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Bicycle Registration: What a joke!

Old 04-02-19, 08:26 AM
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Bicycle Registration: What a joke!

I purchased a nice used bike for my daughter to ride to school. The bike has already the local bicycle registration sticker.

Registration here is free, which appears awesome. So I registered all my bikes. This is the first time I'm would need to update the registration information.

The instructions are to remove the existing sticker and register it like a new registration. There is no way to note what the old registration tag number was, nor are they interested in that.

So from a theft recovery perspective this registration system is totally useless. I guess, when you get hit by a car they might be able to identify you by the registration. But most likely the system is in place so they could fine you if you park the bike somewhere the local authority doesn't like.

Sigh, so many pro-bike initiative aren't at all pro-bike.
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Old 04-02-19, 08:35 AM
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Did you check the registration to ensure the bike was registered to the seller?
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Old 04-02-19, 08:50 AM
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I didn't see the registration sticker when I bought it. But the seller did show me the paper slip (receipt) he got from the bike store where he bought the bike.

So no, when I called the local bicycle registration did not ask me for the registration number even though I told them that I bought it used. No check for theft has or will be done through the registration system.

To the best of my knowledge the seller was the rightful owner.

Also to the best of my knowledge, anyone can register a bike and place the sticker on a bicycle. No matter if you're the rightful owner or the bike was previously registered.
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Old 04-02-19, 10:00 AM
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Did they not ask for serial number when registering? I would think that if a registered bike were stolen they would be on lookout for the VIN and it would flag that VIN if you tried to register again.
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Old 04-02-19, 10:36 AM
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VIN?
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Old 04-02-19, 10:41 AM
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Yes, the registration does ask for the serial number. But to assume that there would be an active check if the bike was stolen is foolish.
Funny thing is that some new bikes (i.e. the Cannondale I just bought) only has the serial number as a sticker on the bike.
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Old 04-02-19, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
VIN?
He meant serial number. Yeah, it's not a VIN but I really like to view my bicycle as a vehicle. Same rights, same responsibility as every vehicle on the street (i.e. I hate sidewalks and bike lanes for commuting but that's a different story).
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Old 04-02-19, 11:05 AM
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Some brands of bikes absolutely cover the bottom bracket with numbers. There may be a removable tag with a "serial number". But, it would be easy enough to marginally adulterate the serial number, and the system would accept it. Especially if it is all self-reported, rather than being filled out by a police officer.
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Old 04-02-19, 11:09 AM
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In TRAFFIC laws, a bicycle is a vehicle. As PROPERTY, it's not treated nearly the same way. It has no title. I bought a Harbor Freight trailer for $120, and it has a title. A $10,000 bicycle does not. So registration is not the panacea a lot of people think it is; there is still plenty of room for shenanigans. Serial numbers aren't unique, and of course, have no standard format. They don't tell owners, insurance people, law enforcement, etc. nearly as much as a motor vehicle's VIN.

This is even reflected in most laws regarding theft. In most states, theft of any titled motor vehicle is a felony, even if it's a $150 '90s Hyun-dead. You steal a $996 bicycle, and since it's less than $1000, it's a misdemeanor.
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Old 04-02-19, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
VIN?
LOL, at least I got "serial number" right the first of 3 times I referenced it. Only the second and third mentions did I call it VIN.
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Old 04-02-19, 02:06 PM
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My working theory for the past 40 years is that government offices don't assign the brightest people to answer the phone. I think some of them were so assigned because they failed with their real work assignments and telephone duty was the do-less-damage option. I can't believe that your municipality has a registration program that does not manage its data in a way that it's useful. My suggestion is to persist: If the first answer does not make sense, ask to speak to someone else. Sooner or later you will connect with someone who knows.
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Old 04-02-19, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoopdriver View Post
My working theory for the past 40 years is that government offices don't assign the brightest people to answer the phone.
True story.
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Old 04-02-19, 04:54 PM
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I had a bicycle stolen once. Reported it to cops, got insurance money.

A few months later the thief did something suspicious in front of a cop while riding the bike... cop noticed there was no registration sticker and that gave him authority to check the serial number and it turned up stolen and I got it back. Cop told me if it had the registration he wouldn’t have been authorized to check. So registration is WORSE than useless.
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Old 04-02-19, 05:16 PM
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Did you return the insurance money?
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Old 04-02-19, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
.. cop noticed there was no registration sticker and that gave him authority to check the serial number
Maybe in his mind it did. But unless he could prove the person lived and kept the bike in a jurisdiction that requires registration (the vast majority don't), it's an illegal search. Then again, such perps don't usually brush up on their Constitution.
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Old 04-03-19, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cbike View Post
Yes, the registration does ask for the serial number. But to assume that there would be an active check if the bike was stolen is foolish.
Funny thing is that some new bikes (i.e. the Cannondale I just bought) only has the serial number as a sticker on the bike.
On my Topstone the sticker is clearcoated over to make it harder to remove, but there is a different serial number stamped on the BB.
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Old 04-03-19, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Did you return the insurance money?
The insurance bought me a new bike, minus $250 deductible (replacement value renter's insurance).
The cops gave me the old bike back.
The insurance company said I had to give one of the bikes back to them.
I told the insurance company that I wanted to keep the new one, but a friend wanted to buy the old bike.
Insurance company recovered a piece of the loss, and didn't have to handle any property.
Everybody happy.
Same bike got stolen from the friend a few months later... it was cursed.
Friend got a new bike out of it from his insurance company too.
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Old 04-03-19, 01:00 PM
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^^^^^ Rinse, repeat.....
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Old 04-03-19, 03:30 PM
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Sometimes all the judge has to make a ruling is the preponderance of truth. Your good effort may seem useless, but some effort on your part is better than none at all.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cbike View Post
I purchased a nice used bike for my daughter to ride to school. The bike has already the local bicycle registration sticker.

Registration here is free, which appears awesome. So I registered all my bikes. This is the first time I'm would need to update the registration information.

The instructions are to remove the existing sticker and register it like a new registration. There is no way to note what the old registration tag number was, nor are they interested in that.

So from a theft recovery perspective this registration system is totally useless. I guess, when you get hit by a car they might be able to identify you by the registration. But most likely the system is in place so they could fine you if you park the bike somewhere the local authority doesn't like.

Sigh, so many pro-bike initiative aren't at all pro-bike.
what is the point of registering a bike? recently locally some hub bub has been made saying that bikes need to be registered and the money needs to go to paying for the roads, etc. Which is ridiculous!!! i would imagine that my two cars registration should cover any road use things my bike might cause.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:27 AM
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In my experience, bicycle theft is LESS THAN ZERO of a priority for the police. Experience in European countries at least.

I don't even bother to file a police report of stolen bicycles at this point. Unless it was somehow insured and it was needed to claim insurance money (but non of my stolen bikes have been expensive so far, fortunately).

When it comes to bike theft, just buy the best lock you can find / is practical. And if the bike is too valuable for you to have it stolen, DONT leave it anywhere where there is even a remote possibility of theft. I don't leave my nice road bike locked up outside, NEVER NEVER NEVER. It never leaves my sight, or it is indoors in my house.
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Old 04-04-19, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
In my experience, bicycle theft is LESS THAN ZERO of a priority for the police. Experience in European countries at least.

I don't even bother to file a police report of stolen bicycles at this point. Unless it was somehow insured and it was needed to claim insurance money (but non of my stolen bikes have been expensive so far, fortunately).

When it comes to bike theft, just buy the best lock you can find / is practical. And if the bike is too valuable for you to have it stolen, DONT leave it anywhere where there is even a remote possibility of theft. I don't leave my nice road bike locked up outside, NEVER NEVER NEVER. It never leaves my sight, or it is indoors in my house.
That's a mistake, if for no other reason than the data. Without that information we can never say for sure how bad things really are, and therefore, will be much less inclined to fix them.
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Old 04-04-19, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
That's a mistake, if for no other reason than the data. Without that information we can never say for sure how bad things really are, and therefore, will be much less inclined to fix them.
You might be right. However, as a busy person with a demanding full time job, the last thing I'm going to do in my spare time is sit in a police office filling out a form about my stolen bike.

Also, as a person who lived in a university town where bike theft was extremely rampant (must have been hundreds of bikes a day stolen), and the police didn't give two ****s: How are they going to care about 200 bikes a day being stolen if they didn't care at 100 bikes? The data is not the problem, it is the lack of taking these things seriously.
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Old 04-04-19, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
You might be right. However, as a busy person with a demanding full time job, the last thing I'm going to do in my spare time is sit in a police office filling out a form about my stolen bike.
That's also the last thing any police agency (except possibly Mayberry) would have you do anyway. After the fact, property crimes are reported online. They sure would rather not have you fill out a paper form, and have to pay someone to key it in.
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Old 04-06-19, 04:07 AM
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I was in graduate school in the USA when the large state university implemented registration. The issue that prompted it was that people were locking bikes in ingress and egress areas and blocking handicapped facilities. Registration was free, so I complied.

When I went to the office to register my second bike, the woman asked me "Do you still have the blue Schwinn?" Sometimes people are better at these things than we give them credit for.

The chances that anyone can use the database for anything useful besides this, such as returning a stolen bike, though, are practically nil. It would have had to been recovered on the campus by university police in order to be useful. I certainly can't imagine the police here in Europe calling up the university there and figuring out how to get in contact with me. It makes me wonder what ever happened to the frame of that old Schwinn that I left for free when I moved here...
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