Ever had your bike stolen? The chances are, if you haven’t had a bike stolen yourself, you'll know someone that has. According to crime data, 376,000 bicycles are stolen every year in the UK. This works out at about one bike stolen every 90 seconds. So count yourself lucky if you haven’t fallen victim to bike theft as of yet. To illustrate the scale of the problem, here are the key UK cycle crime statistics compiled by national cycle database BikeRegister.
According to BikeRegister, which has 485,589 bikes currently registered, London, Edinburgh and Oxford are the most targeted cities in the UK for bike theft. This is not too surprising, seeing as all three are densely populated areas for cycling. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that within these cities, there are massively differing rates of thefts in different postcodes. Intriguingly, the SE1 postcode has had over twice as many thefts as SE16 nearby.
When it comes to the top ten most stolen bikes, it’s not a huge shock to see Specialized taking the top two spots, and impressively, seven of the top ten! This will be due to the vast popularity of the Specialized brand over the years and the fact that there are most probably more of them out and about than other brands. The top prize, or the poisoned challis (depending on which way you look at it!) of the most stolen bike in the UK goes to the Specialized Sirrus. Again, that's down to the sheer volume of these affordable bikes that are out there.
Cycleplan managing director John Woosey has had his say on bicycle thefts: “More than half of all cycle thefts in the UK occur in and around the victim’s home, most notably from gardens, passageways between houses and outbuildings such as sheds and garages. Despite this, only 5% of home contents insurance policies cover bikes outside of the home as standard.”
Mistakenly, many UK cyclists assume their bikes are protected under household contents insurance, and it’s only when they make a claim that they discover there are limitations to this. To avoid these shortcomings and to ride with complete peace of mind, it makes perfect sense to take out specialist cycling insurance.
What about those of us who have to lock up our bikes? Is there any hope? Here's some sage advice on how best to do so.
1. Buy the best approved bike lock money can buy
Why spend thousands of pounds on a new bike and not take the proper precautions to safely secure it?
Remember, you get what you pay for when it comes to locks. A cheap-looking lock will offer little security and be an easy target for a bike thief. All lock manufacturers have their own protection rating, and these protection ratings are a reasonable indicator of strength. In most cases, the better the lock, the more expensive it will be.
What you must realise is that bike insurance policies won’t pay out on your stolen bike if you use anything less than an approved locking device. In the unfortunate event that your bicycle is stolen it is generally a requirement of the cycling insurance policy that it was secured using the appropriate “Sold Secure” lock. Check your policy for details.
2. Be careful where you leave your bike
Don’t leave your bike in an isolated spot. Secure it in a well-lit area, where people are constantly passing. If you can, keep an eye out for CCTV and lock it close by.
3. Lock your bike to something secure
This catches so many cyclists out. Always make sure you attach your bike to something that can’t be moved, lifted or easily broken. A scaffolding pole, for example, may require a hefty chainsaw to cut through it, but it only needs a couple of tools to loosen the joint and lift the pole up altogether. Mesh fencing looks big and bold, but a pair of wire cutters would break through it within moments. Remember, your bike is only secure as what you are attaching it to.
4. Efficient locking
Lock the frame, front and back wheel to the object you have secured it to. If you only have one lock, remove the front wheel, and then lock both together with the frame. Ensure the D-lock is securely fastened. Don’t leave it hanging loosely between the bike and the object you have locked it to, as this will allow the thief more maneuverability in and around your bike, giving them enough leverage to force open the lock.
5. Two different locks are better than one
The word ‘different’ is the important factor here. Two different types of locks mean that thief will need to use two different types of tools to prise them open. While it is possible, it’s highly unlikely a thief will have a number of high-end tools with them. One D-lock and a chain lock is a worthy opponent for any bike thief.
6. Remove accessories
If you can, take all accessories with you. A bicycle is far less appealing without lights and wheels attached to it. A lot of thieves steal bikes and literally ride off on them. Remove the seat post too, and it makes it incredibly hard for a thief to take off. Remember, if you’re worried, you can get insurance cover for your cycling accessories.
7. Register your bike
It’s important you register your bike. Not only can it help deter thieves, it will also assist the police in identifying the bike and increase the chances of your bike returning home.
Several companies offer bike identification and it doesn’t cost a penny. Bikeregister.com is the UK's leading online bicycle registration initiative that is aimed at reducing bicycle theft and is used by every police force.
8. Insure it
As well as covering against theft, specialist cycling insurance also covers against vandalism and accidental damage. You can also insure for personal accident and pubic liability so you’re covered if you’re involved in an incident. Check out Cycleplan.co.uk where we offer a 20% discount for first-year customers.
UK cycle crime statistics infographic