A “frightening” rise in motorcycle thefts in Victoria in the past few years has offset decreases across the nation, according to National Theft Reduction Council executive director Ray Carroll.
In the past financial year, motorcycle theft across the nation has risen 3% to 8261 and is 4.9% in the past five years.
Victorian motorcycle theft is up 19.3% in the past year and 31.7% in the past five years, while NSW is down 6.7% last year and 12.6% over five years.
Ray says Victoria’s “frightening” rise is attributable to a crime wave across the state.
“There has been this rapid escalation of crime of all sorts in Victoria, particularly juvenile, and police are struggling to get on top of it,” he says.
“In some respects in the last 12 months it has been related to the introduction of a police no-pursuit policy after some bad incidences of high-speed chases up to 200km/h on the wrong side of the road.”
Ray says there has also been an “unprecedented level of violence in vehicle theft” including carjackings and home invasions to steal vehicle keys.
Meanwhile, he says NSW police and the judicial system seem to be “on top of it”.
“A senior NSW police officer told me they are in the happy position where, if they get a breakout of crime in an area, they can jump on it so quickly they can nip it in the bud.”
The rise in motorcycle thefts is disappointing since the thefts in previous year were down by 242 to 8078 which was the lowest for the previous four financial years.
The most popular brands of motorcycle stolen were also the most popular bikes on the road, with Honda topping the list and followed by other Japanese brands, then KTM as low-capacity dirt bikes are among the most stolen motorcycles. Scooter brands also rate highly as they are easily stolen.
South East Queensland is the most prolific part of Australia for stolen bikes, followed by Perth and Melbourne.
Most motorcycles were stolen between Friday afternoon and Monday morning and two out of three taken from the owner’s home.
Profit-motivated theft by professional gang and criminals has also experienced a rise, especially in Melbourne, Tasmania, the ACT and SEQ.
There is the recent story of a Melbourne rider having his 2015 Ducati 899 Panigale stolen in a crafty scam after the owner advertised his bike online with Gumtree.
The prospective rider arrived in a car and asked for a test ride, claiming he’d accidentally left his licence at home. The owner spoke with the man’s “father” over the phone to verify, so he handed over the keys and allowed him to ride off, nullifying his theft insurance.
The thief then phoned explaining he had been pulled over by police and asked if the owner could come and explain to the police that he was test-riding his bike. When the owner arrived at the specified location, the rider wasn’t there and when he returned home, the thief’s car had gone.
Ray confirms there has been a rash of stolen bikes in Victoria from thieves who contact sellers and get their address on the pretence of coming to inspect the motorcycle. The thieves usually roll up at night and steal the motorcycle, he says.
In South East Queensland, a man has been posing as a prospective buyer and simply riding off on test bikes, leaving behind a fake licence.
Motorcycle thefts 2010/11 to 2014/15
State or Territory
% of thefts
% of thefts
Most stolen brands 2014/15
Theft hot spots 2014/15 vs 2010/11
State or Territory
Gold Coast (City)
Moreton Bay (Regional Council)
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BIKE
Buy a secure chain so you can chain your bike to an immovable object like a lamp post.
Use a secure 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.
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 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.