News / Edmonton

University of Alberta launches bike theft prevention program

Pilot project could be implemented citywide

Connie Marciniuk is part of a group teaching students and faculty on campus how to lock their bikes appropriately.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

Connie Marciniuk is part of a group teaching students and faculty on campus how to lock their bikes appropriately.

With bike thefts up a whopping 248 per cent at the University of Alberta since 2012, a new pilot project is trying to teach cyclists how to keep their bikes safe from thieves.

If successful, the project—which stresses good locking technique and sturdy equipment—could be expanded to the rest of the city. 

“Having your bike stolen can be really significant to somebody,” said Connie Marciniuk, a community safety liaison with Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Empowerment Team, which launched the anti-theft project on campus Tuesday. 

She said the increase in thefts is largely due to the growing number of students and staff who cycle to campus. But if you want people to continue biking, she said, you need to make sure their rides aren’t being taken while they’re in class. 

“If an individual feels more confident when they come back, then they are more likely to choose cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation,” Marciniuk said.

The new initiative is called U-Cycle, and aims to reduce bike theft by promoting good locking practices on campus. 

Peace officers were roaming campus Tuesday explaining to students who arrived on bikes that both the bike-frame and back wheel should be secured to a rack. If the front wheel can be easily detached, it should also be locked. 

The team was also providing some U-Locks for free, as chain and cable locks can be snipped easily. 

They’re also encouraging riders to register their bikes with Project 529, a growing online database that tracks makes and models of stolen bikes. 

“Cycling is a fantastic alternative mode of transportation and a sustainable method of transportation for people on campus because parking spots have become harder and harder to find,” Marciniuk said. 

She said the team will monitor to see if the project helps reduce thefts and, if it proves successful, it could be implemented in other areas of the city. 

 “If it does, we will be able to use this as justification to go to other campuses or institutions in the city in general to promote the same efforts and strategies,” she added.

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