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New bicycle registration program rolls out in Denver

Denver Police said the new Project 529 program replaces its prior bicycle registration database.
Credit: 9NEWS

DENVER — Cyclists in Denver can register their bikes in a new, free program that Denver Police hope deters future thefts and reunite stolen bicycles with their rightful owners.

Project 529 replaces Denver's prior registration system. The city touts the program as more user-friendly and technologically superior to its former database.

Bicycle owners -- more than 17,000 --  who had already registered their bikes in the previous system will automatically have their bikes registered in the 529 Garage.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Project 529 to Denver," city council member Paul Kashmann said. "This simple bicycle registration and identification program brings Denver bike security into the 21st century, deterring bike theft from occurring, while facilitating the return of stolen bicycles whenever one is recovered."

Bicycle owners not registered can now do so free either through Denver Police's website or by downloading the 529 Garage app. Some bike shops around the city offer Project 529 decals that have a distinctive, seven-digit ID code. The decals are tamper-resistant and are a visual deterrent for thieves and more easily linked to a bike theft report, police said. 

A Denver city councilmember donated 10,000 of the decals that will be distributed for free at Denver Police district stations and at community events, police said. The department said the decals are not currently available, but will be distributed starting this summer. 

If you're unable to get a free decal, some bicycle shops in the city are selling the decals for around $10. 

“The Denver Police Department is committed to reducing bicycle thefts in Denver and recognizes the significant impact this particular crime has on our residents, both financially and in the loss of the bike used for transportation or recreation,” said Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas. “Bicycle theft in Denver is down 33% year-to-date compared with the three-year average, but that’s still nearly 600 bikes reported stolen in more than four months, so our goal through this partnership is to make a significant positive impact in curbing these crimes, reuniting residents with their stolen bicycles, and holding bike thieves accountable.”

Police said that while bike owners can report a stolen bike to the 529 Garage app or website, they also have to file a theft report with Denver Police. More than 400 bikes that were recovered in 2022 were not returned or claimed by their owners often due to lack of registration, Denver police said.

Police said the 529 program is being used in other cities like Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver saw bike thefts fall by 40% after implementing the program, a cycling community spokesperson said.


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