Friday, October 16, 2015

Bike Thieves, Beware!!!


Is there anything worse than a bike thief? Probably. But after having my cyclocross bike stolen from inside my office building this week, it sure doesn't feel like it.

That's right. Someone came into my office building, rode the elevator to my floor, walked past my receptionist, and stole my "cross" bike from inside an adjacent, unused office space. The audacity! The nerve!

I went through all five stages of grief in just a few hours: denial ("There's no way this could have happened. Not HERE. Not to ME!"); anger ("I'm gonna find the guy - or girl - and TAKE it back...by force!); bargaining ("If I check the surveillance tapes, we'll find it. If I had put the bike in my office, this wouldn't have happened. Shouldn't my receptionist have seen - or DONE - SOMETHING!"); depression ("My cross racing season is over. I guess I'm not riding into work anymore."); and acceptance ("It's time to call the police, the insurance company, and my bike shop.")

I know. I know. It's just a bike, right? An inanimate object made of carbon fiber with a rapidly depreciating M.S.R.P? But it sure doesn't feel like just a bike to me. Rather, I feel violated on multiple levels. Someone took MY bike. It's how I get to work 2-3 days a week. It's how I stay fit after sitting on my butt in front of a computer all day. It's how I race and (pretend) to be competitive at my age. It's how I manage stress, blow off steam, meditate, and keep my peace of mind. Someone took all that from me! And, what's worse, they came right into my office - a place where I spend more waking hours than my home - and stole something so dear to me. They stole my bike. Well, I'm not happy about it. So, bike thieves, beware!  

Truth is - my bike is gone. And there is little I can do about it now. It's not coming back. It's time to move on. But, what can I - and you - do to prevent future bike thieves? Turns out there are some ways to prevent or, at least, deter a bike thief.

According to an article by nutcasehelmets.com (for the full article, click here, you should:

1. Invest in a decent lock;
2. Use it correctly;
3. Choose location wisely; and
4. Document your bike.

So, what is a decent lock? Nearly every article I've seen suggests a U-lock. You can grab one of these babies at your local bike shop.

How do you use it correctly? Lock the frame, not just the wheels. If you lock your wheels, chances are your going to lose the frame. See photo, above. The photo, below, shows proper bike lock positioning.
 
Location, location, location. Unlike me, you shouldn't park your bike in the same spot day after day, even if that spot is inside your office or home. Bike thieves may be scouting your routes. Police even believe that online ride sharing websites are leading to an increase in bike thefts because thieves are tracking bikes to people's homes! For that article, click here.

For my part, I recommend keeping your bike in sight at all times. I may even choose to switch out my computer chair and just sit on my bike all day. All kidding aside, you can't stay in the saddle 24 hours a day, right? If you have to leave your bike, please choose a location that is well-lit and well-traveled. A back alley is probably not a good choice.

Finally, make sure to record and maintain the serial number and a photo of your sweet ride. If you bought your bike locally, the bike shop should maintain the serial number in their system. But, in case they don't, it's good to have identifying information available for the authorities and your insurance company.

BikePgh runs an "I <3 My Bike Anti-Theft Program" that is set up to deter theft and prevent stolen bikes. For a link to that site, click here.

Thanks for reading.


Matthew F. Dolfi, Esquire

Dolfi Law PC
BNY Mellon Center
500 Grant Street, Suite 2900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219
412-227-9724

Website:
www.dolfilawpc.com

Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/PghBikeLawyer


Important notice:
The information provided in this blog article is not legal advice.  The information and opinions provided herein are solely for the general interest of the visitors to this website.  The information contained herein is only applicable to general principles of law in Pennsylvania and may not reflect current legal developments or statutory changes in various other jurisdictions.  Therefore, the information and opinions contained in this blog should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal advice.  No aspect of this blog article should be interpreted as establishing an attorney-client relationship between the reader and its author.  Anyone reviewing this article should not act upon any information contained herein without first seeking the advice of legal counsel.  
 

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