What is it about?

Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly major cities in the world. Still, every year more than 80,000 bicycles are stolen in the city. Where do stolen bikes go? We tracked 100 bikes unveil the mystery of stolen bikes.

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Why is it important?

Cities are implementing several programs to increase cycling. Bicycles are good for your health, and for the environment. But when thousands of bikes are stolen, cyclists think twice whether they should buy a bicycle. This is the case of Amsterdam, one of the most bike-friendly city in the world, but which is plagued by bike theft, with more than 80,000 stolen every year. We deployed 100 bikes with trackers. After 5 months, 70 bikes were stolen. We followed them to find what happens with stolen bikes. The research sheds lights in a well-known but not well-understood problem affecting cities all over the world.


Using simple technologies, such as tracking system, the MIT Senseable City Lab has been unveiling what happens with our trash, our electronics, and now, with bicycles. This might help cities to address a problem that hinders more environmentally-friendly mobility.

Fabio Duarte
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Tracking stolen bikes in Amsterdam, PLoS ONE, February 2023, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0279906.
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