Failing to lock your bike at all is the most obvious mistake, but it's one that many people make. Whether you're running a quick errand or simply taking a break, it's important to secure your bike to a solid object so that it doesn't get stolen.
Not using a high-quality lock is another common mistake. Cheap cable locks can be easily cut with bolt cutters, while U-locks can be pried open with a crowbar. Investing in a high-quality lock, such as a heavy-duty chain or a U-lock with a reinforced steel shackle, will help to protect your bike from theft.
Not locking your bike properly is another mistake to avoid. Many people simply loop their lock through the frame and wheel of their bike, but this leaves the rest of the bike unprotected. To properly secure your bike, run the lock through the frame, wheel, and any other removable parts, such as the seat or accessories.
Not locking your bike in a visible, well-lit area is also a mistake. Thieves are less likely to target a bike that is in a busy, highly visible area because there is a greater chance of getting caught. Instead, look for a location that is well-lit and has a lot of foot traffic.
Not registering your bike with your local police department is another mistake. If your bike is stolen and later recovered, it can be difficult for the police to return it to you if it isn't registered. By registering your bike, you'll also be providing the police with important information about your bike that can help them to find it if it's stolen.
Finally, not keeping a record of your bike's serial number is a mistake. In the event that your bike is stolen, having the serial number will make it much easier for the police to track it down. The serial number can usually be found on the bottom of the bike's frame and it's a good idea to keep a copy of it somewhere safe.