Hopefully you never have to go through the stress and pain of realising your beloved bicycle has been stolen, but sadly it happens and prevention is the best form of protection…
Did you know…?
- About half of all active cyclists have their bikes stolen. [Source]
- Only 36% of riders report a theft and only 8.5% of those had their bikes registered. [Source]
- Everyday riders are 90% more likely to have their bike stolen. [Source]
Frighteningly, you can discover just how likely a bike theft is in your area by visiting: http://stats.stolen-bikes.co.uk/ and typing in your UK postcode.
When you purchase your bike
Before you push that pedal, do four things:
- Insurance: Extend your home contents insurance or take out another policy. Visit cycle shops and clubs to learn about your insurance options and get advice on the best policy for you.
- Record and register your bicycle: Register your bicycle in case the worst happens, this is recording the bicycle model, make and frame number. Contact your local police station for advice on this.
- Photographic evidence: Take a colour photo of your bike and make a written record of its description, so you have a clear description AND visual evidence of the bike, should it be stolen.
- Security mark the bike: There are many options for this, including lots of free events run across the country to get this done for free. If you want to do it yourself, buy a security marker and mark the frame and elsewhere on the bike. Contact local police or bike clubs / shops for further information.
If the worst happens and your bike is stolen – do one thing and one thing only: REPORT IT. For UK victims, the emergency number is 999, non-emergency calls are taken on 101 and Crimestoppers can be contacted at 0800 555 111.
Keeping it safe
Employing common sense is a great deterrent for would-be thieves, particularly with the way you store your vehicle.
- Safe storage – Keep in a locked garage or shed, consider extra protection and secure it to a floor or anchor for extra reassurance.
- Avoid leaving your bicycle in poorly-lit or isolated places – bicycles under street lamps are less likely to be stolen.
- Park it safely – don’t cause a hazard to other people and always allow spaces for prams, wheelchairs, other vehicles and pedestrians when parking your bike. Never leave it in the way of emergency exits!
- Rotate where you park – Don’t always be in a certain place at a certain time. Thieves will watch and notice this, knowing when best to make their attempt at theft.
- Be careful with the way you use your lock and chain – Don’t have the lock resting on the ground (easier to smash); never leave much space for manoeuvring the lock (keep the chain and lock tight); face locks towards the ground (otherwise it’s easier to pick).
When it comes to security marking your bike, use etching, engraving, ceramic marking or other methods. A top tip is to use your postcode and house number, i.e.
A bike being kept at 60-64 The Strand, Covent Garden, London WC2N 5LR, becomes: WC2N 5LR 60.
There are many ways to report a bike missing – or one that has been found – including going to your local police station. There are also up and coming lost and found services, such as Lostbox [http://www.lostbox.co.uk], who provide regional lost and found online communities.
If you want to know more about keeping your bicycle secure or what to do in the event of a theft, tweet us at @UKBikeBus.