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Ex-thief advises on securing your bike

A reformed bike thief from London, which has experienced a 44% increase in theft in the past two years, says a basic owner mistake is not chaining their bike to something solid.

“When I was stealing bikes, the first step I would take would be to find one that wasn’t chained to anything sturdy, so in order to prevent theft I would definitely recommend locking up your bike to something solid,” he says.

The riders in the above photo are securing their bikes with locks at the front and back and locking them together, but haven’t secured the bikes to a fixture.

The lack of secure parking areas and solid objects to anchor bikes sparked a London peaceful protest rally on November 6 from the Ace Cafe to 10 Downing Street where a petition was handed over.

Apart from government assistance in reducing motorcycle theft, riders can also take steps to secure their bike.

The reformed bike thief who wished to remain anonymous recommends riders also use a forensic coding system or visible markers on their bike.

One such product is DNA+ provided free to motorcycle insurance policy holders by Carole Nash insurance company. It leaves an invisible unique mark on the bike.

If the bike is stolen, police are able to identify and return it to the owner.

“Boredom was one of the main reasons I started stealing bikes as a teenager, but of course it was also largely down to the amount of money I was able to receive by selling the parts,” the reformed bike thief says.

“Forensic marking, such as Carole Nash’s DNA+ product, would have definitely deterred me from stealing a bike as there would have been a much greater risk of the police identifying the stolen bike and subsequently for me to have been caught and arrested.”Alarming rise in motorcycle theft thief

Motorbike insurance data from Carole Nash has found that bike thefts in the UK cost the industry £105 million per year, with Greater London, Brighton and Southampton coming out as the UK hot spots for motorcycle theft. 

In Australia, motorcycle theft has risen 3% to 8261 in the past year and 4.9% in the past five years.

However, there has been a “frightening” rise in motorcycle thefts in Victoria of 19.3% in the past year and 31.7% in the past five years, according to National Theft Reduction Council.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BIKE FROM A THIEF Motorcycle theft stolen motorcycles sick skunklock

  • Buy a high-quality (expensive) secure chain so you can chain your bike to an immovable object like a lamp post or something that is secured to the ground. 
  • Don’t secure the chain to a wheel as it can be removed. Secure it to the frame. If you have to, choose the rear wheel which takes longer to remove.
  • Don’t leave the chain loose or it is vulnerable to being frozen and smashed with a sledgehammer. Lock it with a high-quality lock.
  • Use a high-quality disc lock with a reminder cord attached to your handlebars so you don’t ride off with it still in place.
  • Also, use the steering lock if your bike has one.
  • Even when parked in a secure location such as your garage or behind a locked gate, consider the extra security of using the steering lock, a disc lock or chain as well.
  • Pull out a spark plug or fuse, or have an immobiliser fitted.
  • Remove the clutch lever. It’s easy to do and it can’t be ridden without it.
  • Don’t park your bike in railway or shopping centre carparks as these are notorious for theft.
  • Park in a locked carpark. If you have to park in the open, leave it where you can see your bike or in view of a security camera and/or under a light.Ex-thief advises on securing your bike
  • Otherwise, keep your bike out of sight, maybe parking it behind your car. If parking in a garage, block the bike with your car and ensure the garage is locked.
  • When riding home, make sure you are not being followed.
  • Stay alert for suspicious vans or trucks driving around late at night. These are used to transport stolen motorcycles.
  • Put a cover over your bike. It might slow down thieves and prevent theft of accessories. But make sure it isn’t a flashy lone with the brand name of the bike on it. That only entices thieves.
  • When riding in a group, park your bikes together.
  • Consider marking your bike in a unique way that could aid in recovery and therefore dissuade thieves.
  • At hotels or public parking spaces, try to park in view of parking lot security cameras and lights. If you park it outside at home, install a security camera. Even a “dummy” one may deter thieves.
  • If you park your motorcycle outside your house, consider installing a motion sensor light near the bike.
  • Install a motorcycle alarm and/or a hidden kill switch.
  • Buy a GPS tracking system that can track and deliver your bike’s speed, location, and direction.
  1. Sad to read those statistics re: bike theft. I came to live in Thailand this year, and was astounded to see how people leave their helmets, bags and other things on bikes and no one thinks of stealing anything. It took some getting used to, but after a while i started leaving my helmet on my bike too, and it was still there when i got back! Several times I’ve even stupidly forgotten the key in my bike ignition in the open parking area of my apartment block, and come back the next morning to find my bike still there. Amazing place.

  2. The comments on Thailand don’t surprise me, I experienced respect for other people’s property whilst in Vietnam on holidays twice.
    The ugly culture of touching/thieving/damaging someone’ else’s property is alive and well in Australia. Low life’s can’t help themselves, can’t keep their grubby little hands to themselves. How can one have respect when their not taught self respect?

  3. It makes sense that you should find an alarm for your motorcycle to ensure that your bike is secure. My uncle just moved into a neighborhood with a crime problem, and he wants to make sure that his bike will be protected while he is asleep at night. I’ll let him know that he should find a loud alarm system to ensure that he can quickly respond as soon as it goes off.

  4. I’ve got a tracker a proper good alarm system, 2 thick chains that go through the frame and round a lamppost, also my bike has a cover over the bike. In broad daylight 4 young arseholes on peds apparently tried to take my bike, my alarm went off I was at my bike in 2 mins, they had panicked as the alarm sounded,as they tried to break steering lock an failed to do so, they 2 of them crashed at the end of the road but managed to get back on and ride off. What I’m saying is these little wankers dont care, and people dont care that my alarm was going off, no one shouted out or called police, these boys had no chance of stealing my bike the way it was secured but that didnt stop them did it. I now have had to move my bike and pay out more money as it is now in a secure underground garage with super cars I’m 49 live in London and am absolutely sick of it, even worse the fact that a person who rides a push bike in London who pays o road tax or insurance , gets to put push bikes in a caged secured box on our London streets while my over £10,000 gets a metal bar on a 30 degree hill

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