Top tips to keep your bike safe from thieves
Few things can be as inconvenient or frustrating as having a bike stolen – and it’s a crime that is reported over 360,000 times a year in the UK. That means that every 90 seconds, another bike crime is being committed.
More frustrating is when that crime happens at home; over half of these reported thefts happen when the bike is taken from the garden, shed or passageways close to the home – all places where you might assume that your property is secure, or assume that nobody would have the audacity to take something when you’re so close to hand, and think you’re watching over it.
So how can you protect your bike from theft? Most of these crimes are opportunistic – a bike that hasn’t been properly secured is an easy target. Even if you’re only leaving your bike for a couple of minutes, it’s worth taking the time to lock it securely.
Invest in a decent lock – ideally two locks, in different styles – for the best protection. Cheap locks are easily broken, so get the best you can afford – and be sure to fit the lock through the frame AND wheel – best of all, both wheels – either by using two locks, or removing the front wheel from the frame and locking both together.
A good quality D lock is harder to break than a chain lock – and if you can fill the space within the lock fully, it’s much harder for someone to manipulate and attack the mechanism.
Of course, immobilising a bike is more than just clamping the wheel to the frame – if you’ve locked your bike to something flimsy or insecure, a thief can break, lift or cut the posts or fencing and walk away with your bike. Be sure that you lock your bike to something solid, strong and secure – and avoid quiet, dark or tucked away corners; you might think ‘hiding’ your bike will keep it safe – but it means that a thief can also be hidden away from watchful eyes and carry out the theft in peace.
Instead, stick to well lit, busy, populated areas – ideally covered by CCTV if you can manage it – and rely on thieves being put off by the risk of getting caught in the act.
When you walk away, be sure that there’s nothing left on your bike which can be easily snatched away; if a thief can’t take the whole bike, they can take off with your lights, accessories, wheels, even seat – and you can avoid these frustrations by taking these tempting bits and pieces away with you.
Just as important as all these security tips is insurance – and registering your bike. There are a number of services where you can register your bike, which can prove you are the owner if a theft has occurred – and it’s important to list any bikes on your home insurance, or you’ll not only suffer the theft, but the cost of a replacement out of pocket.