A website combating the stolen bike market by allowing the public to check a potential buy against bikes reported stolen has won £40,000 to fund the next stage of its development.
Check That Bike! launched last year, allows users to run the serial number of a bike frame against a database of those reported stolen to authorities. So far the site is relying on data from the insurance company ETA but hopes to secure access to police records.
According to John Moss who set up the website, out of just 801 searches since mid-December 2013, 87 bikes came back reported stolen.
The website won the £40,000 cash in a competition run by Nesta, a charity that fosters innovative start up companies and the Open Data Institute.
Despite the windfall, Check That Bike! is still lobbying the 43 UK police forces to provide the data. Two of the country’s biggest forces – the Met and the West Midlands Police force are close to joining up with the open data scheme, said Moss.
He said: “We’re still butting heads with the police, but the West Midlands is looking extremely hopeful and the Chief Superintendent is working with the Open Data Institute and the Met Cycle Task Force is quite keen.”
According to Check That Bike, 536,000 bikes are stolen in the UK with many appearing on sites such as eBay, Gumtree and online classifieds.
The website could deliver an advantage over other serial-number bike check schemes, because it doesn’t require a bike to be recorded prior to being stolen.