What to Do If Your Bike is Stolen in the Bay Area

Was your bike stolen in the Bay Area? We know how frustrating that is.

To improve your chances of recovering your bike, here are a few steps you can take:

Start a 529 Garage missing bike alert
If you've already registered your bike, be sure to log into your account and start your missing bike alert. You'll be asked for some details about the theft such as the location. Starting an alert will help others in the community to contact you if they recover your bike. If you haven't already registered, it's not too late. You can still register with the information you have.

Report it
Make sure you report the theft to the police where the theft happened. You'd be surprised how many people don't do this! If you registered your bike, you should have all the info like the make, model, and serial number to fill in your police report. Most law enforcement agencies have online reporting, which will save you a trip to the station.

Here are a few of the online reporting forms for the Bay Area:

Oakland Police Department
Palo Alto Police Department
Redwood City Police Department
San Bruno Police Department
Santa Cruz Police Department
San Francisco Police Department
San Jose Police Department
San Mateo Police Department
San Rafael Police Department
Sausalito Police Department

Check our Found Bike page
See if someone has already located your bike and posted a tip on our Found Bike page. Bikes posted on are from the community and our partner law enforcement agencies. If you see your bike listed, contact the person who posted the tip and let them know it's yours.

Check online marketplaces
Thieves often try to sell stolen bikes online, so keep an eye out on sites like: Craigslist, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace. Be sure to check the listings in nearby cities and areas as well.

If you think you've found your bike on one of these sites, start by taking screenshots of the listing. Gather as much information as you can. You might try contacting the seller to ask questions about the bike, but keep the conversation short and sweet so that they don't get suspicious. Contact the police (preferably whoever you are working with on your police report) and provide them with the information you've gathered. They may require you to setup a meeting with the seller, and to alert them once you do.

If you do setup a meet with the seller, always do so in a public place and bring a friend with you. Remember, you've probably got more to lose than the seller does, so use caution.

Visit local bike shops
Bike thieves sometimes try to sell stolen bikes to local bike shops. Swing by the bike shops in your area and give them a heads up about your stolen bike. They may also be able to keep an eye out for any bikes that match your description. From your 529 Garage registration, you can print a poster for your missing bike alert that can you distribute to the shops.

Also, be sure to check out local swap meets and flea markets.

Spread the word on social media
Share the news of your stolen bike with your friends, family, and social media followers. The more eyes that are on the lookout, the better your chances of getting your bike back. Post a photo and description of your bike along with a link to your 529 Garage stolen bike page on your social media channels and ask your followers to share it. In the Bay Area, there are several local online groups that may be able to help:

San Francisco Bike Ride Crew
Stolen Bikes Bay Area
Stolen Bikes Oakland

Check with your insurance provider
If you have a bike insurance policy, contact your insurance provider to see what is needed to file a claim. If you don't have specific bike insurance, it's possible that your homeowner or renter's insurance policy may cover your bike. Reach out to your broker to find out what your policy covers and what next steps are if they do cover bike theft.

If you aren't covered, and you have other bikes, you might consider signing up for a policy, or adding an addendum to your current policy, to protect your other bikes or replacement bike.

Here are some bike insurance companies you can check out:
Simple Bike Insurance
GoodCover Renter's Insurance
Oyster Bike Insurance

Do take action quickly, but also, you'll need to be patient. It can take a while to get your bike back, and you'll have a better chance of recovery if you continue to check online marketplaces and local groups for a few months.