3. Keep that bike locked up at all times when you are not on it, even if you are just running into the Ferg for a cup of Starbucks or storing it inside the frat house.
  4. When possible, ALWAYS lock your bike TO A BIKE RACK. Locking it to a light post or a street sign will do nothing. Thieves are smart, and if you have a cable lock, they can lift it right over the top. Also, your bike could be impounded if you attach it to something illegal, like a yield or a stop sign.
  5. If the bike rack you are near is completely full, find another one. Even if it “looks” like it’s locked up doesn’t mean you can get away with it NOT being stolen. Thieves tend to lurk around racks to look for those sorts of bikes.
  6. Be careful not to lock your bike to itself instead of the rack. This is extremely easy to do, especially if you are running late to class or work, and thieves can take off with the entire thing if you are not careful.
  7. Use a U-lock AND a cable lock. A U-lock is the best lock to invest in to save your bike, and some U-locks come with an attached cable which is even BETTER. Using a cheap Walmart cable lock alone is not enough to prevent theft. Thieves can cut through these locks easily with bolt cutters or a hand dremel.
  8. When using a U-lock, position your bike frame and wheels so that you fill or take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack your lock (courtesy of TusconVelo.com).
  9. Always position a U-lock so that the keyway is facing down towards the ground. Don’t position the lock close to the ground. This makes it easier for a thief to attack it (courtesy of TusconVelo.com).
  10. If you have quick release wheels on your bike make sure you run your lock through BOTH wheels. If not, a thief can pop your front or back tire right off and walk off with the rest of your bike. Also, if you have a quick release seat clamp pop that seat off and take it with you, too. Thieves don’t just steal whole bikes, they steal parts, too.
  11. If you buy a bike from a local retail store and not a bicycle shop make a point to visit with a mechanic to discuss possible safety measures for your bike. They’ve made a living dealing with bicycles and can point you in the right direction.
  12. Don’t leave your bike locked to some random rack overnight. If you don’t live on campus, bring your bike home with you and lock it up there. The longer a bike stays immobile on a rack, the more a thief will want to steal it, especially if they see it there all the time.
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