How to reduce the risk of bike theft by layering-up your motorcycle security with bike covers, extra locks, chains and tracking
Mopeds, scooters and motorcycles account for 50% of stolen vehicles
Over very recent years, the UK (especially London) has seen a sharp ride in bike theft, with over 15,000 motorcycles, mopeds and scooters being stolen in London alone over a 12 month period. This accounts for over 50% of stolen vehicles in London, further compounded by figures showing that during a similar period, scooters were used in 14,000 crimes.
Make motorcycle and scooter security as visible as possible
Despite the statistics – motorcycle, moped and scooter owners remain generally complacent. Many neither have additional security or simply don’t use their security on every occasion that it would be wise to do so.
The key message is that the more visible the security, the less visible your scooter is to thieves – adding extra security makes it harder to steal. As rule, best practice is to use at least two extra layers of bike security. These measures particularly apply to scooter owners, who the statistics show are most at risk.
Research suggests that thieves are usually put off stealing motorcycles, scooters and mopeds where two further locks are used. This makes them less likely to be targeted owing to the time and effort involved, especially when you consider that a minimally secured scooter or moped can be stolen in less than a minute.
How to better secure your motorcycle
Whilst the Police continue to take steps to reduce motorcycle, moped and scooter theft, the biggest positive impact rests in the hands of motorbike owners.
- Park securely: Designated bike stands with installed ‘security loops’ are best. Failing that, don’t park a bike in isolated, quiet areas where they are an easy target. Choose a parking area with good lighting, plenty of people and working CCTV.
- Night security: a simple motorcycle cover is a deterrent, as is the use of ground anchors or securing a motorbike to something secure.
- Double lock it: Two or more additional locks are good – attached to difficult-to-remove parts of a motorbike i.e. disc locks, chain locks, clutch, throttle locks.
- Audible alarms: Use bike theft alarms
- Marking and tracking: Invest in security marking and bike tracking – these enhanced security measures are becoming increasingly affordable and in respect of the costs of replacing a motorcycle, are a very good investment.
- Insurance: be aware that insurance companies are increasingly insisting on increased security measures, but may offer discounts if they are used.
Insights on motorcycle theft and security
Bill Taylor from BikeTrac, one of the leading motorcycle-specific tracking specialists, shares his insight into motorcycle theft and security. With over a decade of experience attending the scene of thefts and recoveries, Bill tells us why layering-up is an important consideration for every rider.
If you live and ride a motorcycle or scooter in the UK, you’re probably familiar with the term ‘layering-up’. But for once, we’re not talking about a base layer, a Gore-Tex jacket or a neck warmer, we’re talking about security.
In the wonderful world of motorcycling, there’s a plethora of bike security options available for riders. And while every rider has their own requirements, depending where, how or what they ride, one thing is common to all – bike theft. Most importantly, when it comes to protecting your bike and reducing your chances of being a victim, there is no such thing as too much protection, which is why you should never rely on just one piece of security.
Locks and chains are the obvious ‘go to’ of which there is no substitute – they’re a visual deterrent and for the opportunist thief, a reason to keep walking. But the organised gangs aren’t so easily perturbed, and so ‘tooled-up’ in the modern age with lithium-battery powered angle grinders, your chain and lock could just be a minor inconvenience.
Do your research, buy what you can afford, but please, always try to layer up
You’ve parked your bike up in the town center and walked off to the coffee shop……but think back to the covered bike you parked next to. What was it? You’re not sure and neither is the bike thief. But that same thief quickly scanned the parking bay to see the shiny red Ducati. Without thinking, that became the thief’s target, not the bike covered up. A worthy consideration in your ‘layering up’ armoury.
But what if that same thief was brazen enough to remove the cover before putting that angle grinder to good use on that lock and chain? The steering lock was on, but a sharp and forceful twist or kick of the bars soon broke that, so now they’re rolling it down the road, or loading it into their stolen van and it’s now looking even more likely that this bike has become another statistic.
Only there was a tracking device fitted. The text message has been delivered to the owner, then a phone call, and now the owner can see the bike’s location on a smartphone. The police have been informed and they and the tracking company are following its location live. The bike comes to a stop, the thief leaves it in an alleyway for several hours (a very common scenario to see if it had a tracking device fitted). It did, the Police arrive and the bike is back in safe hands.
In all of those scenarios, the owner had been prudent and bought security, but by layering up, the odds of not becoming a bike theft victim were far greater. Do your research, buy what you can afford, but please, always try to layer up.