Winter Cycling: How to Protect your Bike from Theft12 Jan 2021
Cycling during the wet and windy winter months can be a challenge - but that doesn’t mean your bike needs to go back in the shed just yet.
It has been reported that 1.3 million Brits bought a bike during the first national lockdown, as people took advantage of cycling as one of the permitted exercise methods encouraged by the UK government during the coronavirus pandemic. Government data detailing the change in transport use over the lockdown period has shown cycling levels rose by up to 300% on some days.
However, with this rise in cycling came an almost inevitable spike in bike crime.
Figures compiled for 2020 by BikeRegister, the UK’s National Cycle Database, confirmed that there was a significant rise in bike theft reported to them in June 2020 – up a staggering 48% on 2019. And these figures continued to rise throughout the summer and into autumn and winter.
We are encouraging cyclists to register the bikes they have and/or any new bikes they buy on BikeRegister. This means you are more likely to be reunited with your bike in the event of it being stolen.
Keeping your bike safe
1. Get a decent lock
Bike thieves need to operate quickly to reduce the chance of being caught, so a decent bike lock is literally worth its weight in gold. A heavy-duty bike lock can make a thief’s job a lot more difficult, with the result being that they abandon attempts to steal your bike or move onto a bike with a less secure lock. Therefore, we suggest:
• Buy a decent lock – preferably two.
• Quality costs – expect to pay at least £40 for a lock.
• Make sure you buy a certified Sold Secure, preferably gold-rated, lock.
2. Make your Mark
Marking your bike with a unique code ensures the Police will be able to trace your bike back to you if it is stolen and recovered.
When not in lockdown, nearly all Police forces, including the Met in London, regularly run free bike marking and BikeRegister registration events all over the country. These are often advertised on local police force websites and also on their Twitter page, so we recommend you follow these to find out when your next event is taking place. You can also contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.
You can also purchase a kit to mark your bike yourself at home. If you do this, you need to:
• Use a Police preferred BikeRegister marking kit, making sure to place the warning sticker in a visible location.
• Make sure you register your bike on BikeRegister where you can download your registration logbook to prove ownership.
3. Insure It
The average cost of bicycle insurance is around £50 for a bike worth £1,000 in the UK (Nimblefins personal finance website: Average Cost of Bicycle Insurance UK 2021). However, a bike can be worth as much as an expensive item of jewellery, an antique or a painting so make sure you are well covered by insurance in case of theft. Check whether your home contents insurance covers your bike and make sure it also covers you for thefts outside the home too. If your bicycle is particularly valuable you may need to insure it separately, using a specialist cycle insurer, such as Bikmo.
4. Out and About
Bike thieves are not too picky about when or where they steal a bike from so below are some general security tips for when you’re out and about.
• Park your bike in a well-lit area, preferably in a designated parking area, where it can be easily seen by passers-by.
• Lock both wheels and the frame of your bike to a cycle stand or another immoveable object. Using two locks, make sure they go through the bike frame as-well as both wheels and the post you are securing it to - otherwise, a thief may steal the bike and leave the wheels behind. If you have secured your bike to a post, make sure it is not possible for the bike to be lifted over the top.
• Ensure your lock does not touch the ground, otherwise it is easy for a thief to sledgehammer it off.
• Take any removable items with you such as lights, saddle, and basket.
• Don’t park in the same place every day. If bike thieves are stealing to order, they are more likely to target you if they know where you will be.
5. At Home
More than half of bikes are stolen from home. Reduce the chances of this happening by:
• Storing your bike in a securely locked shed or garage, or preferably in your house. Think about getting an alarm for your shed or garage, you can pick up a wireless battery operated alarm for under £20.
• Secure with a lock to an immovable object such as a hanger or rack.
• Keep it out of view from passers-by.
• Secure it to an immovable object.
Just because the nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping, it does not mean you have to miss out on all the benefits cycling can offer. Hopefully, these hints and tips will help keep you, and your bike, safe and secure.
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