MEMBERS of the public can now park their bicycles with greater peace of mind, with the installation of nine anti-theft bicycle bays islandwide.
These facilities are designed to deter theft by allowing the cyclist to lock the frame and both wheels of the bicycle to the rack.
The design came from three Indonesian tertiary students who took part in a competition organised by police and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).
The police and the council have installed a total of 90 racks at the nine bicycle bays as part of a pilot scheme started earlier this month.
The bays are located in neighbourhoods such as Hougang and Punggol, and at Velocity@Novena Square and the Pasir Ris Sports & Recreation Centre. There are plans for three more bays, with 30 racks in all, by the end of the year.
Speaking at the official launch of the bays yesterday, NCPC chairman Tan Kian Hoon noted that 588 bicycle thefts were reported in the first half of this year.
Even though the figure is down from the 630 reported in the same period last year, in part because of policing efforts, more can still be done, said Mr Tan.
The design competition was organised earlier last year with this aim in mind - to generate ideas for a bicycle rack that is secure as well as compact and easy to use.
In addition, an online database will be set up for the public registration of bicycle security labels, which are issued by the police and come with unique serial numbers.
To be managed by Togoparts, an online community of cyclists, the database will allow owners to update the status of their bikes on the Web. Also, consumers can check the database to make sure they are not buying stolen bicycles.
Ms Yanti Agustin, 22, who is part of the team behind the bicycle bays, said they incorporated a circular metal plate "to prevent people from taking out the bolts and nuts of the front wheel".
Another team member, Mr Inigo, 23, who goes by a single name, said "people usually steal bicycles (from the current racks) by removing the front wheel".
The students won $10,000 in prize money, which they used for their studies at the National University of Singapore and Lasalle College of the Arts.
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