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Motorcycle theft rising

Brake lockMotorcycle theft is up 7% over the past year while all other types of vehicle theft are down 4%.
Most alarmingly, joy-riding has increased by 351 to 3806 or 10% while profit-motivated theft is up 196 to 4807 or 4%.
While bikes represent about 10% of all registered vehicles, they are 9.5% of all vehicles stolen for joy rides, but almost 30% of all vehicles stolen for profit.
More bad news: Once your bike is stolen, it has only 4 per cent chance of being recovered.
National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council boss Ray Carroll says it is difficult “to be precise about the motivation for the theft of unrecovered vehicles as very few cases are actually solved”, particularly with motorcycles.
“Our definition of profit-motivated is that the vehicle has been stolen for conversion to cash in one form or another, but in respect to motorcycles this also includes simply keeping the bike for personal use,” he says.
“This is particularly easy to do when it comes to off-road bikes as there is no registration required, but we also know anecdotally from some police investigations that many high-powered stolen bikes are kept by the thief and driven around with false number plates, in the knowledge that if police ever did try to pull them over they would easily out-run them.
“Of course many stolen bikes are used to supply black market parts.
“Again, anecdotally, we do know that the outlaw gangs have always and still do deal in stolen bikes, usually the more high-powered and exotic ones, but I don’t think there is any evidence at this time that the growing increase is particularly due to them.”
Almost half of all short-term bike thefts involved machines less than five years old and just over a quarter were scooters or kids’ recreational bikes with an engine capacity of 50cc or less.
Bikes between 100-150cc and 200-250cc were the next most commonly stolen. Consistent with their market share, Honda and Yamaha were the most stolen bikes with 735 and 519 thefts, respectively.
Profit-motivated bike thefts were similarly highest among late-model Japanese bikes, but higher capacities with 200-500cc representing about 20%.
Western Australia has the highest number of bikes stolen and the biggest increase in theft.
Joyride theft was up 34% to 1562 (34%) ahead of NSW with 676, Queensland 622, Victoria 506, South Australia 249, NT 105, Tasmania 58 and ACT 2. Queensland had the biggest drop in theft, down 6%.
Profit-motivated theft was highest in WA at 4807 (25%), ahead of Victoria with 1203, Queensland 1049, NSW 809, South Australia 381, NT 77, Tasmania 43 and ACT 42.
NSW registered a drop of 15%.

Vehicle Short-term (+ or -) % change Profit (+ or -) % change Total (+ or -) % change
PLC* 34,813 -2747 -7% 11,336 -263 -2% 46,149 -3010 -6%
Bikes 380 -351 10% 4807 196 4% 861 547 7%
Other 1440 -53 -4% 1447 163 13% 2887 110 4%
TOTAL 40,059 -2449 -6% 17,590 96 1% 57,649 -2353 -4%
(*Passenger and light commercial vehicles)
Source: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council


  1. Use the steering lock if your bike has one and/or get some sort of brake lock. Bikes can still be picked up, so consider chaining it to an immovable object.
  2. Pull out a spark plug or fuse, or have an immobiliser fitted.
  3. Don’t park your bike in railway or shopping centre carparks as these are notorious for theft.
  4. 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.
  5. Put a cover over your bike. It might slow down thieves and prevent theft of accessories.