Operation Rudy, a partnership approach to combatting bike theft

Operation Rudy, a broad-based partnership program aiming to combat bike theft and improve bicycle access to Granville Island, launched this week.
Developed by CMHC – Granville Island, Project 529, The City of Vancouver, The Vancouver Police Department, B.E.S.T, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and several Island businesses, Operation Rudy is a multi-spoked approach that addresses easy bicycle storage and registration, cyclists’ security habits, theft deterrence and physical site design.

Get your bicycle registered with 529 Garage for free at The Bicycle Valet on Granville Island
[Get your bicycle registered with 529 Garage for free at The Bicycle Valet on Granville Island] 
“We’ve given this initiative a lot of thought,” said Janet Flowers, General Manager of Granville Island. “Working with the plan developed by Project 529, we are creating a more welcoming and secure Island cycling environment.”


In partnership with Granville Island, B.E.S.T. is operating their free Bicycle Valet service on Granville Island from 10 am to 7:30 pm every day through Labour Day. The Bicycle Valet service is located next to the “Giants” mural. It’s free and offers monitored bicycle storage in a secure environment.

The Bicycle Valet on Granville Island, located next to “The Giants”
[The Bicycle Valet on Granville Island, located next to “The Giants”]

Project 529 has partnered with The Bicycle Valet to register bicycles with their 529 Garage service, a modern, easy and free registration system recommended by many North American police departments, including the Vancouver Police Department and 10 neighbouring municipalities in BC. Details on how to register your bicycle can be found at www.project529.com.

Project 529 has launched the Loaner Lock program in partnership with lock manufacturer ABUS and several Granville Island businesses and organizations. This pilot program allows cyclists to borrow a top-of-the-line ABUS Bordo 6000 folding lock if they’ve arrived on Granville Island with no lock, or just want the added protection of a second lock.

Loaner Locks will require cyclists to leave photo ID with the business in order to borrow a lock during their stay at the Island. The first wave of businesses supporting the program include Cats Social House, Granville Island Brewing Taproom, Off the Tracks Café, A Bread Affair, False Creek Community Centre and The Keg.

Loaner Locks, available on Granville Island
[Loaner locks, available on Granville Island]

The majority of North America’s bike thefts are made easier by the use of inappropriate cable locks and/or the cyclist not using the lock correctly (not locking their bike through the frame and a wheel to a secure bike rack). Signs attached to bicycle racks on Granville Island now encourage cyclists to use appropriate locks and locking methods.

The Vancouver PD is increasing activity on Granville Island with its Bait Bike program and will increase its visibility on the Island over the coming months to apprehend and discourage thieves who target Granville Island cyclists.

Granville Island has increased bicycle parking in high-visibility areas adjacent to the Public Market to allow for less crowding in this popular area and will also relocate some of the bike racks to increase safety and convenience for cyclists.

Constable Rob Brunt with a compromised lock
[Constable Rob Brunt with a compromised lock]

As one of Vancouver’s most popular neighbourhoods, Granville Island welcomes more than 10 million visitors a year and enjoys fantastic accessibility by bicycle. One down side to being Vancouver’s key gathering place is that the Island has also become one of the City’s hotspots for bicycle theft.

“Biking is the ideal way to visit Granville Island, and we want to make this a place where the riding public feel confident when parking their bikes down here,” says J. Allard, founder of Project 529. “We are hopeful this new program will address theft deterrence, have meaningful impact, and also serve as a blueprint for other communities in Vancouver and across North America.”


“Rudy” is a persona who represents bicycle riders across the Lower Mainland. Although a victim of bicycle theft in the past, the experience has only made Rudy a more dedicated and vigilant cyclist.

By investing in a good lock, taking the time to lock up properly and registering bikes on 529 Garage, Rudy is making Granville Island one of the most bicycle-friendly places in Vancouver.

Photos by Dominic Schaefer.

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