What started as a concern from an avid cyclist has turned into London’s first bicycle registry to help reunite stolen bikes with their owners.
London police announced the launch of the partnership with the 529 Garage app to create the 529 Garage Bike Registry on Thursday.
The 529 Garage allows bike owners to register information like pictures and serial numbers on the app and notify the local community if their bike is stolen.
“The benefit of using the 529 Garage app is that it houses registration information and allows our officers to quickly query the make, model, colour and a serial number of found or stolen bicycles,” said Sgt. Chris Carne, head of the London Police Service Community Services Unit.
“Like any web-based or mobile app, bicycle owners choose how much information they wish to share.”
Police are hoping the registry will make it easier for them to reunite stolen bikes with their owners.
The app was first launched as a pilot project in Vancouver, and London is just the latest of several cities across Canada to use it.
529 Garage was created by J Allard, who is notably the founding member of Xbox and several other versions of the popular game console.
According to police, in 2019, 765 bikes were reported stolen in the City of London.
“We service peoples’ bikes all the time that have stolen components or bikes. A person is coming into today that had their rear wheel stolen,” said Ben Cowie, owner of the London Bicycle Cafe and a member of the local cycling community.
He estimates that at least several times week, a new customer will come in with some component or an entire bike missing.
Cowie was also encouraged by the announcement and the impact it would have on reuniting cyclists with their stolen property.
“It’s an incredibly useful service not only in this city but in other cities as well, because bikes often get shifted between cities when they are stolen.”
The idea to use the app was first proposed by London’s self-proclaimed “bicycle mayor” Shelley Carr at a previous board meeting.
Susan Toth, vice-chair of LPSB, praised Carr for coming forward with the idea and encouraged other residents who might have suggestions for new initiatives to present them to the board.
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