Registered Your Bike with the Police Yet?

September 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

ampezzan2I was biking over to pick up my daughter from her first day at East End Community School last week and was greeted by Officer Tony Ampezzan at the bike rack, asking if I had registered my bike with the police and whether I would like to do so.  (I realized I had registered a previous beater bike, but not the one I purchased a couple years ago for our big family bike journey.)

For the past several years, the Portland Police Department has had an online registration for bikes – so that if, heaven forbid, your bike is stolen, you can report it and they have key information to go on.  Pawn shops and others are supposed to check the registry before selling a bike, and the police use the registry themselves when they recover bikes and before they sell any at auction.

Officer Tony, who is our local Senior Lead Officer and also a bike patrol officer, proceeded to ask me a few simple questions, helped me flip my bike over to find the serial number, and scribbled some notes on his pad.  He then asked other parents and kids who showed up for their bikes.  I thought it was a friendly way for our local police to reach out and welcome folks back to school.

Bike registration serial numberOne of the key bits of info to capture (besides make, model, color, and any distinguishing characteristics of your bike) is the serial number of your bike. This is often found pressed into or otherwise marked on the underside of the pedal crank hub on most bikes.  For that and other possible serial number locations, see this lovely diagram from our friends at the University of Austin (well, really I’ve never been there, but I liked the graphic).

Officer Tony said they’ve had a rash of bike thefts this past year, to the point that they’ve actually set out some sting bikes to try to catch who’s picking them up.  I asked if my thick cable lock is too wimpy – i.e., that I really should be using a U-Lock.  But his response was that a good number of the thefts reported are for unlocked bikes, so any lock is better than none.

Either way, if you live in Portland, register your bike today to greatly increase the likelihood that it is returned to you if it’s stolen!

And anyone should comment below if you know bike registration is possible through Falmouth, South Portland, Westbrook or other local police departments.

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