#EndBikeTheft: How 529 Garage works

registering bikes on an ipad

Why is 529 Garage is a better bike registry and recovery system than what we have in place in Toronto?

It's a community-powered system that allows you to quickly plug-in to a network of individuals, bike shops, community organizations, the City, and the Police. 

Here’s how it works in six steps:


1. Download the 529 Garage app

Download the free app to join the 529 Garage community.

2. Register your bike

Take five minutes to capture all the important information about your bike from your computer or smartphone. Start with the basic information needed by police and insurance; if you are missing some of this information, you can always add it later.


3. Shield your bike

The Shield is an additional unique identifier for your bike, especially if your bike’s serial number is removed or painted over by a thief. It acts as a deterrent to would-be thieves, and makes it easier to find the owner if a stolen bike is recovered. Stay tuned for details on where you can get a Shield, starting in 2019.

4. Send your alert: the power of community

This is when the community power comes into play. If your bike is stolen, press the alert button in the 529 Garage app. This will send a notification to the Toronto Police Service, bike shops, and community organizations, as well as 529 users like you. This takes the burden off of individuals to report theft to their local Police detachment, and post notices in a diverse and disconnected communities (Bunz, Toronto Stolen Bikes, Craigslist, billboards, etc) - which is onerous and complicated. (Read Steve’s story to find out how checking the many selling apps became a part-time job.)

5. Plug in to the community

Toronto’s current registry system is antiquated and has gaps. There are no photos associated, you can’t transfer ownership, and uptake is very low. Even if a stolen bike is recovered by Police, they often simply don’t have the resources to track down its owner. 529 Garage solves this problem by keeping app users up to date. When you register your bike with 529 Garage, you can rest assured that it will get back to you if it’s found.

6. Look out for others

529 is also a great tool if you’re looking to buy a used bike. When you’re considering a listing, search the registry to make sure that it wasn't reported stolen. And, if you do find a bike reported stolen, post it on 529 to help get it back to its owner.

It's a positive feedback loop

These elements combine to create a positive feedback loop structured on preventing, acting, connecting, and looking out for each other. It deters would-be thieves. It makes it easy to register your bike using clearly identifiable features (like colour, unique paint, brand, serial number), so that you can rest assured that your bike will be recovered by a broader community if it’s stolen. It quickly reunites bikes with their owners  when they’re found. It benefits individuals, bike shops, community organizations, and the Police, because it streamlines, connects, and taps into community power to get bikes back to their owners.

Tell your friends by December 31

Friends got questions about why we're working to raise funds to bring 529 Garage to Toronto? Share this social media image along with suggested copy:

. @CycleToronto is working to bring a proven bike registry & recovery system to Toronto to #EndBikeTheft. Support the movement: donate by Dec 31 and you'll get a charitable tax receipt (select Fund 2) https://bit.ly/2UCOpZ8        

#529Garage has transformed bike theft in Vancouver. 3 years in, theft is down by over 30%, and a bike is recovered nearly every day. That's why @CycleToronto wants to bring it to Toronto. Donate by Dec 31 and you'll get a charitable tax receipt (select Fund 2) https://bit.ly/2UCOpZ8    

#DYK 4,000+ bikes were reported stolen in 2017 & only 1% were recovered? Bike theft is at crisis levels. @CycleToronto is working to bring a system called #529Garage to Toronto - but they need your support. Donate by Dec 31 & get a charitable tax receipt (select Fund 2) https://bit.ly/2UCOpZ8                                                            

Together we can #EndBikeTheft!


By sarah bradley on Dec 21, 2018

  529 Garage, Street Smarts, bike theft, fundraising, #endbiketheft