Half of all motorcycle and scooter theft in the UK is in London with rampant thefts increasing almost 50% in the past five years.
Brazen thieves are swiping bikes at an alarming rate and using them to perform hold-ups, and purse and mobile phone snatches.
Scooters seem to be the biggest target with London scooter thefts up an alarming 620%.
The result is that some insurance companies are simply refusing to insure two-wheelers.
The rampant theft rate has prompted rider protests asking for Greater London to install more ground anchor points for riders to chain their bikes.
But it seems many riders are not even bothering to chain or secure their bike, or even insure it.
That’s because train fares into the capital are so expensive, it is much cheaper to buy a bargain bike or scooter and risk it being stolen.
Some city councils are now fighting back.
Westminster City Council has reduced rampant motorcycle and scooter theft by offering riders £50 security tags.
The tagging involves applying a combination of highly visible and hidden security markers, which deter thieves but also help the police recover vehicles if they are stolen. The process takes about 25 minutes.
Warning signs have also been erected at motorcycle parking areas to let thieves know that bikes have security tags.
Police have also been running information campaigns to advise riders on how they can secure their bikes.
Here’s how you can 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.
- Use DataDot, DNA+ or a security tag to identify your bike.
- 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 relay your bike’s speed, location and direction.