Bike theft. Every cyclist’s nightmare and yet an all too common one, particularly here in the CRD. While there’s no substitute for a quality lock and proper locking technique, the Vancouver Police have been exploring new options to prevent bike theft and, just as importantly, ensure recovered bikes are returned to their rightful owners.
Enter 529 Garage, a smartphone app which acts as a community-based bike registration and recovery service. Users register their bike on the app and a tamper-proof sticker is installed to the top of the seat tube, which contains a code corresponding to the register.
When a bike is stolen, users can report it on the app and other users in the area will immediately be notified to keep a look-out for the bike. The app will also post to social media and can automatically generate a poster for your missing bike, printable from your phone. Often stolen bikes, even if they are found, are never returned to their original owners due to the inability to verify ownership. Having your bike registered with a picture, serial number, and detailed information can vastly improve your chances of having the bike returned if it is recovered.
Oak Bay Bikes has teamed up with the 529 Garage to become a registration station for the app. Starting in July pop by Oak Bay Bikes during our open hours to purchase the tamper-proof 529 Garage registration sticker, and we will help you install it and guide you through registering your bike (or bikes!) The cost is $10 or $30 for 4. Anyone purchasing from us, the cost is included in the price of the bike.
529 Garage is currently being promoted and used in the following communities:
- West Vancouver
- Nanaimo (starting June 22nd)
- Prince George
About Project 529
Founded in 2013, Project 529 is a diverse team of software professionals in Portland, Oregon that believes that technology can enhance the cycling experience. Their first product, the 529 Garage is a bicycle registration, reporting and recovery network focused on their 10 year vision to reduce the impact of the bike theft epidemic in North America by 50%.