Bicycle Thieves Tell Us How To Stop Your Bicycle From Being Stolen…


How Do I Stop My Bicycle From Being Stolen?

The best chance you have of preventing thieves stealing your bicycle is investing in adequate anti-theft measures that makes a bicycle thief think the following: “This is going to be very hard to successfully steal this bicycle”

Your bicycle’s anti-theft measures role is to make it as hard as possible for a thief to steal it which will naturally deter them from even attempting too in the first place. You can’t necessarily control if your bicycle gets targeted by a bicycle thief but you can control whether they have an easy or hard time attempting to steal it. Below are some of the anti-theft measures that you want to have in place and some extras as well:

1.Register Your Bike With Bike Register 

This is a free service that allows you to add and register your bicycle’s details to the National police-approved database, your bicycles details are held on a secure online database which all UK Police Forces have access to in the event your bicycle is stolen and you report it to the police 

The security marking which includes a unique bicycle I.D number allows police to identify what type of bicycle you own and gives them a far better chance of retrieving it Vs a general description (“it’s a red mountain bike”) that you would be asked to supply if you never had a unique bicycle I.D number

Additionally if bicycle thieves spot that your bicycle has a unique bicycle I.D number that is registered to a Police database, then this is more than likely going to deter them from even trying to steal your bicycle in the first place. Registering your bicycle on BikeRegister means that you could be reunited with your bike in the event of it being stolen

2. Always Use High Quality Bicycle Locks

It goes without saying that it’s well worth investing in the best bicycle locks on the market, whether it be a U-lock, chain or folding lock, always try and get a secure Gold Standard certified bicycle locks. Gold Standard bicycle locks are tested by an independent, non-profit organisation based in the UK, this group is called Sold Secure

Sold Secure tests and certifies bicycle locks by classify each lock according to the amount of time it took to defeat (open it up) it, this comes in four available classifications: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond. Bicycle lock manufacturers can submit their locks to Sold Secure who will try to defeat them using a wide range of different tools and techniques which would typically be used by a sessioned bicycle thie

Most bicycle lock manufacturers will actively promote their security rating (bronze, silver, gold and diamond) so this will be very easy to identify is a bicycle lock is a bronze, silver, gold or diamond standard. Here are some Sold Secure bicycle locks (U-lock, chain and folding lock) that I recommend:

OnGuard Pitbull DT 8005

The OnGuard Pitbull DT 8005 bicycle U-Lock is at the Gold standard for bicycle security, after registering your lock on their website the OnGuard Pitbull DT 8005 offers £1689 ($2251) cover for bicycles and £563 ($751) for powered sports vehicles

Features

  • Bicycle security for high crime areas, with a standard length shackle
  • 115mm x 230mm x 14mm hardened steel shackle + 120cm x 10mm Cable.
  • Patented deadbolt locking mechanism for extensive holding power
  • High security disc style cylinder
  • Reinforced sleeve over crossbar and cylinder provides enhanced security protection
  • Reinforced internal housing increases resistance to twisting and leverage type attacks
  • New user friendly, pick, pull and drill resistant onguard Z-key cylinder featuring bump blok, offers optimum deterrent against physical attacks
  • The quattro bolt locking mechanism provides unqualified strength and maximum pull resistance by locking the cross bar to the shackle on 4 sides
  • Anti-Rattle bumpers keeps the shackle snug against the crossbar and prevent unnecessary noise
  • 5 keys including one with a light to help locate the lock barrel at night
  • All tube quick release multi-position mounting bracket. Will fit 99% of all bikes on the market

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OnGuard Pitbull Mini LS U-Lock (Black, 3.55 x 9.46-Inch)

PitBull Mini with extra long shackle for more locking options. X4P Locking Mechanism. Shackle Dimensions: 90mm x 240mm (W x H x Diam) (3.55″ x 9.46″) x 14mm (0.55″) D. 5 laser cut keys (1 micro-light and 4 extra grip keys) Micro-light key projects a bright white beam, Snap Lock Quick Release multi-position mounting bracket. Security Rating: 80 | Lock Series: Pitbull | Technology: X4P 

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Onguard Pitbull Mini Dt 8008 Bike U Lock With Cable

The OnGuard Pitbull Mini DT U-Lock is a PitBull Mini double teamed with a 4 foot fully coated, braided steel cable for extra locking versatility. Shackle Dimensions: 90mm x 140mm (W x H x Diam) (3.55″ x 5.52″) x 14mm (0.55″) D Cable Dimensions: 120cm x 10mm (4′ x 0.39″). 5 laser cut keys (1 micro-light and 4 extra grip keys) Micro-light key projects a bright white beam, Snap Lock Quick Release multi-position mounting bracket

  • U-Lock and Cable
  • Versatile U-lock
  • Bicycle security for high crime areas, with a standard length shackle
  • Mounting system allows for 360 degree rotation
  • 5 keys including one with a light to help locate the lock barrel at night

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3. Invest In Bicycle GPS Trackers

Another very important piece of equipment for safeguarding your bicycle is a GPS tracking devices, these GPS tracking devices can be attached to your bicycle allowing you to track and pinpoint where your bicycle is even after being stolen by a bicycle thief  

GPS tracking devices track a bike’s location and sends SMS text alerts if it leaves a designated area, when your bicycle is stolen and leaves a designated area it will give a very accurate location of where your bicycle is with no range limit thanks to GPS localization

Bicycle GPS tracking devices will involve attaching or mounting a physical tracking transmitter onto your bicycle that communicates with a companion mobile phone App. The physical tracking transmitter mounted on your bicycle is usually very discreet and invisible, additionally It can very easily be recharged with the microUSB cable which is usually provided

The physical tracking transmitter mounted on your bicycle transmits data to a server in the Cloud, which then displays the data on the App on your phone App dashboard or you can view on your home computer. The companion Apps is available at the App store on Apple and Google platforms

Some bicycle GPS tracking devices have an added layer of protection with an initial tamper alarm, if any bicycle thief goes to physically move and handle your bicycle out of it’s stationary position then they will trigger a loud alarm, when this happens you will receive an SMS text alerts when the alarm is triggered

It’s worth mentioning that the audible alarm will only be triggered if the tracking device has been armed via the app. If not, the GPS will still function, but the audible alarm will not go off and the owner will not be alerted when the bike is moved. Here are some bicycle GPS tracking devices that I recommend:

Boomerang CycloTrac

Boomerang’s CycloTrac is a highly sophisticated system with four key components: the Device, the Cloud, the App, and the Dashboard. The CycloTrac device goes on the bike, where it transmits data to a server in the Cloud, which displays that data in the App on your phone and on the Dashboard you can view on your computer.

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4. Invest In Smart Bicycle Locks

The standard and traditional bicycle lock is old news, gone are the days where we need a physical key to old open up our bicycle lock. Nowadays we have a far superior solution that makes our bicycle locks unbreakable and unopenable bar the owner’s permission

Bicycle locks are no longer the easily hackable combination chains and bulky motorcycle-style shackles. Modern day bicycle locks know have award‐winning strength, sophisticated designs that light and portable and are keyless

Smart locks lock/unlock with your own mobile phone using a companion App, additionally your smart bicycle lock can even unlock as you walk towards it via the bluetooth when your in a bluetooth distance away for the bluetooth transmitter on your phone and bicycle lock connect  

Smart locks are becoming even smarter and more sophisticated nowadays with the ability to gather ride analysis and is able to alert the rider if you are close to colliding with another obstacle (crash alerts). Smart bicycle lock manufacturers and retailers now allow you to register your lock to cover it for any technical issues and provide a first class service and repairs and maintenance to ensure the longevity of the product. Here are some smart bicycle locks that I recommend:

LEO GPS Tracking Smart Bike Lock

LEO is the most powerful bike lock ever. Global tamper alerts. Intelligent keyless access. Auto‐unlocking. Award‐winning strength. With built‐in GPS technology, track your bike’s movements in 100+ countries

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BitLock Bicycle Lock

The BitLock bicycle lock is a step up in bicycle security, BitLock uses encryption found in online banking systems, meaning any bicycle thieves are better off going after banks than to mess with your bicycle. BitLock is made of reinforced and heat-treated steel combined with a high security disc locking mechanism and a bent shackle foot design

The BitLock bicycle lock has advanced battery technology built into the device, Bitlock can perform 10,000 lock/unlock operations on a single fully charged battery. This is enough to provide a 5 year battery life before replacing the battery

The BitLock bicycle lock is designed to withstand all weather conditions. The internal components are sealed and weatherproofed inside a plastic compartment. The electronics and battery can also operate under an extended temperature range

The BitLock bicycle lock is compatible with iOS and Window mobile phone devices, compatible with iPhone 4S or 5, 5C and 5S, 6, 6+, (iOS 7 and 8) and most Android phones (made in the last 3 years) and additionally with Bluetooth Low Energy are supported 

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5. Shelter & Security

The same standard of locks and security should be considered if you store your bicycle in a shed or a home garage. Additionally if you store your bicycle at a bicycle rack, the same level of security consideration should apply also

Always close and lock the door of your shed or home garage and don’t leave it open for long periods of time, if your leaving your bicycle in a stair of a flat/apartment block make sure to have your bicycle locked up at all times against the banister/railing when you are away or in your flat resting (basically any time your bicycle is not in visible sight)

What Location Should I Avoid Storing My Bicycle To Prevent It Getting Stolen? 

Always aim to store your bicycle “out of sight,” if any opportunistic thief spots an isolated bicycle then your almost inviting them to try in the first place. Half of the majority of bicycle thefts come from bicycles been stolen in very isolated spots, spots like residential house/flat gardens and passageways between houses and outbuildings, this goes to show you really have to hide/cover your bicycle when putting it away for the day

What Locations Should I Store My Bicycle To Prevent It Getting Stolen?

Finding a safe and suitable location to store your bicycle can be challenging depending on your own storage limitations however there are many ways to safely store your bicycle minimizing the chance of your bicycle getting stolen. Here are some of the safest places to store your bicycle:

  • Home Garage

If you stay in a house with access to a personal garage then this is a great place to store your bicycle, keep in mind that you’ll need to put in a little bit of effort to transform it into a safe and convenient bicycle storage den

Nowadays there are so many smart and innovative ways to store your bicycle in your home garage, with a sturdy and robust ceiling to your garage you can easily hang bicycle ceiling racks which allows you to not use any ground space which can be challenging if you have a cluttered garage or store a family car in it on a regular basis 

  • Bicycle/Garden Shed

This is a great alternative for cyclists who do not have a home garage to store their bicycles, similarly to a home garage there are plenty of smart and innovative ways to store your bicycle inside of a small garden shed. Always make sure to have the same standard of locks and security to your garden/bicycle shed as this is the first hurdle for any opportunist thief. Garden sheds are a practical way to store more than one bicycle at one time, and so long you have adequate security to the door of the garden shed then this is a safe and secure method to safely store your bicycle 

  • Bicycle Tents

Bicycle tents primary purpose is to keep your bicycle protected from the weather elements all year round (but more so for the winter weather elements), however a bicycle tent can provide a level of security for any cyclists that do not have a garage or garden shed available or accessible all of the time. Bicycle tents are suitable for situations and areas with minimal risk of theft and should be considered as a minimal risk security measure 

  • Indoors (Indoor Flat, Staircase Or Flat Room)

For cyclists that do not access to a garden shed or garage, in the example that you live in an urban flat then storing your bicycle in a safe manner can be a little more challenging and risky. However if you leave your bicycle in a flat staircase chained to the staircase railings, then this can be a decent place to store your bicycle

The people coming in and out of the flat staircase is most likely going to be your neighbours (meaning they can be trusted to more of a degree) rather than random people from the streets. There is likely going to be a security buzzer door to the entrance of the flat which means anybody entering the flat needs cleared which gives your bicycle a another level of security and reduces the risk of it getting stolen

Storing your bicycle in your flat/apartment room adds another level of security, there are specially designed bicycle racks specifically for your flat/apartment. This allows you to give your bicycle an even greater level of security as the people coming in and out of the flat staircase is most likely going to be your neighbours (meaning they can be trusted to more of a degree) rather than random people from the streets

  • Train Station Bike Racks 

In recent years there have been an extra incentive from cities to provide adequate and secure bicycle storage in order to promote more cyclists in the city than petrol powered vehicles. One great addition is the new, secure and affordable bicycle racks at your local train station. Major train stations all over the UK have introduced a secure solution to city bicycle storage

The new secure and safe cycle parking located under the roof of the station means cyclists can purchase a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual access pass for themselves. This provides a step up in security compared to leaving your bicycle on a typical street bicycle rack

Costs for these facilities will include a one-off rental charge of about £15 (fob key cost) which gives 24-hour access to the facility, and parking costs start from the equivalent of 27p a day for long-term users

Bicycle parking at the train station is great for those cyclists that also have bicycles that costs several thousands pounds, they offers an enhanced level of security compared with the traditional open cycle racks which makes them very popular, particularly among owners of higher-value bikes

How Many Bicycles Are Stolen Each Year In The UK?

Bicycle theft is a common crime all over the uk, largely due to the fact that most bicycle thieves do not actually get caught stealing your bicycle and evade capture due to the unpredictable nature of the crime

Another factor to this is the relative ease and quickness thieves can successfully steal a bicycle without getting spotted, then when making a hasty escape on your bicycle there is no way of telling if the bicycle has been stolen or he/she owns it themselves

This is especially true when there is a minimum amount of bicycle theft security measures on a bicycle, this makes it doubly difficult for local police to actually catch the thieves in action or after the actual theft

In the UK, almost 300,000 to 350,000 bicycles are stolen every year in England and Wales alone, which is incredible high number. As for Scotland, there is less thefts of bicycles due to the smaller land mass, but there was a total of 1279 cycles stolen, this is the latest figures from Police Scotland

It’s worth saying that bicycle theft in the UK (and most other countries around the world) is a minor crime, this would explain that Nearly 90 percent of reports of a stolen pedal bike went without a culprit being found in a period of almost a year, according to Police Scotland

Figures from the Scottish Conservatives revealed there were 5,394 recorded crimes for pedal bike thefts in the ten months to 31 January, the equivalent of 17 a day. However in England and Wales there were an estimated 288,000 incidents of bicycle theft between April 2017 and March 2018, it’s a lot but is down about 54% in 1995

Most bicycle thefts actually go unreported to or recorded to the local police which may not give an accurate figure to the question. Adding further to this is that most cyclists that have their cyclist stolen simple give up on finding their bicycle, then go and buy a new as there is very little chance of finding it 

What Is The Crime Punishment For A Thief That Gets Caught Stealing A Bicycle?

The punishment for stealing a bicycle can vary from one case to another case, it’s worth mentioning that the thief of the bicycle has to be proven guilty by a jury and in an official court before the punishment for his/her crimes can be issued

The punishment for stealing a bicycle can greatly vary from case to case because the bicycle value is often what determines if the crime is a felony or misdemeanor. For the theft of your bicycle to be felony theft, the value of the property must exceed a minimum amount. If you think of stealing a magazine from a corner shop Vs stealing a diamond from a high street jewellers then there is a huge difference in the punishment because of the inherent value of the two items 

This is the case when stealing a bicycle, if the bicycle is retailed at a more expensive price then there will be a heftier penalty for the thief. I am not a criminal lawyer or expert however to give you a rough reference point, in the US, “in order to be a felony theft, the value of the property must exceed a minimum amount established by state law, typically between $500 and $1,000. For example, if a state has a $600 felony theft limit, a person who steals a bicycle worth $400 has committed a misdemeanor. If another person in the same state steals a bicycle worth $700, the crime is a felony”Information Link

Should I Take Out Bicycle Insurance Just In Case My Bicycle Gets Stolen?

I would always recommend taking out bicycle insurance in the case your bicycle does get stolen, if you do not have bicycle insurance and your bicycle gets stolen you will receive no cover for the theft 

I would especially recommend bicycle insurance if your bicycle is a higher valued electric bicycle costing over £800-£2,000 (or even higher) as there is inherently more to lose in the caes your bicycle does get stolen. I would always recommend having some basic insurance cover on your bicycle, preferable with your home insurance to give you that extra backup if your bicycle is stolen or damaged throughout its lifetime

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have anything to add, then leave a comment down below. All of the information has been thoroughly researched and I have plenty of real world experience on this issue to add as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

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