A friend of mine over in the UK brought this petition to my attention yesterday. It is basically a request that Ebay make it harder for bike thieves to sell their stolen goods on the site by including serial numbers for all used bicycle sales. Basically employing the same idea as a VIN number on an automobile, the requirement would not only deter thieves from using this platform, but there would also be an electronic trail back to the seller.
Richard Biggs started the Change.org petition and had this to say:
It has always annoyed me that it is so easy to sell stolen bikes quickly and for a decent amount of money. Being a member of cycling forums I hear about expensive bikes being stolen every week.
That’s why I’ve started this petition calling on eBay and its subsidiaries to make frame numbers mandatory on listings on its site.
Frame numbers are found on every bike and can be used by owners or police to identify stolen bikes. Forcing sellers to list frame numbers on online ads will make it harder for thieves to shift our stolen goods.
eBay goes to considerable effort to protect the intellectual property of music and film companies. It removes auctions for designer items it suspects are illegal copies and requires motorists to enter a registration number when listing a car for sale.
Now we are asking that eBay and its subsidiaries do the same for bikes.
Bike theft is rampant in the U.S. as well, especially in urban areas, and it is definitely a borderline epidemic here in NYC. According to Streetsblog.org, from January to July of 2012 a whopping 1,694 bicycles were stolen off of NYC streets. That’s in just a little over six months, so I’m am sure the final numbers for the year were quite higher.
Right now it has a little more than 2,700 supporters. But it does seem to be growing. Although this petition only focuses on Ebay UK, if it does become a reality there, it is most likely to become a reality here in the U.S.
Being that I had my Bike stolen a few years back, I am in full support of this. So if you or people you know are avid bicyclists, you really should take few seconds to sign the petition. It has the potential to save a lot of people much grief and possibly save their primary mode of transportation. I know I will appreciate it if you do, as will many others.