People steal bikes because there’s almost no risk

bike thief
This happened because no one goes to jail for it. via Flicker user Mark Lyon

If you’ve ever come outside from wherever you were only to find your chained up bike, or a piece of it, stolen, you’ve probably thrown your head to the heavens to ask “Why? Why did this happen?” Of course, you’ll get no answer from the heavens because there’s no one up there except for a few astronauts. But you can get an answer from some nerd economists on the internet. Why did it happen? Because no one gets in trouble for bike theft, so even the small amount of money from selling your bike is a great reward.

The folks at Priceonomics decided to look into the world of bike thievery in San Francisco. With hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bike-related thefts happening all over the country each year, why doesn’t someone do anything? As a San Francisco police officer puts it, “You can’t take six people off a murder to investigate a bike theft.” Which makes sense for sure, it’s just kind of a bummer. And also sounds like there’s a market opening for a private police force devoted solely to solving bike thefts.

If it makes you feel better, since the bikes are seen as quick cash by the people who steal them, the bikes are sold for just pennies on the dollar by the thieves. Of course, that would bum us out, knowing the bike we love got sold for fifty bucks so someone could get their heroin fix. The whole post is interesting, whether you’ve had your bike stolen before, or are terrified of it happening to you, so check it out if you want to feel paranoid or sad.


  1. Raanan Geberer

    “You’ll get no help from heaven because no one is up there, except for a few astronauts?” The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob is there, always has been, always will be–RG

  2. I had my 2007 specialized bmx stolen from me from the salvation army on 27th ave west duluth mn back in 2008 . I worked hard for that bike I payed 470.00 just for some scumbag to scope it out and clip the lock . so now my current bmx bike that I’ve invested 700.00 in stays indoors with me at home and at work .locked up also indoors . working for something not just bikes brings alot more satisfaction than being shady . thanx good read

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