Bicycle Safety & Protection

Bicycle Safety

  • Always use a helmet
  • Be visible when riding at night by using reflectors and lights
  • Do not weave in and out of slow moving or stopped traffic
  • Learn, use, and obey traffic safety signals
  • Give pedestrians the right of way
  • Keep your bike well maintained with regular check ups and service visits to your local bike shop
  • Ride defensively and watch for cars and car doors opening into your path
  • Ride with traffic, not against it
  • Slow down and look out for oncoming and turning cars at all intersections
  • When you are not riding your bike, keep it properly locked

Download the Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road

Stolen Bicycles

Many bicycles are easily stolen because they are not locked. (In law enforcement it's called a crime of opportunity.) Your first line of defense is a good lock. Lightweight cable or chain locks are easily cut and offer little protection. Many bicycles are stolen from home (yard, porch, garage, dorm room, etc.). Store your bicycle in a secure place when not in use. If you are not sure your storage is secure, use your lock.

Register Your Bicycle

You can register your bike free with the Vernon Hills Police Department by using our easy on-line form. We then mail the registration sticker to you. Now what can be easier than that? If you're not sure where to affix the sticker, we can help with that also. Just give us call at (847) 247-4889.

You can also register your bike in a national database. Professional bicycle thieves frequently sell stolen bikes in other cities and states because of the difficulty in tracing owners.

The National Bike Registry

The National Bike Registry is accessible to law enforcement throughout the country. No matter where a bike is stolen, or where it is recovered, the owner can be identified. The National Bike Registry Certificate of Registration can be used as proof of ownership if your bike is recovered, or for your insurance claim if it is not found.

Locking Your Bike

Always lock your bike, especially at home. More bikes are stolen from home than from any other location. Wherever you store your bike; a garage, a college dorm room, an apartment building, use your lock.

  • Always lock your bike in visible, well-lit areas.
  • Always secure your components and accessories, especially those that can be easily removed, like quick release wheels or seats.
  • Beware of locking your bike to items that can be easily cut, broken, or otherwise removed.
  • Do not ever leave a new bike unlocked. New bikes have the most value to thieves and they look for them.
  • Do not lock your bike to small trees, aluminum or wooden posts, or to chain link fences. These items can be easily broken or cut.
  • Do not lock your bike to anything posted as illegal. Check with your police department for local bicycle parking regulations.
  • Do not lock your bike to itself. A thief will just carry the whole bike away!
  • If you have a multi-speed bike, leave it in the highest gear. This makes it that much harder for a thief to shift quickly and get away with your bike.
  • Pick a good location. Select a location where there are other bikes. The chances are better that there will be a bike with a less secure lock or even a bike without a lock, and thieves will usually take the unlocked bikes first.
  • If your U-lock has its keyway on the end of the crossbar, position the lock with its keyway end facing down towards the ground. This makes it harder for the thief to access your lock.
  • Lock your bike to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter, or a permanent bike rack that is cemented or anchored into the ground. If you use a parking meter, make sure the locked bike cannot be slipped off over the top of the pole.
  • Try not to let your lock rest against the ground, where a thief can use a hammer or rock to smash the lock.
  • Use the lock correctly. Position your bike frame and wheels so that you take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock up, the harder it will be for a thief to insert a pry bar and pry open your lock.

U-Locks vs. Cables

Although they are frequently used, the lightweight cable or chain locks no longer provide adequate security in most areas. In neighborhoods with a known bicycle theft problem, the best choice is a strong, reliable U-lock.

Remember, two locks are better than one. Combine a cable and a U-lock, or even two U-locks, when securing your bicycle. The more time and trouble it takes a thief to attack your bike, the less likely it is that your bike will become a theft statistic. Be sure to get a demonstration from a qualified professional on how the lock works and how to use it properly.

Design Features

Make sure that the design of the lock provides functional security. Gimmicks may look cool, but they may not protect your bike.

Using a steel lock would be the strongest lock option. The ideal steel is hardened against cutting, yet maintains flexibility, like Kryptonite's Kryptonium Steel used in the Evolution series of U-locks (New York Lock, Evolution 2000, and Evo Lite).


Find out about the lock's performance. Find out whether or not is has a:

  • Good track record
  • Guarantee
  • Lifetime key registration
  • Prompt key replacement services
  • Warranty


Do not buy a larger lock than you really need. Thieves will utilize the extra space between your lock and your bike to their advantage. A tight-fitting lock will make it even more difficult for thieves to get their tools into position to attempt a break.