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Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and the LA Police Department announced a new citywide program aimed to help track and recover stolen and lost bicycles. The department teamed up with Bike Index, a non-profit organization that has an online bicycle registry platform.
By Nov. 13, 2020, according to Biking in LA, there are currently 13 bikes reported stolen on their site this month. In 2014, it was reported that over 25,000 bicycle thefts are reported stolen each year in California, without counting those that go unreported.
In a news release, the LAPD said: “The goal of this partnership is to benefit the Los Angeles community by increasing law enforcement’s ability to recover lost or stolen bicycles. Bicycle owners can voluntarily register their bikes for free with LAPD on Bike Index, and trusted law-enforcement users will be able to contact registrants when their bikes are found.”
For his part, councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who represents a number of city neighborhoods including Woodland Hills, has been working on this issue for a few years. In a video, the councilman said: “The theft of a bicycle can be devastating to people who rely on their bike as their primary means of transportation. Under this program, LAPD sees a bicycle they believe is stolen. They’ll be able to easily use the Bike Index to check whether a theft has been reported and who the bike actually belongs to.”
According to Blumenfield, the only information needed to add a bicycle to Bike Index is the serial number, photos and any other identifying information. In the event of a theft, people should first file a police report at the LAPD Community Online Reporting Service website and then mark their bike as stolen on Bike Index.
After that, Bike Index will reportedly notify pawn shops, riders, and other organizations to be on the lookout for the missing bike. “With your help,” Blumenfield said, “We can cut down on thefts and make Los Angeles a better place to be a bike rider.”
In Los Angeles, bike theft isn’t the only big problem that bicyclists face. Los Angeles has over 28,000 miles of street lanes and only 0.6% of that is bike friendly.
In 2017, the city experienced a total of 1,918 bicycle accidents that resulted in 17 fatalities, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Annual Report. And per the same report, 9.7% of vehicle collisions either injured and/or killed bicycle victims. Moreover, in 2018, California was the second state with the most pedalcyclist deaths in the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.