Monday, October 18, 2010

One less bike

If someone nicks your bike, ultimately it is the thief who is responsible and hence to blame. But police in very few places seem to put much effort into either cycle theft prevention or tracking down perpetrators – so to a great extent you are on own. I know loads and loads and of people in Helsinki who have had bikes stolen. I always used to presume it was because in the UK everyone presumed that given any chance at all someone would steal your bike and therefore acted accordingly; whilst in Finland nobody thought that anyone would steal their bike and therefore relied on rubbish locks. Many people use those stupid frame fitted locks that just stop the back wheel going around, but don’t actually stop anyone picking up the bike and putting it in the back of a van. But so many people seem to get their bike stolen here you would have thought people would have reconsidered by now. How many times do you need to get punched in the face before deciding next time on seeing a fist, ducking might be a good idea?

So I saw this sad sight outside Helsinki central station today. If the bike had Racing Ralphs on it, it was probably a pretty good to start with. So why on earth would someone think that locking only their front wheel was a good idea? A wheel attached by a quick release skewer no less?!

Yes, ultimately the thief is to blame. But, as a certain percentage of scumbags in any society seems unfortunately to be part of the human condition, don’t be a sucker. In this case let’s say the thief gets 50% of the blame but the other half can be shared between the owner for locking their bike in such a gormless manner, and Helsinki City for providing such hopeless bike racks that make locking the frame of your bike to the rack impossible with just a standard U-lock.


Anonymous said...

Good post Toby! I also know many Finns with expensive bikes who rely on those stupid frame fitted locks. The illusion that “because Finland is an honest country, my bike wouldn't be stolen” is amazingly persistent! Pavlov discovered that “conditional reflexes” like salivation only occur conditionally based on “previous experiences”. I wonder how many “previous experiences” it takes before Finnish bike owners start locking their bikes and the thieves stop salivating in anticipation!

Hugo said...

Those racks by the station are rubbish, but it is possible to lock your back wheel and frame with just a standard U lock.

You're right though, it is amazing how many rubbish locks people use here, and how badly they're locked.

You should check the bike racks at the other side of station, next to Kaisaniemi park and the subway, it's amazing how many broken bike locks there are on the floor.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Chaps - thanks for leaving the comments, I'm clearly not the only person noticing this! Fortunately I get to leave my bike in locked cellar at work so only very rarely pop into the centre and leave it locked up on the street somewhere.

Hugo - I might cycle past those racks and take a photo. Thanks for the tip.