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What are 'bait bikes' and would they help catch thieves?

Like Freddie Mercury, we all just want to ride our bicycles.

EVER HAD YOUR bike stolen? It’s a major hassle.

One TD thinks we could help combat the problem by introducing ‘bait bikes’ to help catch thieves.

The practice takes place in other jurisdictions such as London and San Francisco.

A bait bike is a relatively valuable bicycle equipped with a hidden GPS device police use to catch thieves.

The bike is left unattended or poorly locked in an area where bicycles tend to get stolen, or where other thefts have recently occurred. When it is stolen, the tracking device automatically alerts police to the theft, and where the bike is located.

When the scheme was introduced in certain colleges in the US, bike thefts reduced by up to 40%. There was a 45% drop in bikes being stolen at Cambridge rail station when a pilot programme was trialled there.

The idea has really taken off in California, with’s Jason Cecchettini and Manny Leon starring in their own reality TV show about finding bike thieves ‘Caught Red Handed’.

Jason Cecchettini / YouTube

Fine Gael’s Brendan Griffin wants a similar system introduced in Ireland. He asked Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald about it in the Dáil recently.

Fitzgerald said An Garda Síochána is “proactive in encouraging the public to protect their property, including bicycles”, noting that “a range of measures are in place to prevent and tackle the theft of bicycles”.

bike lock Shutterstock Shutterstock

She added that the range of measures being pursued by gardaí include working with bicycle retailers and communities to encourage and promote bicycle registration.

In addition, information leaflets on bicycle theft have been circulated and a bicycle sticker campaign has also been operated in areas where bicycles are locked by their owners.

“Gardaí also provide presentations to neighbourhood watch schemes, policing forums, schools, places of employment, and consult with apartment and building management companies on bicycle security and safety generally,” Fitzgerald said.

A spokesperson from the Garda Press Office said they couldn’t discuss initiatives that may or may not be introduced due to ”operational reasons”.

“We advise bicycle users to exercise vigilance securing their bicycles and to report all theft or attempted theft to their local Garda station,” he stated.

Read: Cyclists don’t trust drivers, drivers don’t trust cyclists

Read: Eamon Ryan’s beloved bike has been stolen

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