With some bike prices now hitting 8-10K, unsurprisingly bike theft is also on the rise. Exactly how many bikes are stolen is hard to determine but the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012–13) reports bikes and sporting goods comprised 14.8% of property stolen.
Even more disappointing, the chances of retrieving a stolen bike is very low. And it’s a global issue. In London, bike owners have an average of 23 months before their bikes are swiped and only 4% chance of ever recovering them.
While the figures are concerning bike owners everywhere are finding increasingly smart ways to save their wheels. Here are some steps to drastically lessen the odds of yours being stolen and increase the chances of getting it back (or compensated) if it is.
Get a good lock
It’s all about the lock. With the exception of motorbike chains, most cable locks are useless against tools many thieves carry. A D-lock will deter most thieves. Bike enthusiasts recommend the Kryptonite New York 3000 and the Abus Granit X Plus 54 as some of the toughest locks to crack.
Use two locks
The combination of two different locking systems such as a D-lock and a cable will mean that any thief has to carry twice the number of tools. You can also use a heavy-duty chain and padlock. These are stronger than a cable lock.
Lock it right
The right way to lock a bike is to lock the frame and both wheels to the bike stand. To do that you pass your d-lock around the rear triangle, the rear wheel and the object you are locking to. This works two ways – it makes it tough to remove and it makes it hard to get to the lock to attack it, without damaging the bike.
Keep your bike out of sight
The best place to keep your bike is inside or under cover. If you must lock it up outside then leave it in a well lit area, preferably somewhere with CCTV and don’t leave it for too long.
Ride a cheap bike
Thieves love fancy bikes with new paint, brand names and all the bling so ride a cheap bike.
Insure your bike
Consider insuring your bike. It can save a lot of heartache if your shiny, lovely bike gets nicked.
What to do if your bike is stolen
The more information you provide to police the better your chances of seeing it again. When you buy it take photos and write down the serial number and keep this info safe along with the receipt. Police also suggest engraving your driver’s license number near the serial number to make it easier for them to get in touch with you if they find it.
You can also put a GPS tracker on your bike like these one’s from SpyBikes. They are discreet and send information to an app on your phone. Reporting theft helps police identify and target high-risk areas and also helps when making insurance claims.
And consider buying this – perhaps the world’s first truly un-stealable bike.
- Read the CHOICE Bicycle buying guide: We show you how to find the best bike fit for you - 2014
- Visit the SpyBikes website to put a GPS tracker on your bike.
Disclaimer: NRMA Bicycle Insurance is issued by Swann Insurance (Aust) Pty Ltd and promoted by Insurance Australia Limited trading as NRMA Insurance. To see if the product is right for you, always consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at nrma.com.au/bicycle-insurance.