Just read about a stolen bicycle retrieval plan in England and it made me frown. Normally, I'm all smiles about the police helping us get our bikes back but this one doesn't sit well. Lancashire Police can stop a cyclist and ask him/her to prove ownership of the bicycle. If sufficient proof is not provided, the bicycle could be confiscated and taken to the police station where the rider will need to bring proof of ownership to get the bike back. Acceptable ownership documentation is a purchase receipt, a photo that shows said rider on the bicycle, or some sort of insurance documentation like a homeowner's policy that has the bicycle listed. If you can't provide these......Well, the friendly officer might seize your bicycle. Now, the good thing is that these checks are targeted and aren't completely random, plus not all bicycles are seized but that's a tiny little nibble of goodness with a big serving of badness syrup poured over the top.
The only times I have ridden my bicycle with ownership documentation have been the couple of times I rode a brand new bike straight from the bike shop. Other than that, I don't carry the receipt or vanity pictures of me on my bike. I also don't insure the bike because I take maximum precautions against theft (I've never had one stolen) and I hate insurance and insurance companies so I don't support them any more than absolutely necessary. It's a personal feeling of freedom to not need to insure or register my bicycles and it just appears that the cops have too much power in this instance. I'd like a lil' help with bike theft but this doesn't seem toooooo helpful. If my bike were confiscated, I might not even be able to get it back because my bicycles are bought, bit by bit, through mail order from companies all over America. It's ironic that one could potentially do everything right to prevent their bike from being stolen and then have the police confiscate it. Seems like this could easily lead down the road to mandatory licensing, insurance, and user fees for the folks who produce their own transportation power.
I read about this story on a blog page at goinggoingbike.com . The writer seemed to be enthusiastic about the program and they even said that they had an ownership check by the police but the story doesn't say how ownership was proven. The fact that this is happening in England may explain folks being okay with too much intrusion. I really don't know how everyday, practical life life goes in that part of the world and I'm not familiar with most laws and the attitudes of the people since I don't live and work there. It would cause an uproar around here though.
I'm talking "extremes" in this post but from where I sit.....This just isn't the way to fix the problem.