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WashU Now Offers Free Bike Registration through Project 529

Recognized a Silver-level Bike Friendly University in 2017, WashU supports bicyclists and seeks to expand the use of bicycles among its community. One way WashU has recently reinforced its commitment to supporting bicycling is by rolling out a new bike registration program, through the 529 Garage, the industry’s first mobile-based bicycle registration system designed for college campuses.

“Bike theft continues to be a problem on all college campuses including here at Washington University,” reports Captain Dave Goodwin, Patrol Operations Bureau Commander with WUPD. “Registering your bike discourages theft and aids in identification should your bike be stolen.”

Bike registration consists of documenting and recording important information about a bike, including its serial number and ownership, in order to facilitate its recovery if it’s lost or stolen. Upon completion of the registration form, the bike owner receives a registration decal – also known as shield – that must be affixed to the bicycle frame in a visible manner. 

The 529 Shield (pictured above) serves as a theft deterrent, as it puts would-be thieves on alert that the bike is in the system and also allows campus (and off-campus) police to contact the owner should they recover a stolen bicycle or if a bike is improperly parked or locked.

The new registration system will assist the WashU Police Department and neighboring police jurisdictions investigate bike theft that are reported to them. When a victim reports a theft from their phone, details and photographs of the missing bike and its last seen location are immediately shared with other 529 Garage members in the area who can respond with tips to the owner right from their smartphones. This allows the cycling community to be on the lookout for recently stolen bikes and support each other if they spot suspicious activity.

On the WashU standpoint, bike registration facilitates enforcement of bike parking rules, as well as provides a mean to easily communicate and educate the campus biking community. A truly win-win system!

How to Register Your Bike Through WashU's Project 529?

Every WashU-affiliated faculty, staff and student using a bike on the Danforth campus is eligible to receive free bike registration through Parking & Transportation.

STEP 1: Fill out the registration form at project529.com/washu

  • Provide your contact information, as well as information about the bike you are registering.
  • Your bike’s serial number is the only thing that makes your bike unique. It’s critical that you find it and input it correctly! Click the help button if you need assistance in finding it.
  • You don’t need to fill the “529 Shield” field. WashU will do so upon attribution of a Project 529 shield.
  • Make sure to “Select a Shield Pick-Up Location”. You can chose to receive your shield via campus mail if you have a Campus Box or a MSC box. If not, select from the few pick-up options listed.

STEP 2: Get your shield and attach it to your bike frame

  • You will either receive your shield via campus mail or have to pick it up from a designated location, based on what your choice in the registration form.
  • 529 Shields which are tamper-resistant stickers with unique IDs. You must attach it in a very visible place on your frame. One shouldn’t need to flip your bike or bend over to find the registration sticker.
  • Your bike is now officially registered! You can always download the Garage 529 app to upload more information about your bike (photos, etc) and receive notifications when someone reports a stolen bike in the area.

The 529 Garage Android and iPhone application is free for all cyclists to download and register their bicycles and to join the active recovery network. The service and 529 Shields are completely free to all WashU students, faculty, and staff. Cyclists not affiliated with WashU can purchase the 529 Shields and other 529 products from participating bike shops and Amazon.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

If my bike was already registered through WUPD, do I need to re-register through Project 529?

Bikes that have been registered previously through WUPD are still registered, but the university is encouraging all riders to begin to adopt the new, free system to take advantage of the app and online services. All new registrations, including for incoming students in fall 2019, will use 529 Garage.

Am I registered once I fill the online registration form?

Not yet. For registration to be valid, you must show proof of registration by permanently attaching the provided registration sticker to the bike in a visible manner. If the sticker is not clearly visible, the bike is not considered officially registered with the University.

Can I register multiple bikes? 

Yes. If you own and operate multiple bikes on campus, all must be independently registered with the University.

What if I sell my bike, or if the bike I bought is already registered?

If ownership of a registered bike changes, the information must be updated in the Project 529 registration system to reflect the proper owner.