Protect Your Bike Against Bicycle Theft

Basel is considered one of the very bike-friendly cities in Switzerland. In fact, 20% of the trips that the population make—to work, to school, to the shops—are made by bike. Unfortunately, bikes are not only popular with residents but also with thieves. Indeed, the risk of your bike being stolen in Basel-Stadt is above average compared to other cantons (according to the Axa insurance company and the cantonal police). Last year alone, 2,296 normal bikes and 1,421 e-bikes were stolen in Basel; this total of 3,717 bikes stolen translates to an average of 10 bike thefts per day! Unfortunately, less than 3% of stolen bikes actually make it back to their owners.

How to Secure Your Bike

The slogan “Kluge Köpfe schützen sich” (Bright minds protect themselves) applies not only to the ride, when you should be wearing a helmet, but also afterwards, for how you should best protect your bike from being stolen. 

To protect yourself against bike theft, the Basel-Stadt Kantonspolizei has the following recommendations:

What to Do if Your Bike Goes Missing

If all security measures have failed and your bike has disappeared, there is only one thing to do—file a report with the police, either at a police station or at home on the computer using the Suisse ePolice online portal at The purchase price (or part of it) can only be reimbursed by your insurance company after such notification has been made. Bicycles are usually insured under your household insurance, but this may vary depending on whether your bicycle was stolen from inside your garage or home or from another location. For coverage of your bicycle away from home, you will need a supplementary clause stating “simple theft off-premises” in your household-content insurance. Additionally, fast e-bikes are often not covered due to their speed and may therefore require a separate rider.

Before reporting your bicycle stolen, consider if it may have been lawfully towed or removed. Bikes, e-bikes, motorbikes, or motorcycles are often removed if found parked or abandoned in inappropriate locations, or if parked near the location of an upcoming parade or event like Fasnacht. These bikes are then securely stored in a central facility, the “Velosammelstelle” (bike collection location) at Prattelerstrasse 27 in Basel, where they can be picked up by their lawful owner. Note that you will need to pay a penalty fee of CHF 35 for bikes, CHF 80 for motorbikes, and CHF 150 for motorcycles, in addition to a daily housing fee of CHF 3 for bikes / motorbikes and CHF 6 for motorcycles. You can register your loss in person at the Zeughaus in the main building at Zeughausstrasse 2, ground floor, office 28, by phone at 061-201-7130 or 061-201-7131, or by email at

Finally, when you buy a bike, be sure to write down its details—make, model, color, and serial number (normally found engraved under the frame)—so that you can more easily retrieve it in case of theft and/or towing.