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:
- Always secure your bike with a high-quality chain, U-lock, or armored cable lock. Be sure to secure the frame and one wheel together, and lock your bike to the parking stand whenever possible. Secure or remove expensive removable bicycle parts, and remember that quick-release fasteners are also more convenient to thieves. Whenever possible, leave your bike in a cellar or garage overnight. Locks are available in countless variants and price ranges. A U-lock offers the highest level of stability thanks to its solid construction. However, it can sometimes make it more difficult to attach the bike to a bike stand. This works much better with a much handier folding lock. Chain locks are also okay but are not quite as resilient as the best padlocks and folding locks. Remember, investing in a good lock can save you a lot of money in the future.
- You can also purchase a “Velofinder Vignette” (available from Veloplus for CHF 9) that you stick on your bike and register on the associated app. Similar to how a key-chain tag works, it will allow you to report your own bike as stolen and/or to report an abandoned bike that you suspect might have been stolen.
- You can also consider equipping your bike with a GPS tracker for a high-tech way to locate your bike when it goes missing. GPS trackers are available as stand-alone units or as a built-in devices for bicycles; both can be easily installed on the bicycle by the user. As soon as the bike is moved after the installation, the GPS tracker continuously transmits its position. At the same time, it sends an alarm by SMS or e-mail to the user, who can track the location of their bike online and report it to the emergency telephone number 117 of the police.
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 https://www.suisse-epolice.ch/#/theft-case. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.Share