Theft Prevention Tips for Bicycle Owners
Bicycle theft is uncommonly high but can be minimized by taking the right steps to protect the bike both at home and when left unattended in a public place.
Cycling is a great form of exercise and is actively encouraged in many countries as an eco-friendly method of transport. With bike sales subsequently on the increase, bicycle security is a major issue as seen in the British Crime Survey for 2005/2006, which reported 439,000 stolen bicycles in the United Kingdom. That equates to over 1200 bikes stolen every day.
Key Steps for Bicycle Theft Prevention
- Take out adequate bicycle insurance as soon as the bike is purchased. If not, it will likely be forgotten. Either add the bike onto home contents insurance or take out a separate bike insurance policy.
- Register the bike model, make, and frame number, which will help police in the event of a theft. Also, photograph the bike in color and make a note of any unique features such as scratches or distinctive paintwork.
- Security mark the bicycle in two different places on the frame and place a sticker or tamper-resistant label advertising the security tagging system. Ensure that one of the tags is not clearly visible to prevent a thief from trying to erase the security mark.
Bicycle Security at Home
US Crime Survey reported that over half of all bike thefts take place from the home.
- Keep the bike locked out of sight in a garage or shed.
- Secure the bike with a lock to a fixed heavy object for additional safety.
- Keep the bike out of view of any windows or part-glass doors.
Cycle Security Out and About
Many people commute to work or school by bike and have to leave their bikes attended when not in use. A few simple steps can help to minimize risk.
- Always use a bicycle lock when not in use, even if unattended for just a few minutes. Ensure the lock is placed through the frame and the wheels.
- Leave the bike in a well-lit open space where any thief may be noticed.
- Use a dedicated bike park if available or secure to an immovable object like a lamppost or railing.
- Expensive bikes are often stolen to order so aim to leave the bike in different locations to prevent being spotted. In addition, consider using an electronic tagging device as an added deterrent to potential thieves.
- Remove any small, easily stolen accessories like cycle computers, and also any part as a quick release saddle and even clipless pedals which would make the bike difficult to ride.
Additional Tips to Prevent a Stolen Bike
- When traveling by car with a bike rack, take care not to leave the bike unattended especially in busy car parks or motorway service stations. The same applies to a bike in the rear of an estate car.
- The best bike locks can be expensive but the budget in line with the cost of the bike. A quality steel D-shaped lock, for example, is worth the price if being used on an expensive bike.
- Apartment owners should take care not to leave bikes in apartment block stairwells due to lack of interior space. If they have to be left, invest in a quality lock, and secure to a fixed object as above.
What to Do if a Bike is Stolen
Inform the police immediately and give all relevant registration details plus a photograph if available. Ensure you receive a crime reference number to both track any progress on the theft and to inform your insurance company.
By taking adequate insurance and using some simple bicycle theft prevention techniques, a stolen bike need not be a worry for bicycle owners.