Here at Softek Software we make no secret of being a company obsessed with cycling. On a quiet friday afternoon it is not uncommon for the workers to sneek out for a quick ride. Therefore when I found this website which claimed to protect your bike via barcode technology I was obviously intrigued. The basic concept is that you register your bike with the company and in return receive a QR code which links to their database; using this database the ‘status’ of the bike can be ascertained (that is whether it is stolen or not).
Although the company claims that the sticker with the QR code is tamper-resistant it is hard to see how it would be possible to simply stop it’s removal. More to the point would anyone with a nice bike want a sticker which they cannot remove? I certainly wouldn’t. In addition without widespread knowledge and use of this service, with it not be a universally expected part of purchasing a second hand bike, it seems hard for it to have any effect. Although it sends messages to local cycling groups if a bike is reported stolen it still sounds like searching for a needle in a haystack.
However despite all this negative talking I do like the idea. It is an inventive use of the new technology and shows how much part of everyday life QR codes have become, the public at large are used to seeing them and (without sounding like ‘1984’) have become conditioned to scan them to find out more information. Furthermore although a project like this would work far more effectively on a much larger scale, where bike history when purchasing as with second hand cars, that is no reason to not start it; someone has to! Especially with bicycle use growing it is important that such ideas grow with bicycle usage, allowing the same securities to bike owners as are afforded to car owners.
So personally I would be reluctant to slap one of these stickers on my bike but like the idea, would anyone else consider using them?