Make bicycle registation mandatory to better track stolen wheels: Winnipeg city councillor

Cyclist David Lawler knows the feeling of losing a cherished bicycle to theft.

“Devastated, because that bike you know fitted my size, it was perfect, then I got a new one after that, never the same,” said Lawler.

Still Lawler hasn’t taken advantage of Winnipeg’s online bike registration system, although he said, “I’m aware of it.”

People can voluntarily log bicycle serial numbers with the city, at a cost of $6.60.

City councillor Ross Eadie says that’s not good enough. He says registration should be mandatory for all new bikes, to help police catch thieves and return more sets of wheels to the rightful owners.

“When they get reports they can go to a database and look it up and find out if a serial number on a bike is stolen,” said Eadie.

But Eadie said it wouldn’t be up to bike owners. He said all bicycles should be registered at the point of sale at every store across Winnipeg.

“The idea here is why don’t we just do it at purchase, eventually all of the bikes will be recorded,” said Eadie.

For 31 years, Tim Woodcock’s passion has been selling bikes. But for him, not all sales are equal.

“I also don’t want to be selling bicycles because someone has had their bicycle stolen,” said the Woodcock Cycle Works owner.

At his shop they encourage customers to register online. He would like to see all bikes tracked. But Woodcock wonders about the registration cost being forced on the consumer.

“I think that’s something you’d have to talk to the general population about because personally, you know, I’m sure you’ll have some people saying ‘there’s all kinds of taxes,’” said Woodcock.

Eadie wants city officials to consult with the bike industry on his idea before moving forward.

As for David Lawler, he says he’d be willing to fork over the extra six dollars and change.

“Especially if I bought a new bike, because I’m spending a lot more money, I mean, bikes are expensive,” said Lawler,

The city says since the voluntary online registration system began in April, 2,052 bikes have been recorded.

Bike Winnipeg estimates there could hundreds of thousands of bikes in Winnipeg.