Long Beach considers new bicycle registration system

In this file photo, Elizabeth Williams of Long Beach parks her bicycle at Lowell Elementary School in Long Beach. The city is working to create a free, app-based registry for bikes.
In this file photo, Elizabeth Williams of Long Beach parks her bicycle at Lowell Elementary School in Long Beach. The city is working to create a free, app-based registry for bikes. File photo

Long Beach is looking to create a new voluntary registration system for bicycles, in hopes that local police will be able to better track stolen bikes and return them to their owners, among other reasons.

The City Council on Tuesday will discuss the idea of an app-based registry that would include bike serial numbers, descriptions, photographs and contact information for the owner, according to a staff report.

Residents can now pay a fee to log their bike with the National Bike Registry database, but Long Beach police do not have access to that data, officials said – and many bikes are not reported stolen to the local department, making it difficult to return bikes if they are recovered.

“Every day we see bikes stolen, and there is little the police can do to address this if they cannot prove ownership of a bike, and they are not reported,” Councilwoman Suzie Price said in a statement. “This online service would be a useful tool for the Police Department to stem the flow of stolen bikes, and provide residents with greater assurances that Long Beach is serious about reducing bike thefts and property crime.”

The city tried to enact a registry once before, but the program ended in 2011 for a number of reasons, including that it was not financially sustainable because few people took the time to register their bikes in-person and pay the fees.

Over the last six years, the city has improved its technological capability, allowing residents to register bikes much easier, and for free, officials said. Online education and outreach would also be provided to residents who need to learn how to properly care for their bikes.

The number of thefts has been debated in recent weeks, but officials said more effort is required on their part if they are to confront the pressing issue of bike thefts around Long Beach.

“Unchecked bike thefts undermine our city’s commitment to being bike friendly,” a staff report said. “With the establishment of a free bike registry program, the residents of Long Beach would be better served and equipped to confront the issue of bike thefts.”

The item before council was initiated by Price, with support from councilmembers Daryl Supernaw, Dee Andrews and Roberto Uranga.

The City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.

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