In general, it's a good idea to record the serial number of your bicycle and keep it with the sales receipt and a photograph of the bike. Your serial number can usually be found on the bottom bracket under the crankshaft of your bike. Also, engraving your name and phone number or other information into your bike will be a good deterrent. And always lock your bike, making sure to get the frame and wheels locked to the bike rack or whatever you find to lock it up.
On a national level, you can register your bicycle with the National Bike Registry. This is good for folks in Columbus, Worthington, and other communities that do not have a bike registration program. The Franklin County Sheriff's office is listed on their website as one of the agencies working with the NBR.
Bexley: Bexley residents may obtain a Bexley Bicycle License at the Bexley Police Department Headquarters located behind City Hall. The fee is $1.00. You must bring the bike with you so the Police Department can obtain the make, model, color, and serial number.
Columbus: Columbus does not have a bicycle registration program.
Delaware: From the Delaware web site:
The police department encourages community residents to register the bicycles with the Division of Police. Should a bicycle be lost or stolen, the police than have a means to identify the owner of the bicycle and return the bicycle once it is recovered.Dublin: Call the Dublin Police Community Relations Coordinator at 614-410-4800 for more information.
Registration of the bike can be done by downloading the form here or by obtaining a registration form at the Police Department. There is a $2 fee to register your bicycle which is valid for three years. The form should include a complete description of the bike, including make, model, serial number, tire size, colors, and any special markings or equipment, and whether it is a boys or girls. The registration form also requests the owners name, birth date, address, and telephone number. A registration sticker will be issued for each bicycle registered.
Gahanna: Check out this website where many municipalities' codes are stored and displayed for the public. For the whole picture, I recommend you do a search for "bicycle registration" at the top under "Quick Search." I'll sum up here, as Gahanna seems pretty strict about things: you apparently HAVE to have a license to operate a bike in Gahanna. Licenses are only a buck, and you can pick them up at the Police station after filling out a form there.
Also, the Gahanna Police are listed as one of the agencies working with the National Bike Registry.
Hilliard: Registration is done in person at the Hilliard Police Department and is free of charge to Hilliard school district residents. Residents should present a complete description of the bicycle including the make, model, serial number, tire size, colors, any special markings or equipment, and whether it is a boy or girl’s bike. The registration form also requests the owner’s name, birthday, address and telephone number. A registration sticker will be issued for each bicycle registered.
Obetz: No information available online. I have contacted the Obetz police for information and will update this as soon as possible! Also, the Obetz Police are listed as one of the agencies working with the National Bike Registry.
Ohio State University: OSU Transportation and Parking offers an online registration process.
Pickerington: Pickerington residents can apply for their bicycle licenses at the Police Station. Commander Ralph Portier of the Pickerington Police was kind enough to share the registration form with me so that you can fill it out in advance of you going to the station!
Reynoldsburg: Reynoldsburg City Ordinance requires bicycles to be licensed. Licenses are 50 cents each and are good for as long as the person owns the bicycle. The license should be displayed on the frame of the bicycle. Licenses can be purchased at the Reynoldsburg Public Safety Building located at 7240 E. Main Street, Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Click here for mapquest directions.
Upper Arlington: Bike licenses in UA can be obtained from the Finance department at a cost of $1.00. The license is issued at the time the registration is filled out. The address and phone number for the Finance Department of Upper Arlington is 3600 Tremont Road, Upper Arlington, OH 43221, 614-583-5280.
Westerville: No information available. I have contacted the City of Westerville for information and will update this as soon as possible!
Worthington: Worthington does not have a bicycle registration program.