Company hopes to eventually have details of every bike in the UK

A new online bicycle registration service has been launched in the UK that harnesses tagging technology to scan and report stolen bikes that have been marked with an anti-theft tag, using smartphones such as the Apple iPhone.

The Bike Revolution website allows cyclists to register their bikes with the service and obtain the Pulse ID tag and smartphone app that sit at the heart of the system. The app allows you to scan bikes and the tag will reveal whether they have been stolen.

The service, which is free to use, has been developed by security company Bike Revolution, which has ambitious plans to eventually register every bicycle in the UK under the scheme, which allows users to check the status of suspect bikes by and, if appropriate, report it.

Should the worst happen, it also enables users to quickly flag their bikes as stolen, and alerts are then sent to what Bike Revolution describes as “the growing army of bike detectives” who follow it on social networks Facebook and Twitter. Alerts are also sent to bike shops, the police, cycling clubs and school security offices.

The company, which has been set up on a non-profit basis, aims to have half the bikes in the UK registered by 2012 and 90% by 2015, and says that a high level of adoption of the scheme would in itself help combat bike theft, since security tagged bikes are more difficult than unmarked ones for thieves to dispose of.

It says its tags, currently available through its website at a discounted price of £7.95, are tamper-proof and link the bike with its owner on a secure database.

The scheme follows similar initiatives in the United States and in Norway, where a paid-for programme is said to have resulted in a 50% reduction in bike theft since it started.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.