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Point-of-sale bike registry would have immediate impact in curbing theft: Bike Winnipeg director

Eric Beck / Global News

The City of Winnipeg is looking at steps to curb the rampant trend of bike thefts with new measures.

A report to city council’s protection committee about proposed changes to Winnipeg’s bike registry will be presented at a Jan. 8 meeting.

The executive director of a non-profit cycling advocacy group said the impact of a pilot project to increase registrations, which would include mandatory registration at large retailers, would be immediately felt.

READ MORE: Bike theft numbers heat up in Winnipeg over summer

“It would make a huge difference. A lot of those bikes [from large retailers] are the ones that are being stolen,” said Bike Winnipeg’s Mark Cohoe.
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“You feel terrible… it’s some kid’s bike being stolen. What do you tell that kid?”

The Winnipeg Public Service consulted with police, retailers, specialty stores, and other stakeholders — including Bike Winnipeg — to look into the feasibility of point-of-sale bike registration, as well as the implementation of free bike registration and a user-friendly app for cyclists.

Cohoe told 680 CJOB that while there’s currently a bike registry in Winnipeg (for a $6 fee), the main difference with the proposed plan is that it will automate the process of registering, via the bike shops.

The report also suggests mandatory ID checks at junkyards, where bikes are often traded for cash.

READ MORE: Here’s how to prevent your bike from being stolen: Winnipeg bike shop owner

“Businesses dealing in scrap metals will be included in the licencing category of ‘used goods dealers’ and will be subject to the same licencing requirements,” says the report.

“They will then be required to implement certain operational practices as a condition of that licence. This includes the requirement to obtain a photograph of the person selling the scrap metal as well as their identification, and keeping records of the acquisition and disposition of the scrap metal for review by police.”

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“A part of this is making it a little more rules-compliant,” said Cohoe.

“The idea there is to really try and curb some of that theft that’s really happening to sell scrap metal and feed addictions, that we know are happening in the city.”

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