After three hours of studying for a calculus midterm, the last thing on one’s mind is making sure their bike lock went through the bike’s front tire, frame, and most importantly, the bike rack. Yet, on today’s campus, students don’t have to just worry about the most expensive or attractive bikes being stolen. Bike theft seems to have become a past time for bored students rather than a crime done out of need for an actual ride.[bike]
Finding a bike with a broken lock but only the seat stolen is not too uncommon for a student new to the area. This was exactly the case for Wilson resident Aaron Tawes, whose seat was stolen the night of the Michigan State vs. Notre Dame football game.
“I think it happened because people were drunk and it was a big game, Tawes said. “[It was] just another repercussion of irresponsible tailgating.” Unless the bike seat trade has recently boomed on the black market, theft of this nature is clearly not for use of parts.
If only a wheel or seat is stolen, do a double check of the bushes and surrounding area. It’s very possible that a thief who swiped a bike part for kicks quickly got bored and discarded it nearby.
To stop a seat, or worse, the entire bike from being gone in sixty seconds, permits are the place to start. The Department of Police and Public Safety (DPPS) issues bike permits online, and by knowing the manufacturer number (located on the frame), registration is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. Not only does having a bike permit allow for a bike to be returned to the owner after theft, but it also prevents it from being impounded. Police can impound an unregistered bike at any time and do a post-spring semester “clean up” as well.
The second key concept preventing of bike theft is “safety in numbers.” It’s simple, would someone rather have their child chained up with other children in a busy, well lit area, or chained up alone to a tree? Hopefully neither, but in the case of bikes, the former is the better choice. Keeping a bike on a bike rack rather than a light pole or tree discourages students to blatantly break through a lock and steal a bike.
It also helps to ride the bike frequently.
“I started to ride the bus to try to learn the CATA system and didn’t use my bike for a while,” Brody resident Phil Tularak, a no-preference freshman, said. “When I went to check on it all that was left was a broken lock.”
If the bike is not in use, the best idea is to store it in a bike room, which several MSU dorms provide.
After doing everything possible to protect a bike, it sometimes still manages to disappear. One place to look for console is the MSU Surplus. After DPPS impounds or finds unregistered bikes, they hold them briefly then give them to the Surplus, where they are sold on a “first come first serve” basis.
At MSU these days, it’s not only the five hundred dollar GT bikes that get swindled, it’s any bike, any time, any place. Even worse, it seems to happen for no apparent reason. Yet, there are important precautions students can take to discourage bike theft that take no time at all and save hours of grief over the loss of a loved one. Take them, and then get back to the more important things, like that calc midterm.

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