Williams Lake RCMP Const. Sean Doyle is encouraging every bicycle owner to sign up for 529 Garage, an anti-theft bike registration program.
Doyle gave a short presentation during a Williams Lake Cycling Club movie event held Thursday at the Cariboo Memorial Complex and said in the last 18 months there were 55 bikes stolen in Williams Lake.
“The average cost of those bikes was over a $1,000 each so we are well over $100,000,” Doyle said.
“It’s out of hand and up until bringing 529 here the police didn’t really have any tools,” he said.
“529 Garage was created in Portland, Oregon by the CEO of Microsoft. He had his bike stolen out front the Microsoft building and there was nothing that could be done about it.”
Registering a bike is free by downloading an app on phone or computer.
“The only thing that costs money are the little tamper-proof tags you get to put on your bike,” Doyle said, but added people don’t need the tags to register.
They just need several photos of their bike and the serial number.
Tags will, however, be sold at Barking Spider and Red Shred’s and Doyle said both shops have helped him ‘big time’ and been very supportive.
In the Lower Mainland the program is known widely as a deterrent, he added.
“Currently in Whistler they just reported they have 61 per cent reduced bike theft in the last two years since bringing in the program. Vancouver is down 39 per cent.”
If a bike is stolen, it is reported on the 529 Garage app and goes to every police agency in B.C.
“If your bike gets stolen from Williams Lake and ends up in another area, they will be able to find it and send you an e-mail and tell you they found your bike.”
— Project 529 (@project529) November 21, 2018
Describing the program as a ‘global’ effort, he said it only really works if everyone is registered.
“The best part is, it’s not only the police that are looking for your bike if it is stolen. There are more than a million bikes registered in North America.”