Alas, it is possible to recover your stolen bike.
San Francisco police are launching a new voluntary registration program that'll help them reconnect cyclists with their stolen bikes.
Here's how it works:
Starting Thursday, bike owners can get a unique non-removable ID tag to stick on their bicycle frame that includes a serial number which is registered into a SFPD database. That means if a bike is found, police can quickly track down its owner.
"Police will use this information to contact the owners if the bike is stolen and recovered," says Officer Matt Friedman.
The whole point is to aggressively reduce bike theft in the San Francisco; In 2012, more than 4,000 bicycles were stolen locally, according to a 2012 Budget and Legislative Analyst policy report released last year. Of those, police recovered 864 bicycles in 2012, but only 142 were returned to their owners. The remaining unclaimed bikes are still sitting in SFPD's storage facility in Hunters Point.
"The number of bicyclists in San Francisco has nearly doubled in the last six years," says Morgan St. Clair, who is overseeing the registration program. "And bike theft has increased 70 percent over the same period. We needed to take action."
So if your worried about losing your only means of transportation, head down to City Hall on Thursday at noon, where police and other bike activists will be registering bikes and teaching cyclists how to better lock up their two-wheelers. If you can't make it Thursday, you can still register anytime for free in person at any local bicycle shop, at local bicycle events, or online at safebikes.org.