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Thread: National Bike Registry

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    It will take a long-term cultural change, but just getting people familiar with the idea that bikes have serial numbers and that they are something you should look at when buying a bike would be a huge first step. If someone posts a fake serial number for a bike, that should be a red flag to walk away from the sale. Most people don't actually want to buy stolen goods, and would hesitate to do so if the tools were readily available. As far as checking the serial numbers, that should be easy to automate.
    Don't get me wrong. I signed the petition, and I agree it is a good first step. Any positive change would be a good/big positive in my book. I agree checking could be easily automated... to check against a nationwide database like the NBR. What happens, though, say, when someone's bike is stolen, they report it to the police, along with a serial number, but haven't registered either before or ex post facto on NBR?

    I guess my concern is that 95% of buyers aren't going to think to double check the serial number. The types of people that post here will think to do that. I'm not sure how many of the rest will, even if the serial number has to be listed with the ad, which opens up the realm of cheating.

    Having had a $1500+ bike stolen from a secure location in the last 18 months and a cheaper one from an arguable even more secure location years ago, perhaps I'm just too cynical about all this. Forcing the posting of SNs w/ bike listings will help to clean things up some, even if it's not foolproof or perfect.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingfool View Post
    Don't get me wrong. I signed the petition, and I agree it is a good first step. Any positive change would be a good/big positive in my book. I agree checking could be easily automated... to check against a nationwide database like the NBR. What happens, though, say, when someone's bike is stolen, they report it to the police, along with a serial number, but haven't registered either before or ex post facto on NBR?

    I guess my concern is that 95% of buyers aren't going to think to double check the serial number. The types of people that post here will think to do that. I'm not sure how many of the rest will, even if the serial number has to be listed with the ad, which opens up the realm of cheating.

    Having had a $1500+ bike stolen from a secure location in the last 18 months and a cheaper one from an arguable even more secure location years ago, perhaps I'm just too cynical about all this. Forcing the posting of SNs w/ bike listings will help to clean things up some, even if it's not foolproof or perfect.
    The bottom line is that I think people will be more likely to check serial numbers if that's listed as something they should consider on the premier used-bike forum than they are under current conditions. Will everyone? No. Will some? Yes. Is that an improvement? Yes. Will registering your bike be more useful if checking serial numbers becomes more common? Yes. (Here's where we need to replace NBR with something open, so people can actually do something with the serial number when they're buying a bike.) If more people register their bikes will that make checking serial numbers when you buy a bike more useful and encourage people to do so? Yes. Will all of this make bike theft less of an easy profit? Yes. At this point a stolen bike is basically cash, and until that changes there's going to be a lot of bike theft.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    The bottom line is that I think people will be more likely to check serial numbers if that's listed as something they should consider on the premier used-bike forum than they are under current conditions. Will everyone? No. Will some? Yes. Is that an improvement? Yes. Will registering your bike be more useful if checking serial numbers becomes more common? Yes. (Here's where we need to replace NBR with something open, so people can actually do something with the serial number when they're buying a bike.) If more people register their bikes will that make checking serial numbers when you buy a bike more useful and encourage people to do so? Yes. Will all of this make bike theft less of an easy profit? Yes. At this point a stolen bike is basically cash, and until that changes there's going to be a lot of bike theft.
    So, in short, everybody go sign the petition if you haven't already.

  4. #14
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Why don't all bike manufacturers embed RFID tags somewhere in the frame? Somewhere so it's readable by a scanner, but not easily removed by a thief without destroying the bike. From the info I just looked up online, RFID tags can be as inexpensive as 7 to 15 cents each. There might be a minor installation cost, but if it's just some sort of label, couldn't they apply the label/tag on the inside of one tube before connecting it to another tube? Seems like one of my favorite types of solution: inexpensive and convenient.

    If more people were aware of both the external serial number and a future RFID tag on every bike, then maybe that could provide an even greater deterrent to bike theft. As long as the original purchaser kept track of the RFID number (or the store keeps it on file), it would be much easier to establish that a bike is stolen property.

  5. #15
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingfool View Post
    On a related note having to do with fencing, CL, and eBay... I don't remember where I saw this first (may have even been here):

    http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/e...top-bike-theft, which points here: http://project529.com/garage/petitions/

    A petition asking CL and eBay to force sellers to list serial numbers when selling bikes online. I like the idea of this, but I'm not sure how well it would work in actuality. Major issues/potential stumbling blocks would be:

    What's to keep someone from posting a fake serial number to avoid detection by police or theft victims who may be searching for their bike being sold?

    How likely are police to actively match serial numbers to those of bikes reported stolen, given the lack of seriousness they often seem to display to a bike being stolen?
    Maybe this thread: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showth...olen-Trek-Bike

  6. #16
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    In the good old days the serial number was stamped on the frame. Some manufacturers seem to cheaping out and using stickers instead. Maybe if more people checked/registered, there'd be a push to actually make them permanent again. I'm not sure that RFID is actually beneficial over a permanent visible marking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    In the good old days the serial number was stamped on the frame. Some manufacturers seem to cheaping out and using stickers instead.
    My 2013 aluminum Cannondale has a sticker (and barcode--perhaps a manufacturing control aid?), my 2014 steel Surly is stamped. Does aluminum not stamp? What about a carbon frame? That can't be stampable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    Why don't all bike manufacturers embed RFID tags somewhere in the frame? Somewhere so it's readable by a scanner, but not easily removed by a thief without destroying the bike.
    Privacy concerns -- simple RFID tags are readable at a distance by anyone. They're probably easier to read than license plates; certainly the scanning hardware is easier to conceal.

    Maybe a passive RFID smart chip that only responded to signals from authorized scanners (bake in a few certificate authority keys, only respond to requests signed by keys certified by a trusted CA)... but now we might be talking a dollar or so (???) - real money.

    Even worse, everybody would have to agree on the PKI, on who decides who is trusted to read the tags. No offense intended, but I think many NRA types would balk at the notion of remote government tracking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkel View Post
    My 2013 aluminum Cannondale has a sticker (and barcode--perhaps a manufacturing control aid?)
    My 3(?) year old Burley trailer SN sticker includes a barcode. It's just a barcode representation of the SN, and came in handy when I needed a new flag holder and couldn't read the Roman/Arabic "human-readable" SN. I just scanned it with a mobile app to get the SN.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    Why don't all bike manufacturers embed RFID tags somewhere in the frame?
    Embedding RFID tags in frames was suggested by Stolen Bicycle Registry owner. See "Read our whitepaper" at the bottom of their main page.

    Not mentioned in the whitepaper are the technical challenges in embedding RFID tags in frames. The frame could block RFID signals, and the data rate is typically slow, so it may not work on a moving bike. Increasing the range also presents problems if you have like 10 bikes on a bike rack, and they try to transmit their ID at the same time. Until someone comes up with a proven solution, bike manufacturers wouldn't do a thing.

    Some links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID#Problems_and_concerns
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID_on_metal

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