VANCOUVER, WA (BRAIN) — With bike theft on the rise in the Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, metro areas, Vancouver police are faced with a dilemma: what to do with bikes that are recovered. Ideally, bikes are reunited with their rightful owners and everyone lives happily ever after. But even if shops keep a record of serial numbers when a bike is purchased, it can be difficult to bring bikes and their owners back together again because the police have no way of knowing which shop holds the record for a particular bike that comes into their custody.
The idea to put a bike registration program into place came into being when officer Drew Russell of the Vancouver police walked into Bad Monkey Bikes in Vancouver with a list of serial numbers from bikes that had been recovered. Bad Monkey Bikes’ owner Wade Leckie keeps track of serial owners but none of them matched.
Further discussions between Russell, Leckie, and Bike Clark County educator Eric Giacchino led to the creation of the Bad Monkey Badge, a free program that allows cyclists to register their bike with Bad Monkey Bikes, regardless of where the bike was purchased. The serial number and contact information are entered into Leckie’s Quickbooks system, and the Bad Monkey Badge sticker, which is nearly impossible to remove, is placed on the frame. The owner is given a copy of the registration form with the serial number for their records.
“It’s a simple way for police to track down the owners of recovered bikes,” says Leckie. “When police recover a bike with the Bad Monkey Badge on it, they will call the shop and I can search Quickbooks for the serial number to find the owner.”
Leckie says that since the program launched last week, between five and eight people have come in each day to register their bike, and that he anticipates that number will grow as the word gets out. “We hope to get police departments in Portland and surrounding areas involved as well,” added Leckie.