Have you got your bike tagged?

a bike that has been tagged with a sticker

There’s an on-going drive by the police to get London’s bikes tagged. Doing so helps them recover the owner when one is stolen. There’s also excellent initiatives such as Bike Revolution where you can buy tags yourself and add your bike to the database.

I was wondering..

How many of you out there have your bike or bikes tagged?

See also:

Join 10,221 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

40 Responses to Have you got your bike tagged?

  1. matt 10/06/2011 at 9:44 am #

    How do you get your bike tagged?

    • Andreas 10/06/2011 at 10:47 am #

      Either lookout for police marking sessions or buy a tag from: http://www.bikeshepherd.org/

      It’s an irremovable bike tag that you stick on your bike and then if your bike is recovered the police can look it up in their database.

      • Tom 10/06/2011 at 2:59 pm #

        How irremovable is the tag? It doesn’t look like it would survive long after a bit of poking with a sharp knife.

        • Alice 10/06/2011 at 3:53 pm #

          Hmmm the kryptonite ones don’t look very sturdy. The one I had done by the police is essentially a code “burnt” into the paint.

    • Mark 10/06/2011 at 2:44 pm #

      use kryptonite self tagging (http://www.bikeshepherd.org/) cheap, easy, and you dont have to take your bike anywhere for an appointment for someone else to do it 🙂

  2. elyob 10/06/2011 at 9:51 am #

    Complete waste of time. When my bike was nicked, I told the police about the chip in it .. they said “what’s that? Never heard of it”

  3. elyob 10/06/2011 at 9:54 am #

    Also, there needs to be some sort of “read tags” device at main line stations etc. So people that have unsuspectingly bought stolen bikes (“yeah a real bargain this bike from bloke in pub”) can forcibly have them returned to proper owner. Am I now awaiting my bike to be stolen *again* before getting it returned?

    • Andreas 10/06/2011 at 10:50 am #

      That’s very bad the police didn’t know what to do with the tag. You should refer them to the cycle task force: cycletaskforce@met.police.uk who should be able to assist you further as they have specific knowledge of bike crime.

  4. Ambo100 10/06/2011 at 11:10 am #

    Is this unique to London or does this system work throughout the UK in places like Kent?

    • Andreas 10/06/2011 at 12:14 pm #

      Works throughout the UK.. whether the police force have been trained to use it is another matter.

      • David Robinson 12/06/2011 at 7:40 am #

        Hi Like some other comments I have asked the police in Devon whether they have facilities to check tagging. They did not know what I was talking about and they would have to find out. From memory they did get back to me to say they did not know anything about them.
        What would help with security is if existing bike stands had chain welded to them that could be threaded throught the frame wheels etc. The cyclist would then only have to carry a substantial padlock to secure their bike. This would save having to carry a heavy D lock David

  5. Matt 10/06/2011 at 11:15 am #

    Since starting cycle in London I’ve become more and more aware of how cycle theft is prevalent here and the Met’s attitude towards it (surprisingly eager to address it).

    This seems like an easy way to increase the chances of getting your bike back, I’ll have to look into it.

  6. Alice 10/06/2011 at 11:25 am #

    I went to have my bike tagged at the Skyride last year as the Met was there with a marquee. Quick and painless, a code is “etched” onto the bottom of your frame and a sticker put on the crossbar so any potential thieves can see it. You have to fill in a form with your details and you receive an e-mail a few days later. You can then logon to http://www.immobilise.com and your bike and it’s shiny new code is there waiting for you. You can also register phones or other equipment which has a unique number.

    It didn’t cost anything and although it won’t stop your bike getting knicked I think that it may slightly deter thieves (as well as my massive cycle lock) but the main point is it’s traceable if it does get tea-leaved. I would definitely recommend it so far, although my bike hasn’t been stolen yet (touch wood) so I don’t have experience of the Met and their attitudes to it.

  7. Claire 10/06/2011 at 11:38 am #

    The Met often have tagging teams at the Wellington Arch off Hyde Park – it takes about 5 minutes and you’tr then registered with The Bike Register.

    No idea how effective it would be if my bikes did get knicked though. I never ever leave mine locked up in public – which makes life very hard indeed!

  8. Hannah 10/06/2011 at 11:47 am #

    There always seems to be police out tagging bikes! Follow the cyclecop on twitter and i’m sure he’ll point you in the right direction. I love my bike and if anyone stole her i’d be heartbroken. Even if the chance of having her returned was slim, i’d rather know i’d done everything to help! She’s got her special tattoo!!

  9. Greencustodian 10/06/2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Tagging is mildly double-edged. If you were by any chance to run a red light, cycle on pavements, use something less than perfect care and consideration for other road users…the police would be able to track you just as they can track motorists via number plates. I’m not saying that is WHY the police are so keen on tagging, but you might want to think about it. One of the great advantages of bikes is that you are not just a number. Get it tagged, and suddenly you’re on the system.

    • Tom 10/06/2011 at 2:45 pm #

      In what way could they track you? Do you mean by pulling you over and scanning your tag? Or long range via RFID? As far as I can tell these tags just work by scanning the barcode on them to get the details, and even if they did have RFID I don’t think it would work at the range needed to catch someone making their escape through a red light.

      If they did pull you over and fine you, they would have your details anyway, so I don’t see how having the barcode of your bike would really give them any more information, especially as bikes aren’t unique to the rider, but only you are you.

      • Mark 10/06/2011 at 4:09 pm #

        also, it isnt like the code can be read from a distance in the same way as a registration number.
        greencutodian, sorry but i think you are being a bit silly

        • Bobbyjohn 12/06/2011 at 7:41 am #

          Further to the above, I was on duty a number of years ago when I had reason to check out a tagged bicycle. I contacted police communications to conduct a PNC check on a bicycle (thinking the bicycle registration scheme would be on the database), only to be told (after the laughter had died down) that unless it had a vehicle registration mark (number plate), then there would be no details available. However, following routine checks on the rider etc, everything appeared to be in order 🙂

    • Cath 10/06/2011 at 4:16 pm #

      I agree with all of the other replies to this, being that I don’t see how the police could ‘track you’ if your bike was tagged…

      But even if they could track you, why don’t you just obey the road rules? Seems like an easy way to avoid the police…

      • Cath 10/06/2011 at 4:19 pm #

        p.s. this comment reminds me of those drivers who moan and groan about speed cameras being ‘revenue raising’… Who cares if they are? Just don’t speed and you won’t have to pay any fines!

    • Hannah 10/06/2011 at 4:29 pm #

      Greencustodian – I guess the lesson there would be don’t ride like a ****?!

  10. Ben Brown 10/06/2011 at 4:50 pm #

    all 4 of my bikes are tagged. When the first one got tagged I looked around and the policeman stuck a big obvious sticker on my top tube behind the handlebars, i wasn’t too happy, it wasn’t even straight but now i think it might have deterred a few robbers, that and my two d locks. Good idea I think.

  11. Mark 10/06/2011 at 4:54 pm #


    • Andreas 13/06/2011 at 9:55 pm #

      Deleted this comment. Felt it was a bit of an attack on the commenter and not really necessary. Keep things very civil guys!

  12. One Loose Nut 10/06/2011 at 6:19 pm #

    I use http://www.bikeregister.com/ – now I have an etched, sticker-covered, electronically chipped bike. Hopefully, when parked next to your bike mine will be left behind 😉

  13. Zoe 11/06/2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I went to a bike tagging event in Borough market last yr. There are many held all around London where the police also offer info on safer cycling,lorry awareness etc. As someone above said a code was etched to the underside of the bike and a little immobilize warning sticker attached to the top tube.

  14. Ali B 12/06/2011 at 3:01 am #

    Really recommend bike marking or tagging (they’re both different though, tagging puts an electronic tag on, marking engraves a number on the frame) and local cycle groups will normally flag marking sessions by local police or British Transport Police (who do tagging)

    One issue is databases, different forces apparently use different ones. There’s http://www.immobile.com and http://www.bikeregister.com, both used by different police forces, and the Bike Revolution’s http://www.bikerevolution.org

  15. Anthony 13/06/2011 at 2:23 am #

    I have got mine” Smartwatered” – http://www.smartwater.com/home.aspx

    The Met gave this to me for free a while back when someone tried to break into my house.

  16. Katie 17/06/2011 at 11:06 am #

    Just to add that the Met Police have just endorsed Bike Register as the register of choice for London. Press release here: http://www.prlog.org/11544588-metropolitan-police-service-endorses-new-cycle-register-for-london.html

    “BikeRegister will now supply the MPS with its bike marking kits and secure online registration service (www.bikeregister.com). One of the main deciding factors for BikeRegister winning the contract as the MPS’s preferred bike marking product and cycle register was the fact that patrolling officers were easily able to identify a BikeRegister mark without the need for any specialist equipment, making immediate action against suspected bike thieves possible. “

  17. Georgie 18/06/2011 at 11:32 pm #

    Wish I’d known about this last week before my bike was stolen in E15. Its only a genesis aether black racing bike with a reto honky horn and mud guards, bit it was my first ever new bike, and i havn’t even paid it off yet. but it seemes to me from reading all these coments and my personal experience that no one in authority, police, secutity guards, store managers give a rats nether area that in front of thirty people two blokes can walk up in a morrisons supermarket and openly steal another persons property let alone trace it thorugh a registration tag.
    tagging yes.. a great idea. but it needs cooperation from the police.. why can’t they be GPS chips as well as registration chips? surely wiping out bike theft is as much to do with catching these idiots, and not just spending money to keep them amused in a new ways to ruin some ones day?

  18. just saying 11/09/2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Talk about making things complicated

    Why of why can’t all police forces just use – and publicly endorse – one registration scheme?!

  19. TomM 07/01/2012 at 12:05 am #

    I did the Met police bike marking on Dec 22 at Victoria, very easy and simple. Sadly the bike was stolen a week later (Dec 29) at Tesco in Old Kent Road, despite a £40 Abus Varedo lock which seems not to b effective against thieves. Sadly by today (6 Jan) the police have still been too busy to even enter the original registration on bikeregister (the frame number is not there) and no-one in my local police stations knows who was supposed to be doing it, or how to inform bike register the bike has been stolen. In retrospect it seems an entirely useless exercise, although pleasant at the time.

    • TomM 07/01/2012 at 12:06 am #

      bikeregister itself does not seem to have any way of contacting them..

  20. bob 15/06/2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Just wanted to let everyone know that Merton safer transport team are offering free security marking bike sessions using the bike register etching kits. I got my bike marked using this scheme this week. Its basically the bikeregister silver marking scheme. they etch a unique serial on to the frame and then send a logbook to your home address.

    NOTE:- I was told that the marking kit is not suitable for carbon fibre frames.

    upcoming sessions are advertised on on the below link and are as follows.


    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 18/06/2012 – 15:00 – 17:00
    Where: Wimbledon Train Station
    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 19/06/2012 – 14:00 – 16:00
    Where: Wimbledon Common Windmill
    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 22/06/2012 – 14:30 – 16:00
    Where: Toys’R’Us store, Priory Retail Park, Colliers Wood
    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 22/06/2012 – 17:00 – 19:00
    Where: Morden Civic Centre
    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 17/07/2012 – 09:30 – 11:00
    Where: Raynes Park Station o/s Starbucks
    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 18/07/2012 – 10:00 – 12:00
    Where: Wimbledon Common Cannizaro Park entrance
    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 24/07/2012 – 11:00 – 12:00
    Where: Figges Marsh Fitness area
    What: Bike marking scheme
    When: 25/07/2012 – 14:30 – 16:00
    Where: Canons Leisure Centre, Upper Green East

    • bob 15/06/2012 at 12:43 pm #

      P.S To maximize the possibility of the police returning your bike if it is ever recovered I would do the following

      1) keep a scanned copy of your purchase receipt with the serial number noted on the receipt by the retailer.
      2) take a photo and keep it safe.
      3) bikeregister silver registration or if you cant get to a free police session use the free bieregister option to log the frame number
      4) immobilize free registration

  21. David 03/01/2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Thanks for the above advice Bob.

    For those interested there are many Police run cycle marking events in central London in Jan & Feb 2013.

    6th January 2013 – 2-4pm – Wimbledon BR Station, The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 7NL
    9th January 2013 – 7.30-10.30am – Harrow Road,
    10th January 2013 – 7.45 -10am – Marble Arch, W1C
    16th January 2013 – 7.30 -10.30am – Halfords Stepney Green Retail Park Mile End Road E1
    17th January 2013 – 4-7pm – Clapham Common Undergound Station (Southside), SW4
    24th January 2013 – 7.45 – 10am – Clapham Common Undergound Station (Southside), SW4
    31st January 2013 – 4-7pm – Outside ‘Evans Cycles’ London Bridge, junction Tooley Street
    7th February 2013 – 7.45-10am – Outside ‘Evans Cycles’ London Bridge, junction Tooley Street
    14th February 2013 – 4-7pm – Seven Sisters Road, junction with Green Lanes N4
    20th February 2013 – 10-2pm – Royal Brompton Hospital, Kings Road, SW3
    21st February 2013 – 7.45-10am – Seven Sisters Road, junction with Green Lanes N4


    • Andreas 04/01/2013 at 1:36 am #

      Thanks David – I’ll share this around!

  22. Frank 02/08/2014 at 6:36 pm #

    I saw an ad in the Evening Standard last week for a series of these. There was supposed to be one at Finsbury Park station yesterday (August 1), but when I cycled down there was no-one there. A bit of research revealed there was one the following day right on my doorstep at Crouch End town hall – again there was nobody (and I mean nobody) there set up. I have emailed the local police team to find out what the hell is going on, but I’m less than impressed.

Leave a Reply