Lock Your Bicycle with a U-Lock and a Chain/Leash
A properly locked bicycle should always have the frame locked to a bike rack using a high-quality lock (u-lock or heavy chain) and, when possible, also lock one of the wheels at the same time. Adding a cable lock will help secure the other wheel, but consider using two u-locks for additional security.
When You Park Your Bicycle, Lock Your Bicycle
- Park your bicycle in a designated bicycle rack
- There are roughly 31,000 designated bicycle parking racks or stalls on the UC Davis campus. Parking your bicycle in one of these designated bicycle racks ensures there is access for pedestrian walkways.
- Lock your bicycle (properly)
- To prevent or reduce the chances of bicycle theft, the Bicycle Program suggests purchasing and using a U-lock with a cable.
Make sure when you park your bicycle, you are also locking your bicycle properly. Locking just one wheel or just the frame of your bicycle is not enough nowadays. Often thieves are not stealing entire bicycles, they are stealing parts of bicycles--the parts that are not locked up (wheels, frames, etc.).
To lock your bicycle to a rack, place your front or back tire close to the bicycle rack. With one end of the cable, thread the cable through one of your wheels and frame, then around itself (see above image). With the other end of the cable, to the wheel closest to the rack, loop the cable through your U-lock. Lock the U-lock, with cable end, around your wheel, to the rack itself. Done. Locked.
Campus Bicycle Parking
Bicycles may park only in designated parking areas. With so many bicycles on campus, parking regulations are strictly enforced. Illegally parked bicycles, those that are not parked at designated bicycle racks, create problems and inconvenience for people, damage property, and generally constitute a hazard. If you do not park your bicycle in a designated bicycle rack, it may be impounded and you will be charged a fine.
Some residence halls allow students to store bikes in their assigned room. Check with your residence hall staff for further information. Staff and faculty members may be able to park their bicycles in their office or other assigned workspace with the permission of their department chairperson. Bicycle lockers are also available for rent in four campus locations. Contact the Bicycle Program (530-752-2453) for information on fees and availability.
Bicycle Theft Prevention
Each year, hundreds of bicycles are stolen on campus and in the city of Davis. Most thefts can be prevented by properly securing the bicycle with an adequate lock to an approved, fixed object (i.e. a designated bicycle parking rack).
- 1. Register your bicycle
- Registering your bicycle creates a legal document with the university and the State of California that your bicycle belongs to you. This license is both proof of ownership and makes it difficult (but not impossible) for a thief to sell your bicycle. Plus, should your bicycle be stolen, it is more likely to be returned to its licensed owner. Learn more
- 2. Ride a less valuable or older bicycle
- Thieves' favorite targets are expensive, high-quality mountain bikes. This is so obvious, yet too many Davis cyclists persist in riding such "thief-magnets" for daily commuting in a town where distances are short, terrain is flat, and a high-dollar, 27-speed, all-terrain bike is really out of place. Even if theft weren't an issue, why put that daily wear and tear on such a bike? Get a "beater bike" for around-town use. Sure, it could also get stolen, but consider the comparative loss.
- 3. Always lock your bike, even if you're leaving it for "just a minute"
- Whenever possible, always lock your bike to a fixed, but legal, device such as a bike rack or pod. Lock your bike in a highly visible, well-lighted location. U-shaped high security locks are among the most theft-resistant locks available. Be aware, however, that they are easily defeated by knowledgeable thieves.
- 4. Secure your quick-release components
- Quick-release components like wheels and seats can be secured with a cable, chain, or other security devices available at bike shops. Or, you may simply take off your seat or wheel and take it with you. Consider this: If your quick-release components are not locked up, they may be "quickly-released" and taken by someone else.
- 5. Customize your bicycle
- A customized bicycle covered with stickers, lights and other decorations is a deterrent to thieves. It's harder to sell on the secondary market and it is also easy (for you and others that know your bicycle) to identify. For a thief, seeing a customized bicycle is often more trouble than they want.
Register Your Bicycle, Purchase a License
All bicycles on the UC Davis campus must have a current California Bicycle License. Licenses and renewals are valid until December 31 of the second year following the year of registration. You must bring your bicycle with you to register it with a license.
Bicycle Lock-Cutting Service
If your bicycle is on UC Davis property, you have lost your lock keys, or your lock is malfunctioning, Transportation Services can help by cutting off your bicycle lock.
Transportation Services lock cutting service is available by appointment only.
In order for the lock to be cut you must:
- Provide proof of bike ownership
- Show us a photo ID
- Have a valid California Bicycle License
- If you do not have a valid license, we can renew or register the bicycle anew when we cut the lock.
- Why is lock cutting needed?
- More often than not, our lock cutting service is needed because a bicycle owner suddenly discovers that their key will not turn in the lock, or won’t turn easily, the key breaks off in the lock when the owner tries to force it open. If your key won’t turn far enough, don’t force it and then read the advice below. Our staff will also try the technique described below to open the lock without resorting to cutting it.
Steps to schedule a lock-cutting appointment
- During the week: Schedule an appointment to cut your lock during office hours by calling 530-752-2453 or send an email
- Office Hours are 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday-Friday. We are closed on University holidays [calendar]
- On the weekends: Call University Police at 530-752-1727. They will require proof of ownership, which includes having registered your bike. If you did that locally, the police should be able to verify that in our registration database. You don’t need to produce your copy of the registration.
- Click here to see TIPS TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR U-LOCK
- When U-locks are “jammed”, it’s usually not the actual lock (where the key fits) that is at fault. Rather, the moving parts of the mechanism that engage the shackle portion of the lock are what get rusted or otherwise stuck together. In that case, oiling the lock through the keyhole will not have much effect.
To help prevent jamming from happening, the following steps are recommended at least once a year or more if your bicycle spends a lot of time in the rain:
• Take the U-lock apart into its two parts
• Turn the key to make the lock mechanism move to the locked position
• As you turn the key, look into the holes where the shackle fits
• Some U-locks will only lock one side, other will lock at both ends (photo below shows a one-sided mechanism)
• Drip several drops of machine oil (or chain lube) onto the part that you see moving when you turn the key; this is the sliding-locking-bar/pin that engages the shackle
• Work the key back and forth a few times to get the oil between the moving parts
• Once the the parts move smoothly again, the key should no longer bind and you’re good to go
Even with a jammed U-lock, there is one thing you can try as long as the key isn’t broken off in the lock and unable to be removed. Squirt copious amounts of thin penetrating oil (like "Liquid Wrench") down the tiny seams where the u-portion enters both sides of the bar of the u-lock (see photo below). Do it on both sides and don’t be shy with the amount; flood it good. Squirt a tiny bit right into the keyhole, too, just in case. If you’re willing to wait a few minutes for the oil to penetrate, you may find that the key turns again if you start by gently wiggling it back and forth to help the oil penetrate even further. Do not use thin oils like WD-40 to lube locks once they’re working again; it washes off too quickly; use a graphite-based lubricant designed for use with locks. A widely-available product found at most hardware stores is “Lock-Ease”.
Bicycles left unattended long-term, whether over Summer or Winter Break, are vulnerable to theft and vandalism. If your bicycle is found locked and unattended through the summer months, it will be impounded and you may be charged for storage and any associated fines. Additionally, owners of bicycles left in any student housing area may be assessed a $75 fee by the Student Housing Office in addition to any other storage fees.
Options to store your bicycle over break(s):
- Rent a year-round locker
- Transportation Services provides year-round bicycle storage lockers for rent at several locations around campus. Lockers are located near each of the three campus parking structures (Pavillion Parking Structure, etc.) and in parking lot 25 on the east side of the ARC. The metal lockers can store two bicycles, separated by a diagonal partition, with each space accessed by a private door at each end. Lockers may be rented through the current fiscal year (June). Check availability of lockers by contacting the Bicycle Program at 530-752-2453
→ See the Bicycle Program Rates table for pricing
- Rent a space in our secure bicycle cage
- Looking for secure bicycle parking that protects your two-wheeler from the weather year round? Transportation Services provides bike cages for rent. Cages may be rented at any time, up through the current fiscal year (June 30). Cages are located in the lower level of the Quad parking structure. Contact the Bicycle Program office for more information at 530-752-2453.
→ See the Bicycle Program Rates table for pricing
- Store your bicycle over the summer
- Students leaving the Davis area for the summer may store their bicycles in a safe, secure, and weather-safe storage unit managed by Transportation Services. Transportation Services is offering appointments to insure safety for all, appointments for storage are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and only the until capacity is met.
Students leaving Davis for the summer may not leave bikes just anywhere on campus, including the residence hall bike lots. Bicycles left unattended over the summer are vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Bicycles left elsewhere will be impounded and their owners charged for storage and any associated fines. Owners of bicycles left in any student housing area may be assessed a fee by the Student Housing Office in addition to any other storage fees.
Summer Bicycle Storage Details:
BYOM (Bring your own mask)!
- Drop off: Bicycles can be left with the Bicycle Program starting on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, we'll accept appointments until Friday, June 18, 2021 (or capacity is met, whichever comes first). Make an appointment by emailing email@example.com or calling the Bicycle Program 530-752-2453.
- All bicycles put into summer storage must have a valid CA bicycle license, which may be purchased at Transportation Services
- Owners picking up bicycles after October 15, 2021 will be assessed a $15 admin fee
- A $25 non-refundable storage fee is due upon bicycle drop-off, payable by check or credit card (Visa/Mastercard only)
- Appointments are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis
- Bicycles must have valid California Bicycle License (a license may be purchased at Transportation Services for $12 new/$6 renewal)
- Pick up dates: Appointments available between September 7 through October 8, 2021 from 9a.m. - 4p.m.
- Bicycles remaining in storage 60 days after the pick-up deadline may be considered abandoned and will be impounded
- Bicycles picked up after the pick-up deadline will have a $15 admin fee, due prior to their return