Bike Theft

Prevent bike theft by locking your bike frame and front wheel securely. Note your serial number and register with police.

Brampton Library bike rack
Bike parking at Brampton Library
  1. Take a photo of your bike and serial number – store in a safe place
  2. Serial number is engraved on the underside of the bottom bracket of the frame.
  3. Register your bike. If you live in Brampton or Mississauga, register your bike with Peel Regional Police Crime Prevention crime prevention bike serial number registration – then click on ‘Cycling’, then click on ‘Bike Registry’. It appears like this is a form to report a stolen bike, but just fill out the form and keep going. This is the correct form!
  4. Attach the registration sticker you receive in the mail.
Peel police bike registration

If your bike is stolen, report to Police immediately.

You can also search this federal website for your bike: Canadian Police Information Centre – Search by Serial Number

Bike Locking Steps:

  1. All bike locks can eventually be removed. The trick is to slow down the thief with quality and quantity, and make it more difficult.
  2. Lock your bike in a visible, well-lit high-traffic area.
  3. If there are secure bike parking facilities, use them.
  4. Lock the frame and at least the front wheel. Lock the back wheel if possible.
  5. Use multiple locks of the best quality and the thickest you can afford.
  6. Lock to a secure immovable post or rack (not the weak links in a chain link fence!)
  7. Keep the lock(s) off the ground so the thief cannot smash with a hammer.
  8. If bike components and bags cannot be secured, remove them and carry with you. A small light-weight back pack or attachable shoulder strap is helpful.
  9. If your lock comes with keys, keep a spare at home. If it comes with a combination lock, store the combo in the password file on your phone!

Bike Lock Types:

Select locks that are more difficult to cut/grind. An opportunist bike thief will typically carry 36″ bolt cutter, cable/wire cutter, hack-saw, hammer and maybe a crowbar. If you use a good quality U-lock or cable lock, they will likely move on to a bike that is easier to steal. Even inexpensive bikes are routinely targeted.

The professional bike thief will also carry a more powerful 42″ bolt cutter, portable angle grinder and bottle jack that will remove any lock if they have enough time. Quality bikes may be stolen to order!


U-locks are relatively light, and easy to fasten. They are awkward to carry in your bag. If you use a mounting bracket, check frequently, as it can come loose. Make sure the lock does not interfere with your riding safety if it hangs or mounts on your bike frame. Low quality U-locks or thin soft metal can be removed with a hacksaw. Selecting a U-lock with a looped cable extends the reach from front to back wheel.

Bike U-lock
Bike U-lock with loop cable
TTC bike parking u-locks
This commuter bike was locked at the subway station using 3 U-locks from different points to the one post! This would make for a heavy ride, but more security when the bike is left at the station for the day.

Portable Chain:

These are heavier than U-locks and their length means you can lock more parts of the bike to the rack. You can even lock a couple of bikes together. Their weight will slow you down, especially important for a longer commute. You can select a Stationary chain with even more weight, for locking at home or at work. They are considered too heavy for transporting during the commute.

Portable chain lock

Folding Lock:

Lighter weight and more portable than U-locks, a folding lock is best for short stops and low to medium risk areas. Some have joints that cannot be drilled out and are difficult to cut with bolt cutters. No problem for angle grinders…

Foldylock for bikes

Cable Lock:

Sadly, these locks can be cut in seconds by thieves using wire/cable cutters. They are inexpensive and lightweight. They really are a minor deterrent.

cable lock

Get the best lock(s) that you can afford given the weight that you can manage!