Urban Velo

Project529 Craigslist and eBay Bicycle Serial Number Petition

Posted on by in Advocacy, Social with 3 Comments

image001 Project529 is a bicycle serial number registration site and has started an online petition to ask eBay and Craigslist to require serial numbers in bicycle sale listings. It’s no surprise that bicycle and parts are fenced through online classified sales, and requiring serial numbers seems a reasonable way to help curb the lowest common denominator sellers.

Every 30 seconds, a cyclist has their bike stolen in the United States. Nearly half of college students with bicycles will lose them during their education. Bicycle theft is rampant in the United States, and it’s due in part to the ease of fencing stolen bikes through online sites.

There’s a simple solution that would help dramatically cut down on these statistics: requiring a serial number when selling bikes online. Just as VIN numbers are required to list cars for sale, requiring a serial number will deter criminals from using your sites to move stolen bikes. It additionally gives the victims of theft a chance of recovering their bikes.

We the undersigned are petitioning eBay and Craigslist to add the simple requirement of including serial numbers for bicycle listings. We believe this poses no material impact to legitimate sellers or to your business. Please help keep this vibrant category on your sites ethical and above board.

Sign up at www.project529.com


  1. KyleMay 2, 2014 at 10:46 am

    While, I do like this idea, you do not need to provide your vin number to sell your car on Craigslist. And I’m pretty sure ebay doesn’t check to see if your car is stolen as you list it.

  2. pfsMay 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Who is verifying that the serial numbers are correct? If I was selling a stolen bike I could just make one up. Or use a model number which is also stamped of many bikes.

  3. Tom from RockvilleAugust 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Responding to Kyle’s comment normally a car has a title and the title should match the vehicle identification number on the dashboard, engine and a few hidden places. If there is no title that is a pretty good hint that there may be a problem with the car. The buyer might do well to inquire as to what the problem is. Bicycles do not come with formal titles and about the only identification marking they have is the serial number.

    Responding to the comment by PFS, a made-up serial number would not correspond with the serial number on the bicycle. One might hope that the buyer would compare the posted serial number with the serial number actually on the frame. If they do not match one might hope that the buyer would decline to make the purchase and perhaps even post on the selling site (Craigslist, eBay, what have you) that this particular bicycle with this serial number is being sold.

    This extra step of including the serial number is a hassle but I think it is a small hassle and it would help decrease the amount of bike theft. Just my two cents

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