Although it took a little longer than advocates expected, the City of Kingston implemented the 529 Garage app in Kingston to help deter bike theft and encourage riders to check-in.
529 Garage creates a database of information from collective sources and can help police locate stolen bikes, or even return them to their owners without police intervention.
In the past, many bicycle theft victims never saw their bike stolen until it was auctioned by Kingston Police, the hope is that with 529 Garage that is no longer the case.
Bruce Bursey of the Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation (KCAT) says the main goal is to improve the current system, resulting in a negligible number of riders flocking to their bikes.
“We will wait and see, but I anticipate that that is one way that we will be able to measure how effective it is to return more bikes to their owners earlier than when the auction takes place,” Bursey said.
“Because right now it is not very effective or very efficient.”
Many bicycle theft victims have expressed displeasure with police in the past, claiming that Kingston Police simply don’t seem to mind finding thieves and returning stolen bikes to their owners.
529 Garage could act as a useful tool for locating and returning stolen bikes, and the app claims to have deterred bike theft in more than 40% in cities like Vancouver since its implementation through education on the importance of bike registration. , security and reports.
A police representative is expected to join future discussions on bike safety at the center, with a committee comprised of representatives from Cycle Kingston, Velo Club, KCAT, Frontenac Cycle, and Downtown BIA.
Bursey added that he hopes that through the participation of the cycling community in these discussions, they will be able to understand the challenges faced by law enforcement and help provide solutions.
Kingston police say 62 bicycles have been searched in Kingston so far and 44 of those that took place in October, and two stolen bicycles have so far been reported.
Although 529 Garage has proven effective in reducing bicycle theft in the past, the cycling community and the City of Kingston still anticipate more changes to improve bicycle safety.
“It is an important next step in dealing with this problem of bicycle theft, but it is by no means the only thing to do,” Bursey said.
He noted that safe bicycle parking is a major infrastructure change that will help riders feel safer.
Bursey says the need for secure bike parking is better understood, which could help incentivize developers to include it in their plans for new buildings or to modernize existing buildings.
529 Garage says that registration in the app takes on average less than six minutes and could help put a dent in the 200 or more bikes recovered by Kingston police annually.