Reduce Bicycle Theft

Hundreds of bikes are reported stolen at UW-Madison each year, but most thefts can be prevented. Here’s how:

  • Review the UW Bicycle Security handout
  • Always lock your bike, even if you are leaving it for just a minute.
  • Always lock your bike to a bike rack.
  • Lock your bike in a highly visible, well-lit location if possible.
  • Buy a high-quality lock and read the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. U-shape locks are among the most theft-resistant, although knowledgeable thieves can break even them.
  • Never lock your bike up by just the front wheel. You may return to find only your wheel. In addition, quick-release wheels and seats need to be secured with a cable or other device. Remove any expensive accessories, such as bag or lights, and take them with you.
  • Register your bike.
  • Use a less valuable bike for riding to class or commuting to work. Statistics show that most bikes reported stolen on campus are worth $200 or more.
  • If your bike is stolen, report it to the police promptly. You will need to know the make, model name, serial number and value of your bike. Contact the UW Police Department at 264-COPS.
  • If you prefer greater security, consider renting a bike locker or space in a bike cage. Lockers and cages are available at a number of locations around campus.


Learn from this NYC mechanic how to lock your bike, then decide how he'd rate your locking methods: