A reformed bike thief from London, which has experienced a 44% increase in theft in the past two years, says a basic owner mistake is not chaining their bike to something solid.
“When I was stealing bikes, the first step I would take would be to find one that wasn’t chained to anything sturdy, so in order to prevent theft I would definitely recommend locking up your bike to something solid,” he says.
The riders in the above photo are securing their bikes with locks at the front and back and locking them together, but haven’t secured the bikes to a fixture.
The lack of secure parking areas and solid objects to anchor bikes sparked a London peaceful protest rally on November 6 from the Ace Cafe to 10 Downing Street where a petition was handed over.
Apart from government assistance in reducing motorcycle theft, riders can also take steps to secure their bike.
The reformed bike thief who wished to remain anonymous recommends riders also use a forensic coding system or visible markers on their bike.
One such product is DNA+ provided free to motorcycle insurance policy holders by Carole Nash insurance company. It leaves an invisible unique mark on the bike.
If the bike is stolen, police are able to identify and return it to the owner.
“Boredom was one of the main reasons I started stealing bikes as a teenager, but of course it was also largely down to the amount of money I was able to receive by selling the parts,” the reformed bike thief says.
“Forensic marking, such as Carole Nash’s DNA+ product, would have definitely deterred me from stealing a bike as there would have been a much greater risk of the police identifying the stolen bike and subsequently for me to have been caught and arrested.”
Motorbike insurance data from Carole Nash has found that bike thefts in the UK cost the industry £105 million per year, with Greater London, Brighton and Southampton coming out as the UK hot spots for motorcycle theft.
In Australia, motorcycle theft has risen 3% to 8261 in the past year and 4.9% in the past five years.
However, there has been a “frightening” rise in motorcycle thefts in Victoria of 19.3% in the past year and 31.7% in the past five years, according to National Theft Reduction Council.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BIKE FROM A THIEF
- Buy a high-quality (expensive) secure chain so you can chain your bike to an immovable object like a lamp post or something that is secured to the ground.
- Don’t secure the chain to a wheel as it can be removed. Secure it to the frame. If you have to, choose the rear wheel which takes longer to remove.
- Don’t leave the chain loose or it is vulnerable to being frozen and smashed with a sledgehammer. Lock it with a high-quality lock.
- Use a high-quality disc lock with a reminder cord attached to your handlebars so you don’t ride off with it still in place.
- Also, use the steering lock if your bike has one.
- Even when parked in a secure location such as your garage or behind a locked gate, consider the extra security of using the steering lock, a disc lock or chain as well.
- Pull out a spark plug or fuse, or have an immobiliser fitted.
- Remove the clutch lever. It’s easy to do and it can’t be ridden without it.
- Don’t park your bike in railway or shopping centre carparks as these are notorious for theft.
- Park in a locked carpark. If you have to park in the open, leave it where you can see your bike or in view of a security camera and/or under a light.
- Otherwise, keep your bike out of sight, maybe parking it behind your car. If parking in a garage, block the bike with your car and ensure the garage is locked.
- When riding home, make sure you are not being followed.
- Stay alert for suspicious vans or trucks driving around late at night. These are used to transport stolen motorcycles.
- Put a cover over your bike. It might slow down thieves and prevent theft of accessories. But make sure it isn’t a flashy lone with the brand name of the bike on it. That only entices thieves.
- When riding in a group, park your bikes together.
- Consider marking your bike in a unique way that could aid in recovery and therefore dissuade thieves.
- At hotels or public parking spaces, try to park in view of parking lot security cameras and lights. If you park it outside at home, install a security camera. Even a “dummy” one may deter thieves.
- If you park your motorcycle outside your house, consider installing a motion sensor light near the bike.
- Install a motorcycle alarm and/or a hidden kill switch.
- Buy a GPS tracking system that can track and deliver your bike’s speed, location, and direction.