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Riding your bike? Bring a good lock

If you ride your bicycle to catch the MBTA, make sure you bring a good lock.

If you ride your bicycle to catch the MBTA, make sure you bring a good lock.

Larcenies of bicycles from T properties reached a 12-year high in 2010, increasing by more than one-third over last year, according to T crime statistics.

Larcenies make up about 60 percent of the T’s serious crimes and increased overall by 11 percent last year.

Specifically, bike thefts went up the most.

“We’ve seen the trend for two reasons,” said Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan. “What we’re seeing is these high-value bicycles are the ones being stolen … and more and more people are using bicycles.”

MacMillan said much of what officers see is that locks have been cut or the recently installed Pedal and Park bicycle cages are full, and people leave their bikes in less secure areas.

The T said last year it planned to expand the bicycle cage program.

MacMillan said police do recover bicycles and added that Transit Police and other agencies launched a bicycle task force last year to combat the increase and keep riders informed. He encouraged people to record their bike’s serial number so it can be more easily identified.

David Watson, the president of the safe bicycling advocacy group MassBike, said the increase in the statistics might also reflect the increase in people who are using bicycles as part of their commute.

He encouraged cyclists to help themselves from theft by purchasing a high-quality “U”-shaped lock and attaching it to something stable and solid.

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