Pages Navigation Menu

Tucson's two-wheeled news source

Back-to-school bike parking: 5 tips for keeping your bike safe

The influx of University of Arizona students is about to hit the city. You can already see it starting. We’ve covered why students ought to buy their new steeds from shops as opposed to department stores, but what about keeping them protected?

Ask any class of university students if they have had a bike stolen and you are bound to have several who raise their hand. The unfortunate part is that many do not replace their bikes and become daily drivers.

So how do you keep your bike safe on or around campus?

1. Properly lock your bike

Step one will always be to properly lock your bike with a high quality U-Lock. Cable locks can be cut through in a matter of seconds. Here is a great video about how to lock your bike.

2. Don’t leave your bike outside overnight 

Bike thieves don’t like to get caught. So often they will work at night when there are less people around. If you leave your bike outside at night it adds a significant risk of being stolen.

3. Try the bike valet

The University of Arizona offers a free bike valet program near Old Main. The valet is staffed by UA employees from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. Your bike must be registered with the UA to be eligible for the valet. While the UA says they are not responsible for stolen bicycles, I have yet to hear of one being lost or stolen from the valet program.

4. Purchase secure bike parking

The University of Arizona offers two secure bike parking options. The first and more affordable is a bicycle enclosure. The enclosures are located in each parking garage on campus and consists of several bike racks protected by a fence with a security gate, which allows access to only those who have signed up for the enclosure. Bike should still be locked to the rack, but it does offer an added layer of protection. The cost of the enclosure is $35 a year and can be reserved through the Parking and Transportation office.

The second option is a bicycle locker, which are located around campus. The cost is $100 a year plus a refundable $80 key deposit. The advantage to the locker is that you are the only one with access to it and thieves can not see your bike inside the locker.

5. Take your bike inside when possible

It is against UA policy to bring bicycles inside buildings, but when you ride home, bring it inside if at all possible. If a thief can’t see your bike, it can’t be a target.

Bonus tip: Register your bike with BikeIndex.org

Hopefully with the above tips, your bike will remain yours, but it’s a good idea to register your bike on BikeIndex.org when you purchase it. If it is stolen, they can help you get it back.

You’ve made the investment in the bike, make sure you make an investment in keeping it.

What tips do you have for keeping your bike secure? Leave a comment.

Check out this gallery of how not to lock your bike.

5 comments
Augsburg
Augsburg

We have used the bike valet at U of A and it is a great service.  They would not even let me give them a tip.  Thanks for so much for this service!

sluggh
sluggh

Thieves have been known to cut the bike enclosures' chain link fences. The UA absurdly patches them with zip ties. I don't think they're worth the $30 fee.

CarsonBlaker
CarsonBlaker

Renters insurance covers theft from your home and vehicle. Also consider something like hexlox, which will prevent your bike being parted out if it is ever stolen.

CiteMoreDrivers
CiteMoreDrivers

UAPD told me recently that most of the thefts happen between 8am-2pm, and surprisingly enough at busier racks. Thieves fit in more where there is a lot of activity, and screwing around with a lock looks a lot like trying to open a finicky lock, especially if you're not looking closely. 


I can't recommend the bike enclosures highly enough. The 6th St Garage doesn't have any, though!

Nick
Nick

Dedicated bike insurance.