Get on yer bike…and protect it: How to prevent bike theft

Get on yer bike…and protect it: How to prevent bike theft

With the start of a new year, many of us are ready for a fresh start in terms of our fitness and health regimen. Whether you need to dust off and oil those bike chains or have a new set of wheels, cycling to work is a great way to give your day an energy boost and cut down your carbon footprint. But whilst two wheels are a great way to get you to and from work, safety is a major issue for many cyclists.Whilst bike theft has been on a steady decline since 2017, tens of thousands of bikes are stolen every year throughout the UK. Analysing data from police forces across the country, we have mapped out where in the country are least and most likely to experience bike theft.

The Worst Places in the UK for Bike Theft

While 2020 and 2021 saw a spike in bike ownership across the country, there luckily hasn’t been a similar rise in bike thefts. However, we did see a spike in thefts as restrictions were lifted reaching a peak of thefts in September of 7,318 bike thefts in that month alone. However, the biggest jump occurred in March where bike thefts increased by 49% coinciding with stay-at-home orders ending. Since that moment, bike thefts steadily rose across the country every month, before seeing a 22.5% drop in November.

Overall, there were 64,753 in 2021*. If we assume that the average adult bike costs £500, over £35 million has been lost or paid out through bike insurance. Greater London, the region with the highest levels of bike theft, £10 million worth of bikes have been stolen in 2021, 28% of the country’s total. Contrastingly, Northern Ireland is the safest region in the country to leave bikes outside with just over 3 bikes per 10,000 residents stolen.

How to keep your bike safe

Your bike is a prized possession. It’s not only a vehicle to get you around but it’s your license to freedom and the fresh air. So losing it while out on a nice ride and a pop to the shop or while you’re hard at work, can be very upsetting. However, with a bit of extra savvy, you can help make sure that your bike is as safe as possible. Here are some of our favourite tips to give you peace of mind.

1. Keep it nice, lock it twice
Locking it securely is a no-brainer, but double locking it helps slow thieves down and makes it harder to take. Make sure that both locks are different so that they’re not both undone by the same tool. When you get a bike through Electric Bike Access, you can also get an array of locks and other accessories through the scheme, ensuring that you have everything you need before your commute.
2. Take a piece with you
If there’s any part of your bike that’s easily removed (e.g. saddle, lights, a wheel), take it with you. It makes it less appealing to a thief to take a partial bike. You may also want to consider adding locking skewers or nuts to the bike just for that added security, making it difficult for thieves to take parts themselves.
3. Insure your wheels
If you have your bike insured through your home insurance, you’re probably underinsured as it only keeps you protected if your bike is taken from your property. So a quick nip to the shops or your daily cycle to work are put at risk without insurance. Luckily, unique bicycle insurance exists. Just make sure that it includes all the cover you need, including bike theft and personal injury--it doesn’t hurt to be extra safe!
4. Register your bike
Similar to insuring your bike, you can register your bike. Cycle databases like BikeRegister allow you to register your bike based on the frame number (found underneath your bike between the pedals or where the back wheel slots on). This makes it easier for police to track your bike in the event it does get stolen.
5. Safety starts at home
Keeping your bike safe at home is just as important as keeping it safe on the street. Make sure you always leave your bike secure and make it unclear when you’re out or in so your bike doesn’t become a target for thieves. You don’t want to get caught out for slight slip-ups.

Cycling to work is a great way to get your endorphins up as well as saving you from shelling out at the petrol station (with the added benefit of gliding past those snarled up in traffic). You don’t want that freedom to get ruined by bike thieves, so make sure to take those extra precautions next time you’re in the office or popping to the shops. If you want to learn more about our cycle to work scheme, get in touch with our team today for more details to get your new year off on the right wheel
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