How Bike Index Works for University and College Campuses

by Jordani Sarreal


Topics: For Schools

Bike Index is the #1 platform for universities to manage bikes and keep them in members’ hands. Here’s how it works.

College towns historically have higher rates of bike thefts than other non-college cities. In addition to this, bicycle thefts on campus are still trending upwards. For example, in Fall 2021 UC Santa Barbara experienced the highest number of bike thefts in the last three years with an 85% increase from 2019.

Of course, colleges and universities tend to have a higher number of bicycles and so a correlating number of thefts makes sense. However, the physical markers of bike registration serve as a deterrent to thieves who know they will have a harder time fencing the stolen bike, and having a comprehensive bike registration system in place has been proven to significantly increase the rate of bicycle recoveries.

For these reasons, implementing Bike Index as the campus registration system for universities and colleges provides a sustainable solution to curb bike theft on campus while also providing effective transportation management services with a variety of benefits.

The Benefits of Bike Index for Universities and Colleges

1 An Integrated Registry System

While some college campuses have some sort of registration system in place for student bicycles, these systems are often outdated and limited in efficacy because they can only recover stolen bikes found on campus.

As Jeffrey Bruchez, the Bicycle Program Coordinator at UC Davis points out, “We historically were registering several thousand bikes per year, which was excellent for managing the campus issues with stolen and abandoned bikes, on campus. Sadly, many, if not most, of the stolen bikes were quickly whisked away from campus.”

The integrated system of the Bike Index platform allows for campuses to have their own custom system that is also linked to the national registry database. If a campus member’s bike is taken from campus, Bike Index can still help recover the bike through their 1,300+ community partnerships and universal platform.

2 Modern Campus-Specific Features

Bike Index replaces legacy systems and paper registrations through a simple database to which all previous records can be transferred. This technological solution is not only more reliable and user-friendly, but it also introduces modern features for managing bicycles on campus, such as:

Mobile Bicycle Identification via QR Codes: Any official campus member (transportation services, security, etc.) with a smartphone or smart device can scan a QR code sticker on a registered bike to find the owner, send notifications, or scan and tag bikes.

Message & Notification History: All messages and notifications for each registered bike are saved in one place – making it simple to implement campus rules and security measures.

Simple Registration with Multiple Options: Instead of long lines and registration delays, any campus member can register their bike from their smartphone without any app required. Students can also register their bikes through embedded forms or in-person with campus transportation.

Interdepartmental Communication: The single registration system provides a communicative and responsive solution between departments like: Campus Police, Campus Transportation, Sustainability Department, Campus Cycling Services, and similar. All departments can access a single database to reference misplaced bikes, issue notices, send alerts or find the owner of a found bicycle.

Location-Based Messaging: University staff can create parking notifications and follow-up messages based on the location when a campus member’s bike is in the wrong place, or is about to be moved to an impound lot.

Custom Messaging Features: Campuses can customize their messaging features based on campus policy with options including location-based messaging, bulk notifications and messaging history.

Impounded Bike Features: Bikes can be tagged with custom, university-specific tag numbers and tracked by impound location. University staff can create a public list of impounded bikes (including listings made for unregistered bikes), where campus members can make claims to prove ownership. This gets bikes back to owners faster and decreases the volume of bikes in impound locations.

3 A Sustainable Solution

Campus registration services serve students for the years they are on campus, but once students graduate, their bikes are no longer registered.

Bike Index solves this problem by offering a customized campus platform that is managed by the university to issue notices and keep campus transportation data organized, but once students graduate, their bicycles are still protected without any additional action.

This one-step registration process helps curb bike theft for the long-term with a bicycle being tracked by its serial number throughout its lifetime.

4 A Nonprofit Partner

Bike Index is the number one platform for universities to manage bikes and keep them in campus members’ hands. Their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status allows them to focus on providing a public and social benefit to mitigating bike theft that not only helps your school, but cyclists at-large.

Because the majority of their revenue comes from donations, they can provide their services to campus partners at a reasonable price and offer multiple campus tools through their open-source and universal software. They offer flexible solutions for campuses to implement Bike Index’s national bike registry with both free and paid options.

How It Works:

Create a free organization for your campus at: Campuses can embed a registration form on their website for registrants to sign up for free straight from their smartphone.


Purchase a custom-built landing page and campus-specific features for your college or university.

Registered bikes through your platform appear on your campus’s bike list where you can manage, search and sort your own data, contact owners, and use the campus-specific features provided by Bike Index.

For more information on making Bike Index the comprehensive solution for your campus, contact