Unfortunately it is a necessary evil that we must consider and plan for bike theft. Nearly 300,000 bikes are stolen in the UK alone each year but implementing these tips will help reduce your risk of being the unlucky victim.
Preventing your bike from theft is of great importance, but it’s also a really good idea to make sure you have a plan in place in case the worst does happen. Check out our tips below for keeping your bike safe and secure with preventing and post theft plans.
Bike Theft Prevention
The BikeRegister is a police approved registration scheme. Register your bike online, mark the bike with the security kit to reduce the risk of theft by warning thieves that you use the BikeRegister.
Make sure to take any removable items with you including anything left in your basket, items on your pannier rack and your helmet as well. These items could attract onlookers to your bike and they may leave with more than just your helmet.
It is important to make sure your bike is locked in a secure location. Where possible identify somewhere to park your bike near CCTV. Instead of parking on the highstreet with lots of visitors, you could park a little further away around a quieter corner and walk the extra distance to your destination. Check the local vicinity for broken locks, stripped bikes or tampered racks and avoid leaving or even locking your bike here.
Avoid showing off
Social media can be great for connecting with like minded people and sharing your stories and experiences but it can all be a search engine for thieves. If you use hashtags with your posts (#bikeride) you are directing people to your profile and this could be a candy shop for thieves. To avoid this you could consider keeping your profile private or being less obvious with sharing expensive items.
The general rule of thumb is that you should invest in a lock that costs 10% of the value of your bike. To be extra safe you could consider purchasing two for extra security. Make sure the lock/chain is passing through your bike frame and both wheels, this will make it most secure.
Post Bike theft
Call 101 and report your bike as stolen. UK police departments use BikeRegister (mentioned above) and other methods to help locate your bike including CCTV, witnesses, GPS, flyers and the community.
Did you know many home contents insurance policies don’t cover you for items kept in your shed or garage? Make sure to check whether your bike is covered and if not you can get bike specific insurance that will allow you to make a claim.
Check local ads
Thieves are unlikely to be stealing your bike for their own personal use, it is more common that they will be taking it to sell on. Chances are they will want a quick sale to avoid the heat of police, so you need to act fast too. Search GumTree, Facebook Marketplace and other similar sites and try to identify your bike. If you think you have found your bike, let the police know and they may be able to help you retrieve it.
Share on social media
In contrast to the above point about showing off, sharing your stolen bike on social media may work in your favour. Share into local groups, with friends and expand the reach of your bike. Let people know this bike is stolen with any identifiable features. “Make it too hot to handle” is a common phrase used by theft victims on social media which essentially means, let’s share as widely as possible so that people recognise the bike, then the thief can’t advertise it as for sale without someone spotting it.
Don’t publicly share routes
Ride tracking apps like Strava could actually put your bike in danger. If you publicly share your routes, people can find out when and where you start your bike rides and from this determine your home address. If you stick to a routine and ride around the same times frequently, they will be able to figure out when your bike is at home and use this to plan their crime.
Note your bikes serial number
This can be useful for the police to help identify your bike. When they find a bunch of bikes, they’ll be able to make note that it is yours and hopefully have you reunited with it as soon as possible.
Bicycle security is an important part of being a bike owner. Unfortunately, bike theft is not uncommon but by putting these plans into play you’ll be able to greatly reduce the risk of it happening to you.