Photo: The New York Times
NYC filmmaker Casey Neistat became notorious for a 2010 video documenting himself crashing into objects blocking bike lanes. He’s at it again, this time pairing up with the New York Times to show how shockingly easy it is to steal bikes in the city.
With a camera rolling, Neistat tries to steal his own bike using tools popular among bike thieves–a hacksaw, a steel crowbar and a power tool–in at least four well-lit public spaces.
Only the power tool draws enough eyeballs to attract the cops, and he still manages to steal his bike from a rack installed right outside a police precinct.
This is pretty troubling, especially for bike commuters in NYC–including myself–who leave their bikes parked outside during the workday.
In the two years since I started cycling to work in Manhattan, I’m fortunate to say that the only things I’ve ever lost have been a couple detachable bike lights.
Here are some tips I’ve shared on my cycling blog to keep your bike out of the wrong hands:
Invest in a sturdy lock. Neistat easily used a hacksaw and crowbar to break the chain lock around his bike, but in a city running rampant with professional bike thieves like NYC, you’ll need to do better than that. I use the Kryptonite mini U-lock ($40, Amazon).
Protect your seat and wheels. Sometimes thieves would happily make off with your bike saddle or wheels if you don’t protect them–especially if they’re high-quality. If you have a quick-release seat, take a few seconds to remove it and cart it into the office or in a pinch, cover it with an opaque shopping bag. Keep your wheels secure with a heavy duty cable, which you can loop through your U-Lock. Try Kryptonite’s Double Loop Security Cable ($13, Amazon).
Park in populated areas. My bike is expensive, but I don’t worry about parking it on the sidewalk while I’m at work. The area is heavily trafficked by pedestrians and since you’d need a high-powered tool to saw off my U-lock, I doubt a thief would get very far before someone called the cops (Neistat’s experiment backs me up).
Park indoors when possible. In Manhattan, commercial office buildings with one freight elevator are required by law to provide bike parking indoors. I only park outside because my service elevator shuts down at 5 p.m. and I’m rarely out before 7.
Register your ride. There are several ways to register your bike to track it down if it’s ever stolen. For $10, the National Bike Registry will cover you for 10 years and send a tamper-resistant ID label that can be used to track it if stolen. Many cities have their own registries. NYC cyclists can register their rides via the NYPD.
See Neistat’s full video below below:
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