New and improved program launched in Missoula to reduce bicycle thefts

MISSOULA - As more and more people hit the biking trails, the City of Missoula wants to make sure that your two-wheeler doesn’t get stolen.

Angela Marshall pedals you through an easy way to help prevent a thief from riding off with your bike.

“The sunny weather, even for a brief moment, is giving me the chance to ride my bike,” says ABC FOX Montana Evening Anchor Angela Marshall. “But before I push on the pedal and head out to the trail, I want to make sure that my bike is registered. And the City of Missoula has a new and improved way to do that. It’s called Project 529 and it’s completely free.”

“Bike theft is a major problem everywhere,” said Ben Weiss, who is the Bicycle Pedestrian Program Manager for the City of Missoula. “And even in Missoula.”

Weiss says that about 400 bikes are stolen in the city every year.

And that doesn’t include those thefts that go unreported.

In a joint effort, the City recently launched Project 529, an app or web-based international bicycle registry program.

“So Project 529… the name, itself, is kind of a play on the other hours besides your work time. That’s 5 to 9. That’s the other times for riding bikes,” Weiss chuckled. “The main benefit of registering your bike is helping law enforcement recover your bike if it goes missing, or even if you go downtown and forget that you left it there.”

And it’s easy:

- Either download the 529 Garage app or visit Project 529 on the web.

- Provide your email and a detailed description of your bike: make, model, serial number, color, cute stickers. All of this can be done by simply providing pictures.

Then if your bike is stolen, you can use Project 529 to notify Missoula Police and that’s not all.

“The registration is shared by all law enforcement agencies,” Weiss added. “So if your bike does turn up somewhere else, it’s much easier for that bike to be returned to you.”

Angela added, “Weiss did tell me that they are working with local bike shops. So when a bike is sold, the new owner will take over the Project 529 registration.”

Another important safety measure? Weiss says to get a good lock for your bike and don’t forget to maintain proper social distancing while out on the trails.

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