The San Luis Obispo Police Department recognizes bicycle riding as an important part of our community’s lifestyle. Whether it is for recreation, transportation, competition or casual enjoyment bicycle riding is a unique part of our character.

With such a diverse need and use for bicycles in our community this also creates an opportunity for the criminal element to prey upon others to steal bicycles and bicycle parts.

Citizens have reported approximately 230 thefts of bicycles annually which equates to about 20 bicycles a month. Once a bicycle is stolen the chances of recovering the property is difficult.

In addition to stolen bicycles the Police Department comes across bicycles that are considered found property. These bicycles are collected by the Police Department and stored in hopes of locating the owner with the intention of reuniting them with their property. Approximately 12% of all found bicycles in the City are returned to the owner. However, many of these bicycles go unclaimed and the Police Department will turn them over to the Sheriff’s Honor Farm who rehabilitates bicycles and provides them to families in need.

There are a number of things a citizen can do to either protect themselves for becoming a victim or provide police with assistance should their bicycle be stolen or lost.

– Use quality locking mechanisms and properly secure bicycles to racks, posts and other stable, legal locations

– Keep bicycles in secured storage areas

– Use common sense when leaving bicycles unattended

– Keep purchase receipts to prove ownership

– Know the make, model, color and serial number of your bicycles

– Know the unique features or components of your bicycles

– Place an owner applied number, such as a driver’s license number, in an inconspicuous place on the frame and/or components of your bicycles

Each year new students and residents come to our community adding to the volume of bicycles. Many bicycles are purchased outside of the City of San Luis Obispo with no records available containing serial numbers and details of the owner. This makes it difficult to return a stolen or lost bicycle to the lawful owner.

In order to enhance the Police Department’s ability to track bicycles and reunite them with their owners we will be implementing a Bicycle Registration Program. This program is voluntary and provided at no cost to residents of San Luis Obispo.

Owners of bicycles are encouraged to register their bicycles on-line on the City of San Luis Obispo website here. Owners will be required to complete a registration form to include information about themselves and their bicycle(s).

By providing this information the Police Department would have the ability to determine if a bike has actually been stolen or lost by contacting the rightful owner and also provide a means to return their bicycle to them. Registration forms can be completed and submitted on-line, downloaded from the website or obtained at the Police Department for submittal.

Those who choose to register with the Police Department are asked to update any future changes of ownership with the department. The department will not be issuing any stickers or decals signifying that the bicycles have been registered.

Registration through this process is not considered proof of ownership and is merely a tool that will allow the Police Department to investigate crimes, contact owners and return property to the rightful person. Registrants must be 18 years or older and must be a resident of the City of San Luis Obispo. Parents/Guardians may register on behalf of their minor children.