Did you know that more than 100,000 bikes were reported stolen in the UK between April 2018 and April 2019? And those are just the cases that were actually reported. In fact, in one study, the Police estimated that one in 50 bike-owning households would likely be the victim of a bicycle theft in a year. So just what can be done to combat the problem? Well, if you keep the below pointers in mind, you’ll be a lot more likely to hold on to your two-wheeled pride and joy…
1. Park it securely
It might sound really obvious, but leaving your bike out in the open – even locked against a fence or lamppost, for example – is a risk when it comes to opportunist thieves. Ideally, you should store your bike in a locked bike shed, or a covered bike shelter that’s supported by CCTV. Alternatively, lock your bike against a secure object in a well-lit area, and avoid very isolated or extremely busy places.
2. Invest in a quality lock
From chains to D-locks, there’s a huge selection of bike locks to choose from, and it can be daunting to know which one to go for. While it may be tempting to opt for a cheaper version, you should invest in a decent lock – it’ll be well worth it for the added peace of mind. Look out for the Sold Secure logo when you’re browsing for one. This organisation gives a stamp of approval to quality, secure locks. There are Bronze, Silver and Gold tier accreditations, depending on the value of your bike. A good tip is to pay out as much as you can afford.
3. Add your bike to your home contents insurance
You don’t need insurance to cycle in the same way you would to drive a car. However, it’s important to cover your bike in case the worst happens. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your bike is automatically covered under your home contents insurance. You may need to do an add-on, and some insurance companies will want a particular level of Sold Secure lock to cover you, so be sure to check.
4. Take a piece of your bike with you!
Go one step further than just locking your bike up, and remove a piece of it to take with you. After all, thieves are less likely to steal a bike without a wheel! Naturally, you’ll want to go for an item that’s quick and easy to take on and off, such as a seat-post or the lights.
5. Prepare for the worst
All bikes have their own individual serial number, which you should register on sites like BikeRegister as soon as possible. By doing so, if the worst happens and your bike is stolen, you’ve got proof it belongs to you. Make sure you know as much as possible about your bike’s characteristics, too, including any identifying stickers or marks. It’s best to snap photos so the bike can be tracked down more easily if it’s taken.