Bike Index is proud to welcome a new municipal partner in the City of Palo Alto, CA. Palo Alto is the first Bike Index organization to implement a new set of Bike Index features - including QR stickers - that will benefit organizations with multiple stakeholders in bike theft prevention.
Palo Alto is the debut organization for Bike Index's new custom QR stickers. As some of you may have noticed, you can now purchase these stickers to place on bikes. You can link a sticker with your bike on Bike Index using a smart phone. Anyone who scans the sticker on your bike will be able to find your bike online. And, if you've marked your bike as stolen, they can get in touch with you through Bike Index's secure system.
Organizations that use these stickers can also choose to receive a map that shows all of the scanned sticker locations, allowing admins of the Bike Index organizations in question to visualize problem areas for bikes.
Additionally, an admin from the Palo Alto Police Department, for example, can scan a sticker on a Bike Index bike, and message the owner to let them know that their bike has been recovered or needs to be removed if it's in a place it shouldn't be.
Fifty percent of Palo Alto middle and high school students commute to school by bike. Palo Alto implemented Bike Index initially through its PTA across five of these schools in the city. These schools hosted registration drives to get students into a Bike Index organization that school officials and PTA members can monitor and use to communicate with students about their bikes. Students and parents can mark bikes as stolen in Bike Index and look out for each other using the platform. Bikes parked outside of schools, often with fallible locks, are targets for theft. Palo Alto hopes to curb this theft with Bike Index's communication tools.
"The Palo Alto PTA, City of Palo Alto, and the Palo Alto Police Department are working together with Bike Index to help improve the chances of getting a lost or stolen bike returned to the owner," says Audrey Gold, one of the PTA members in Palo Alto who spearheaded the effort to bring Bike Index to the area. "Locally, hundreds of bikes are stolen each year and only a few are ever found. Bike Index has helped more than 5,300 people get their bike back."
Students and community members in Palo Alto can also register through an online form that will not only allow them to register their bike both at their school and also with City of Palo Alto. The Palo Alto PTA wants the new system grow to become a community resource. By nesting each of their individual school registration organizations within the City's overarching org the PTA and the City hopes other groups will join in.
The PTA continues to encourage students to register their bikes with a recent drawing for free bike lights to anyone who had registered.
The more users in Bike Index registering and looking out for the same bikes, the more successful Bike Index becomes. Bike Index's national user base - now at 210,000 users - can spot bikes no matter where they were stolen from, whether that's a school campus or a nearby neighborhood.
My Asset Tag, a company that itself has helped to register bikes and produce registration platforms and stickers for organizations, prints the new Bike Index QR stickers. Their PermaGuard stickers are durable even when left outside, and the custom designs are sleek and straightforward. Bike owners can scan stickers and link them to their bikes in seconds.
We are continuing to develop features that make registration simpler and more effective. Stay tuned.
Feature image is a Bike Arc at Juniper Networks Silicon Valley. The original Bike Arc was designed by Joseph Bellomo and Jeff Selzer in Palo Alto, CA. Photo from Wikimedia Commons