eBike Robberies and security Problems

edgargc99

New Member
Hi everyone!

My name is Edgar Gago Carrillo and an Engineer and MBA student currently working on a project to understand eBike current security problems(cities, towns, etc). I'd love to hear about your experiences and thoughts about it and if you've ever had any problem with parking your bike and how did you solve it.

I'm well aware that eBike robberies have increased almost all around the world and it's becoming a huge problem. I'm trying to understand the problem, talk eBike users that have had some bad experiences about it and also for those who hadn't in order to know what did they do.

Moreover, if anyone is open to having a chat with me via skype/WhatsApp/Facebook or whatever platform you want to use I'm more than happy to listen and chat with you about, it would help me so much to develop my research. If you're down for a chat, just let me now or send me a message to edgargc.upc@gmail.com

I'll be waiting to hear all about what are your thoughts about this,

Thank you!
Edgar
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
One issue I've noticed with one of my ebikes is that the downtube is really big because of the integrated battery. It makes locking the bike more difficult because traditional u-locks were designed for conventional bicycles.

I'm curious about the data regarding ebike robberies. The way you say it, it sounds like people are being confronted when their bike is unlocked or they're riding and they're attacked at that time and the bike taken. Rather than a locked bike being stolen.
 

sc00ter

Active Member
The saying goes, I they really want it, the'll get it! Ebikes getting stolen is no different than sports motorcycles getting stolen in Europe, or lage displacement scooters. You need good security and use it all the time, even in your garage! I have a friend who doesn't lock his bicycles in his garden shed. Its only a matter of time before someone breaks-in and steals his bicycles and mower. I lock all my stuff in my garage. A few seconds with the lock is much easier than hours with the police and the insurance company! And get the "bonus" of raised rates for a claim? LOCK you stuff IN your garage! I own a fancy pants beach cruiser and I ride it to the grocery store. To keep my seat getting stolen (HUGE problem in my city!) I discovered Hexlox! Simple and easy to use. Also run one in each corner of my stem. And on my wife's bicycle. All "keyed" the same. Theft stinks! Make it as hard as possible for the thieves!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
See this thread about a poster whose bar lock was cut with a grinder.
I've been using a 3/8" SS cable (basket sling) around telephone poles gas meters cart racks, etc, with no theft.Master key lock. Cable is not on the ground. Bike left cost me $2900 but there may not be a huge market for girl's cargo bikes in dayglo green. Battery doesn't look like any other in the world either. You see it on the front.
Somebody removed some screws to the battery while I was in a grocery store, but the wrong ones to remove it. Somebody cut the rear light off with a knife while I was at work.
I removed the easy steal front axle & seat adjuster that came with my bike. Replaced them with metric allen head screws & elastic stop nuts.
Someone chased me down to ask if I'd seen his Pedego with purple wheels. His was unlocked in the back yard of his house & carried over the fence.
There is plenty of theft of gas scooters here. Someone cut a chain link fence and pried the hasp off a barn to steal one across the street from my house.
Anybody tries to strong arm my bike I'll hit them in the face with my sling & padlock. Same as I do dogs that won't back off.
As far as garages, I had the door frame hammered out of the wall & $2200 of tools + an english racer bike stolen. Now the frames are screwed to the walls with plastic inserts, and the roll up door is cabled inside to the cinder block wall with 3/8" x 12" bolts. Somebody left marks on the roll up door trying to pop it with a crow bar.
 
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edgargc99

New Member
One issue I've noticed with one of my ebikes is that the downtube is really big because of the integrated battery. It makes locking the bike more difficult because traditional u-locks were designed for conventional bicycles.

I'm curious about the data regarding ebike robberies. The way you say it, it sounds like people are being confronted when their bike is unlocked or they're riding and they're attacked at that time and the bike taken. Rather than a locked bike being stolen.
No, I didn't mean robberies with attacks or similar. I've been reading several posts on newspapers and, statistics about different cycling communities and all of them stated that the eBike
thefts have increase like 38% since last year. I'm trying to figure it about how to attack the problem. Because from what I've seen, seems the problems lies in the city security (police or security services don't have proper tools to combat this kind of crimes).
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
No, I didn't mean robberies with attacks or similar. I've been reading several posts on newspapers and, statistics about different cycling communities and all of them stated that the eBike
thefts have increase like 38% since last year. I'm trying to figure it about how to attack the problem. Because from what I've seen, seems the problems lies in the city security (police or security services don't have proper tools to combat this kind of crimes).
the jail is full of drug dealers assault perps & dwi. The city doesn't care about bike theft, no room in the inn. They will take a report and file it. They put a guy that destroyed his neighbor's brain with assault on house arrest with an electronic collar.
 

edgargc99

New Member
the jail is full of drug dealers assault perps & dwi. The city doesn't care about bike theft, no room in the inn. They will take a report and file it. They put a guy that destroyed his neighbour's brain with assault on house arrest with an electronic collar.
I mean that's a point, but some eBikes and also road or MTB bikes are more expensive than cars and motorbikes. Should be some action against this kind of problems.

btw: do you know if there's a way to check if a bike's been stolen? I mean there are a lot of used bikes marketplaces, do you know if there's some tool or something to check if that bike is original?
 

sc00ter

Active Member
Our state/city still does the old fashioned bicycle license sticker. You register the bicycle with the city police station. They verify the serial number and value and issue you a reflective little registration sticker. Not the best system but its a step that no one seems to do. Funny kinda related story. I purchased a used motor scooter, and was told a crazy story as to how he got it. The guy told me to run the VIN number thru the police department and if its stolen, he'll turn it over. I write the VIN number down and stop by the police station. No one wanted to look the VIN number up! They just said if something seems wrong, don't buy it! The seller and I came to a price "as is" and I purchased/parted it out. This was a $3000 scooter new, not a cheap junk brand. So I know the police don't have time for bicycles in my city.....
 

sc00ter

Active Member
And at one time there was an experimental police operated website where you could run VINs and serial numbers thru to see if they were stolen. Kinda like Carfax for theft. But it went away as fast as it appeared. Like I said, bikes and scooters get no priority. They (state) did make registering mopeds thru the DMV, so that has reduced theft a little bit as mopeds are no longer like bearer bonds anymore.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Bicycle security is a pretty mature business. https://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/market-research/bicycle-security-system-market.asp
There are carbon fiber traditional road bikes that cost double or triple an eBike. So nice that you want to do research, but pessimistic that asking owners will give you any more insight that already hasn't been researched. Now criminal research could be something to reveal new data!
 
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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
I think there is at least a partial technological solution to the theft problem.

The critical observation is that most e-bikers, most of the time, don't carry the charger with them. And an e-bike you can't recharge isn't worth very much. If you had a process where you had to pair the batteries with the charger at a bike shop there would be an opportunity to identify stolen e-bikes and return them to their rightful owner. The process (roughly) would be:
  1. Someone buys an e-bike. As part of assembly at the shop the serial numbers of their battery are registered and the battery is paired with their charger.
  2. Some time later (at least it is hopefully some time later) their e-bike is stolen.
  3. They report the e-bike stolen and the serial number of the stolen battery is recorded.
  4. The person who stole the bike, or more likely the person who purchased it, realizes they need to buy a new charger for the bike.
  5. So they go to a bike shop. The bike shop will gladly sell them a charger but they need the serial number of the battery to pair the new charger with the battery.
  6. The bike shop checks the serial number, probably against a database of stolen e-bikes online. If a match comes back they can work with the police to reunite the bike with its rightful owner.
This approach generalizes without too much trouble to people who have multiple batteries and multiple chargers. You might need to use a different approach for rental e-bikes. One other variation might be to allow a certain number of charges on an unpaired charger before the battery is bricked and must be taken to a bike shop.

My guess is that, at scale, the hardware costs to implement this would be under $50 per battery and charger. That seems like a lot but a lot of people are dropping $150 or more on bike locks that can be destroyed by an angle grinder in minutes, so it doesn't seem like that bad a deal to me.

Please also keep in mind that I am speaking as someone who very rarely actually locks up their bike. Mostly I use a keyed cable tie to block the rear wheel and leave it at that.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
some eBikes and also road or MTB bikes are more expensive than cars and motorbikes.
People that own very expensive bicycles (electric or not) tend to not leave their bike unattended; they ride it for sport only. So it goes from home to car, car to home, and that is about it. If it gets locked when running into the 7-Eleven, often a cheap "cafe lock" is used to keep it from being grabbed out of opportunity.
 

CityExplorer

Active Member
hub motors seem to all have serial numbers; the motor(s), batteries, and frame should all be recorded. the penalties need to be high for theft and dealing in the stolen goods. the systems should be country wide.
 

CityExplorer

Active Member
Manufacturers should take a more active role and provide secure attachment point that that be used with a true high security lock 15mm+ so that high security loop chains paired with a high security padlock could be used more effectively. Similar to the idea where laptops for a while all came with standard secure attachment points. Batteries should use secure locking mechanisms not cheap s*it, and batteries should be able to be electrically locked out (some early good batteries were of this design, new ones just use cheap locks to sort of secure the battery to the frame). In the EU the standard wheel locks should be standard, the US should consider doing the same or something similar. Keeping them the same is best for manufacturers. This is convenient for quick stops, or when one is in close proximity to their bike. Electronic Alarm system build into batteries could be an option.
 
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Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
People that own very expensive bicycles (electric or not) tend to not leave their bike unattended; they ride it for sport only. So it goes from home to car, car to home, and that is about it. If it gets locked when running into the 7-Eleven, often a cheap "cafe lock" is used to keep it from being grabbed out of opportunity.
That's generally the case for me. The only bikes I commute with and leave locked up tend to be my less expensive bikes and older ones. For an ebike my Juiced was relatively inexpensive and I've gotten a couple of years of use from it so it's well depreciated. If I tried to sell my CCS now I don't think it would be worth a lot. So if I'm going to run an errand and leave it locked somewhere, I don't stress about it.
 

dodahman

Member
Which mfg has the 3 position lock for the battery? locked (off electrically) , (locked on electrically), unlocked? I think there was a recent review of such a bike.
All mfgs should do this immediately. simple and effective.

I took lots of serial number photos when I got my bike. I hope never to have to show them to anyone...
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I think that GPS tracking systems will help to lower theft rates and assist with recovery in the future.

Many cars are now equipped with GPS and the recovery rate is very high... +98% for Tesla as an example.
 

steve marino

Active Member
Never knew anyone that had an eBike stolen, so I would guess that any increase in thefts is a direct result of increased eBike sales and ownership. In general, eBike owners are much more careful about where they park their bikes and how they're secured. Statistics are interesting. I worked many years in statistical research. It was deadly boring, even though our clients were extremely interesting. It's almost too easy to put together statistics to "prove" almost anything.

Years ago, when the speed limit was lowered from 70 MPH to 55 MPH on US interstate highways, multiple studies showed that when states did that, auto fatalities increased. In states that enacted mandatory motorcycle helmets, motorcycle fatalities increased. Why did that happen? I have my suspicions, but they're not important, they stats are what they are.

"the jail is full of drug dealers assault perps & dwi". This is true, and all the while the big time crooks in Washington get away w/ murder. Like Bob Dylan said, steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.

 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
I do worry about ebike theft, esp when we travel with them. We use 2 locks and always try to lock them to a fixed object but finding such a fixed object (bike rack, park bench, etc) is difficult in most cities. Getting communities behind this would help.

The bikes themselves need to be more secure. For example my Specialized Vado has no way to disable the motor drive, other than taking out the battery. It has a fairly sophisticated display controller that is fixed to the bike. Make this removable and the bike won't be powered. In addition, there is a well featured app that interfaces with the bike. What isn't there a user option to require an app login to power the motor? Some manufacturer thought on this would help.

Stolen bikes are hard to trace since they tend to be unregistered, at least here in the states. Programs like the 529 Garage, https://project529.com/garage/, help address this by offering a service to register and describe unique features (color, accessories, etc) for your bike. This database is accessible to law enforcement. I can only hope they bother to check it for recovered bikes.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Never knew anyone that had an eBike stolen, so I would guess that any increase in thefts is a direct result of increased eBike sales and ownership. In general, eBike owners are much more careful about where they park their bikes and how they're secured. Statistics are interesting. I worked many years in statistical research. It was deadly boring, even though our clients were extremely interesting. It's almost too easy to put together statistics to "prove" almost anything.

Years ago, when the speed limit was lowered from 70 MPH to 55 MPH on US interstate highways, multiple studies showed that when states did that, auto fatalities increased. In states that enacted mandatory motorcycle helmets, motorcycle fatalities increased. Why did that happen? I have my suspicions, but they're not important, they stats are what they are.

"the jail is full of drug dealers assault perps & dwi". This is true, and all the while the big time crooks in Washington get away w/ murder. Like Bob Dylan said, steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.
Interesting... I would like to understand your theory on the fatality increases.

All I know is that when the government gets involved, they usually make thing worse.