Fighting bike thieves: Searching for your bike using a barcode – News


Thanks to a vignette, owners of stolen bicycles can get their vehicles back. The Basel police hope that other cantons will follow suit.

Thick locks, bikes chained to trees and traffic signs or people taking their bikes into their homes: nowhere are so many bikes stolen as in northwestern Switzerland. So people are looking for ways to protect their bikes.

There is a huge problem in solving the thefts. Bicycle thefts are rarely solved.

The Basel region wants to be a pioneer

Now the Baselbieter police are trying a new approach: they want to return found bicycles to their owners. A new type of bicycle vignette should help with this.

Barcode and a web code that is still filled in with “XXXX-XXXX”.


The Basel police advise that you stick the vignette on the bike in a hidden place so that the thief cannot see it and scratch it off.


Such bicycle vignettes are stickers that have a barcode on them. “You stick the vignette on your bike and register on a website,” explains police spokesman Adrian Gaugler. “If the bike is stolen and then found somewhere, we can use the vignette to find out who it belongs to.” The owner gets the stolen bike back.

A man is opening the lock on his bike.


A bike lock is only of limited use against theft. If you have good tools with you, you can crack a locked bike within a short time and without making any noise.

KEYSTONE/Gaetan Bally

The lobby organization “Pro Velo both Basel” likes the approach of the Basel police. Co-President Anina Ineichen does not believe that fewer bicycles will be stolen because of the new vignette, “given the very high rate of bicycle theft in both Basels, I think everything that is being done to combat bicycle theft is praiseworthy.”

It is unclear whether the barcode is actually useful. It would be important that the vignette is used in as many places as possible, says Adrian Gaugler. “We hope that other police corps will follow suit.”

Nevertheless, cycling etiquette is also useful if you don’t live in the canton of Baselland, said the police spokesman. At least the Basel police could return the bike to its owners if it were found there. Anyone can attach the bicycle vignette, it’s free.

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