Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scanning the streets for stolen bikes

COPENHAGEN. The Danes love their bicycles and ride them more than anybody else. But don’t you just hate it when your bike is stolen?
Last summer the City of Copenhagen introduced a new scheme to combat bike-theft, and this week it announced an expansion of the so called chip-project.
It works like this:
A small chip connected to a radio frequency identification system is placed in a reflector on your bicycle. City car-park attendants are equipped with a scanner that will register any chip that is placed on a bicycle that has been reported stolen.
Data will then be sent via e-mail to the owner who can reclaim his or her bike.
The project is a part of Copenhagen’s ambition to promote bicycling. The goal is to be the best city in the world for bicycling by 2015. Many think that the Danish capital already can claim that title. More than a third of all trips in Copenhagen today are made by bike. The city aims to reach 50 percent by 2015.
Every year some 18,000 bikes are stolen in Copenhagen. In the first stage of the chip-project 5,000 chips were handed out to bicyclists. This week another 3,000 chips will be placed on bikes.
The city claims that the project has been a success so far, even if there are no reported cases where stolen bikes have been found thanks to the chip. The system works, says authorities, and expect to introduce a permanent chip-program when the test-project has been analyzed later this year.