The majority of car trips taken by Americans are less than two miles. A two mile bike ride is about the distance from Southern Oregon University’s Ashland campus to the plaza downtown. There is even a specific bike path provided from SOU to Lithia Park. This being said, bicycles are healthy for you, for your wallet, and for the environment.
The Ashland Police Department finds about 80 bikes a year. Most are abandoned, some are found and all of them were stolen. Already in the first four months of this year, the Ashland police have had 29 bikes reported stolen, compared to the first four months of 2010’s 12 stolen bikes.
According to Chief Terry Holderness, most people steal a bike for a joy ride and then ditch it somewhere around town, taken more for mischief than for malice. But bicycle theft is a tricky subject, he said. Most people don’t report their bikes stolen, if they do they don’t know the serial number making tracking difficult. Even then, with options like Craigslist and eBay, a bike can be stolen and sold within a matter of days.
But have no fear, Campus Public Safety was able to recover and return 35 bikes last year. Recovery of bikes can become easier with the following steps.
For starters, lock your bike up. “You would be surprised,” said Holderness, the majority of people who report their bike stolen admit that it wasn’t locked to begin with. Kryptonite U bend style metal locks are recommended by Jess Rubin of Siskiyou Cyclery. Second, you can contact CPS to register your bike with the city. This records the style of your bike, the serial number, and your contact information. An official sticker is then placed on your bike to signify that it has been recorded.
If your bike is missing, and you have not registered it, the Ashland Police Department will hold it for six months before donating it or recycling it for parts.
Bicycles are essential to many students for transportation and recreations. Try to do your best to protect and respect your bike, because they do so much for us.