Can Cyclists Stop Bike Thieves? - $1 (Williamsburg)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2009-04-30, 4:56PM EDT
I've noticed that bicycle theft seems to be on the rise, especially in my nabe of Williamsburg, and my rear wheel was recently stolen in broad daylight on a Manhattan street. What I keep wondering is, why doesn't anyone say anything when they see someone stealing a bike or parts? Or what about someone who's selling suspicious bikes or parts? Surely honest cyclists can do something to help stop this, no? Just calling the cops might be a start. Or maybe asking a suspicious guy if that's his bike/parts he's working on/selling, or where he got them. Maybe just don't buy suspicious stuff.
I gotta believe that if the bike community worked together to stop thieves all our rides might be safer. Anyhow, if you're a theif, all I can say is I hope I'm the one who sees you trying to jack a ride...
The answer to this question, is of course, "No." Firstly, the problem isn't that people don't say anything when they see bikes getting stolen; the problem is that people don't see the bikes getting stolen in the first place. This is because thieves are what experts on crime call "sneaky." Secondly, even when you do see a thief, you don't always know he's a thief. (This is part of the whole "sneaky" thing.) For example, not too long ago, I was walking down the street, juggling citrus fruit and whistling Shostakovich to myself in my usual fashion. As I perambulated, I noticed a fellow mount a department store mountain bike in front of a restaurant and then ride away. I thought nothing of it--after all, people mount department store mountain bikes and ride away all the time. However, moments later a delivery person emerged from the restaurant looking for his bike, at which point I realized I had witnessed a theft in progress. Naturally I felt bad for the victim. However, I certainly cannot be expected to stop and interrogate every person I see mounting a bicycle. Furthermore, how was I to know he was a thief in the first place? The brigand didn't even have the decency to wear a proper bandit's outfit! (See what I mean about thieves being "sneaky?") At any rate, by the time I realized what had happened, the thief was well out of citrus fruit range (I can hurl fruit with deadly accuracy) and there was little else to be done.
Actually, I should qualify that "No." There is one thing you can do to stop bike thieves. You can lock your bike properly. This doesn't always work, but it helps a lot. The delivery person's bike was locked extremely poorly, by which I mean not at all. Incidentally, to say that crime is on the rise in Williamsburg is a highly relative statement, since it's only fairly recently that people felt safe enough there to parade all sorts of expensive stuff up and down Bedford Avenue in the first place.
And as far as the "bike community" working together, we can't even agree on whether or not to use fenders, so I think forming a united crime-fighting force is still a bit far-fetched at this point. We'd never get past what kind of bikes they should ride or what kind of pedals they should use. (Somehow they'd probably wind up riding Dutch city bikes and wearing SCUBA fins.) So in the meantime, make sure to lock your bike and wheels.
Of course, locking your bike well requires a certain degree of mental acuity, and in the interest of helping you hone this acuity I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're correct you'll see either the item or some sort of affirmation. If you're incorrect, you'll be forced to endure this fixed-gear safety video.
Ride safe this weekend, and be sure to lock your bike, whip, steed, mount, ride, or crotch chariot.
1) What's going on in this new "sheltered" bike lane?
--An impromptu "tween party" is taking place
--A pro-Vespa sit-in is taking place
--A commuter race is underway and this is the feed zone
--Cyclists are enjoying yet another morning commute free from obstructions
2) What's going on in this new "sheltered" bike lane?
--Somebody is hauling recycling
--Somebody is hauling dry cleaning
--Somebody has commandeered the bike lane with a flotilla of crap
--All of the above
3) The correct term for the plastic device mounted above the rear wheel of this bicycle is:
4) What are these people doing?
--Destroying acres of rainforest
--Building new mountain bike trails
--Performing their court-mandated public service after being arrested for cycling under the influence of alcohol
--Harvesting bamboo to build bicycle frames
5) What are these?
--Futuristic exercise bikes
--All of the above
6) If you're a hipster Smurf and want a track bike, where's the best place to look?
7) Which "The Smurfs" character would most likely palp this bike?
8) BDBMBL stands for "Backwards Dildo Bar-Mounted Brake Lever."
***Special Cycling-In-Non-Cycling-Publications Bonus Question!!!***
The author of the controversial Wired post "5 Inexplicable Fixie Fashions," as well as its back-pedaling follow-up, "The Great Gadget Lab Fixie Project," has recently discovered which popular cycling accessory?
--The "Bento Box"