Shaun Loney is peddling a plan to reduce bike theft in Winnipeg.
Loney says if he’s elected mayor on Oct. 26, he will eliminate bike-registration fees, dedicate a police officer to fight bike theft, spend $200,000 to install secure public bike lockers and change city zoning rules to require new developments to include secure bike storage.
The mayoral candidate also promised to replace Winnipeg’s existing bike registry with a national system to help combat organized criminal efforts to strip apart and sell stolen bicycles.
“Bike theft is a real frustration for a lot of Winnipeggers,” said Loney, the only one of Winnipeg’s 14 mayoral candidates who routinely cycles to policy announcements.
“Winnipeggers, I think, want to be more active, but a lot of people right now are not cycling because they’re afraid to get their bikes stolen.”
According to the Winnipeg Police Service, an average of 1,616 bikes were reported stolen each year from 2019 to 2021.
Some of those bikes belonged to Kierra Ryner, a Loney campaign volunteer, who’s had three bicycles stolen since she moved to Winnipeg from Calgary two years ago.
“When we first moved here and I said my bike got stolen, our neighbours were like, ‘Welcome to Winnipeg. This is what happens. Your bike gets stolen,'” said Ryner, who lives in St. Boniface.
“I’m just excited to see that someone is taking it seriously.”
One Winnipeg bicycle retailer said some aspects of Loney’s plan would be effective, particularly the creation of more secure bicycle parking.
“Having places for people to securely park their bikes would be fantastic. You know, I ride my bike all over the city and and have been yelled at by people for bringing my bike inside buildings because they have no safe place for me to park my bike,” said Robb Massey, who manages Olympia Cycle and Ski in St. James.
Ask for serial number
The push to register more bikes, however, may not be that effective, he said, suggesting Winnipeggers ought to be more demanding when they purchase used bikes from people selling them online.
“If you’re in the market for a used bike, because many of us have to get used bikes because we can’t afford new all the time, just ask the person for the serial number,” Massey said.
“If the person doesn’t want to tell you the serial number of the bike they’re selling, it’s probably stolen and then don’t buy it.”
Massey also implored Winnipeggers to be more vigilant about locking up their bikes.
“We love selling bikes, but man, we’d rather people hang on to their bikes and ride them longer and enjoy them more.”
Loney was the first candidate to declare a run for mayor in the wide-open race to succeed Brian Bowman, who is not running again.
Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Kevin Klein, Chris Clacio, Scott Gillingham, Jenny Motkaluk, Glen Murray, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Jessica Peebles, Rick Shone, Govind Thawani, Desmond Thomas and Don Woodstock have also registered mayoral campaigns.
Candidates must also complete a nomination process in September in order to appear on the election-day ballot in October.