Skip to content

Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Urban Planet: No key? No problem with the BitLock bike lock

Read more articles by


A new bike lock lets cyclists use their smartphones as keys.

BitLock, a prototype from Mesh Motion Inc., uses a proximity sensor to detect its owner’s presence, automatically unlocking when their smartphone is less than three feet away (it locks when its owner’s smartphone is more than three feet away).

Users can also manually lock and unlock the device through BitLock’s app, which includes GPS and route mapping as well. The app even tells riders how many C02 emissions were saved and how many calories were burned throughout the course of a trip.

But perhaps more novel than those features is the device’s potential to inspire guerrilla bike-sharing networks.

Since it’s possible to create multiple user profiles and groups on the lock’s app, cyclists can share their ride with friends easily. An approved user can just open the BitLock app on their smartphone to find available bicycles in the area.

The cut-resistant, waterproof steel lock’s encryption, which is the same that online banking systems use, should put to rest any concerns of hacking.

Currently, Mesh Motion Inc. is trying to fund the BitLock project through a Kickstarter campaign.

Photo courtesy Mesh Motion Inc.

Urban Planet is a roundup of blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

For more stories from around the planet, check out Spacing on Facebook and Twitter. Do you have an Urban Planet worthy article you’d like to share? Send the link to



  1. what happens when the lock runs out of batteries powering the unlock mechanism?

  2. db,

    I read that the battery lasts for five years, and when it is running low on power, the device sends a notification to your smartphone.