BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nicer weather has finally arrived in Western New York, making biking a more popular form of transportation, exercise and entertainment in the Queen City. Bike infrastructure in the city also continues to grow.
But this means bike theft often becomes more common. Buffalo Police say there were 447 bike thefts in 2016, most that occurred in the downtown and North Buffalo areas.
On Thursday, the Erie County District Attorney's Office and the organization GObike Buffalo offered some tips to prevent bicycles from being stolen.
The DA's Office is working with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and GObike Buffalo Executive Director Justin Booth to prevent bike thefts this riding season.
GObike connects riders with a Bike Index through its website www.gobikebuffalo.org. The details of bikes entered in the index are made available to bike shops, police departments, pawn shops and other facilities that can help return a stolen bike to its rightful owner.
There are several other tips recommended by GObike Buffalo and the DA's Office to ensure your bike is safe from theft:
1. Never leave a bike unattended without locking it -- at least the rear wheel to the frame so no one can ride the bike away
2. Make sure the bike is locked securely to fixed objects. It's also a good idea to lock parts that are removable, such as the wheels and seat
3. Even if a bike is kept in a garage, lock it to something secured to the floor, walls or ceiling as many bikes are reported stolen from garages
4. Use U-locks instead of cable locks, which can be cut in seconds with handheld tools
5. Make sure bikes are locked in areas that are well-lit and well-traveled. It's also a good idea to avoid always locking it in the same place, where someone may be expecting it.
6. Avoid ever leaving a bike outside overnight
7. Take photos of the bike and its serial number, which is located under the bike where the pedals and crank arms meet.
If your bike is stolen, Booth and the DA's Office recommend filing a police report and listing the bike as stolen on the Bike Index. Social media can also be used as a tool to spread the word.