Of all the issues surrounding the country’s increase in biking, theft ranks right there near the top. The League of American Bicyclists reports 57 million riders nationwide, and all of them — students, commuters, transit users and recreational riders — are targets.
The statistics speak loudly. For 2012, the FBI cited theft of 189,428 bikes valued at an average of $367 each. According to many experts, bike theft is vastly under-reported. BicycleLaw.com, the website of attorney Bob Mionske, who represents cyclists, pegs it at 800,000 to two million thefts valued at $50 million total. The situation has become so critical that some areas are using ”bait bikes” equipped with GPS systems in hopes of tracking thieves.
Concerns about theft are echoed by Duo-Gard customers from college campuses to office complexes to public transit sites. “As an active advocate of alternative transportation, Duo-Gard collaborates with these customers in an effort to combat this problem,” said Michael Arvidson, executive vice president.
“In both our growing line of standard models as well as custom shelters, we offer a comprehensive range of solutions designed to address security concerns.”
He says these solutions recognize the wide range of challenges facing customers. Colleges want to encourage biking for both students and staff. Commercial employers want to accommodate the rise in commuter biking. Public transit officials are seeing a rapid increase in cyclist transit riders who have problems in the “first mile/last mile” leg of their trip as they struggle for secure leave-behind bike parking or sufficient space for bike take-alongs.
Duo-Gard’s solutions include:
- Fully enclosed shelters — standard & custom
- Card-swipe or key-fob access
- Mechanical keypads with changeable codes
- Shatterproof polycarbonate glazings
- Integrated bike racks
- Special solar lighting systems
- Motion detectors
- Video cameras
“Some 20 percent of our customers now want secure shelters,” said Sean McKnight, bike infrastructure coordinator, “and that interest is rising.”
For example, he’s working now with a major medical center where a secure shelter for 240 commuter bikes is underway. It will include access by key-card swipe. Last year, Duo-Gard engineered a 94-slot shelter for MIT’s Maseeh Hall, a custom design by architect James Loftus of Miller Dyer Spears Inc. in Boston. It integrates card-key entry, custom solar lighting with special motion detectors, metal mesh walls and a shatterproof polycarbonate roof. Loftus told Duo-Gard that safety and security for the hall’s 462 students was a priority.
Bicyclists make up a growing portion of public transit ridership. In fact, the two serve as access modes for each other, according to a recent study for the Mineta Transportation Institute. For its report "Perceptions of Bicycle-Friendly Policy Impacts on Accessibility to Transit Services: The First and Last Mile Bridge," researchers Bradley Flamm, Ph.D and Charles Rivasplata, Ph.D surveyed cyclists in San Francisco and Philadelphia. The most common complaint was that cyclists don’t have enough secure parking areas to leave their bikes behind and not enough space onboard to take their bikes along. The researchers’ recommendations included developing a specific policy focus on the issue.