Saturday, September 18, 2004

Many college students use bicycles to get around campus. In fact, it has been my experience to be the fast way around campus. Students will often purchase a good bicycle worth hundreds from the local bike shop. Obviously, if someone spend $500 on a bicycle they don't want it to be stolen. However, bicycle security has become a threat here in the past few days. The New York Times, Boston Globe, CNN, as well as ABC have made reports of a security threat concerning Kryptonite bicycle locks. Here is an article from The Oregonian about the fiasco.

Kryptonite, the large bicycle-lock maker, has been regarded by many cyclists as the "Microsoft" or "Xerox" of bicycle locks. These U- locks made from steel are quite difficult to break. However, the picking these locks seem quite easy. The U-lock uses a round type key that looks similar to a key to a Coke machine. At contain many videos of how the lock can be pick by using a simple Bic pen.

I tried to unlock my Krypto. It did not work. However my lock was bought in 2000 so it maybe one of the locks that are less susceptible to the Bic technique. Kryptonite is offering a refund program for locks bough since 2002. I'm not gonna take chances. I had a bicycle stolen from me once and I don't intend on that happening again. I'm thinking of buying a lock from Squire, a lock maker from the U.K. that has been making lock for over 200 years. They seem to use a flat key design, thus would be less tamper resistant.

Theft is probably the most common crime on UA campus. This concern could effect many students. Kryptonite also offers a $3,000 theft insurance. If your bicycle is stolen while locked with a Kryptonite u-lock, then they will give you the cash value of your bicycle up to $3,000. This could be a disaster for Kryptonite if the claims start rolling in. Word has spread very rapidly throughout the cyclist community through online forums and newsgroups.

An official statement from Kryptonite can be found on their website. Also, Kryptonite seems to be doing the right thing. They have a replacement program for those with defective locks. Information can be found here:

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