Stolen Bikes UK (and FindThatBike/CheckThatBike) were setup when I had my own bike stolen as a hobby primarily aimed at getting my own bike back. It morphed into this project that has I think achieved it’s goals in hitting bike thieves where it hurts and helping spur innovation in bicycle registers.
It’s now been over 10 years and the services has grown to:
- 55,927 stolen bikes listed and 2,603 recorded as recovered
- 5.4 million CheckThatBike queries to registers we supported on the service, resulting in 218,968 frame numbers flagged
- 2.6 million emails sent every year
- 60,000 likes/follows on social media
- Too many media requests to count
All big numbers no doubt but unfortunately it comes at an operational cost that is no longer self sustained by advertising, add to that a need to focus elsewhere, a lack of time and an increase in effort required to keep the service running smoothly and it’s no longer a project that takes the priority it should.
To that end I will be looking at finding a home for both Stolen Bikes UK, Find That Bike and our social media accounts (interested email: firstname.lastname@example.org). This will obviously have to be done in a way mindful of peoples privacy rights and should it end in a transfer of data I will reach out to those affected with an opt-in email.
I will continue to watch this space, I still stand by my premise that Check That Bike! should have been the service that changed how UK handled theft by making it incredibly simple (and free) to check unique frame numbers against any number of databases (be they government or private).
However a lack of interest in police forces both in providing a way to query internal stolen items datasets and/or making it a term in their contract for registers they work with make it unworkable at this time until something happens at a central government level.
It’s been a journey!