Bicycles are a reliable and relatively affordable mode of transportation when compared with motor vehicles. Even the most expensive bicycle will cost a fraction of what a car costs. The lower price point means that the penalties are lower for those who steal bikes as opposed to those who steal cars.
More importantly, it can be much harder to prosecute a stolen bike claim than a stolen vehicle claim, as it can be much more difficult to conclusively identify a bicycle as opposed to a registered motor vehicle. People often repaint bicycles or strip them down to avoid prosecution for bike theft.
Bicycle thefts have been a major concern in the Los Angeles area, especially in recent years. Now, city council members might take action to help decrease the number of thefts occurring.
The city might ban bike sales and repairs on public property
Public lands, like parks, are often where minor crimes occur. Those who want to resell or work on stolen property may operate at parks to make their activity harder to track. It allows them to engage in criminal activity without endangering their personal property. Parks are also where many people without housing gather.
Bicycles can be useful tools for those without a home or a vehicle of their own. People can also potentially make quick money by stealing bikes and then selling them to a third party so they don’t get caught in possession of stolen property.
Los Angeles city authorities believe that if they prohibit the sale of bikes on public property, they could deter some opportunistic bike thieves. Similar logic applies to the ban on repairs. If individuals cannot strip down or repaint stolen bicycles, the risk of prosecution for getting caught with the bike might deter them from the crime.
Cyclists have many unique safety concerns
Theft is an issue for those who drive motor vehicles just as it is for cyclists. Crash risk is also a concern for everyone on the roads. However, cyclists have disproportionate risk when you consider the outcome of crashes between enclosed motor vehicles and self-propelled transportation. They can also face a theft that occurs in a matter of moments and leaves them stranded somewhere.
Cyclists who get hurt or who suffer property losses because of other people have protection under state law and can sometimes take legal action. Knowing your rights will protect you whether you become a victim of a crime or suffer injury in a bicycle crash caused by a driver.