Coming back to your bike to find it gone is the last thing anyone wants. Sadly, motorcycle theft is widespread, with £3 million worth of motorcycles stolen in the UK every month. From April 2017 to April 2018 there were almost 32,000 motor vehicle thefts in London alone, a year-on-year rise of 13%. Nevertheless, efforts are being made to reduce these figures.
On average, it takes 20 seconds to steal a motorbike, so it’s no wonder they are such tempting targets for criminals. Motorcycles are always going to be easier to steal than cars: they don’t have doors to slow down criminals, and even with the strongest locks they can be lifted away.
Motorcycle security is a lot about deterrence. By investing in security devices and parking smart, you can make your bike a much less attractive target. While you may not be able to eliminate the risk of theft, you can make your bike a less attractive option than the next one down the street.
Proper motorbike security devices can also help significantly reduce your insurance premium, saving you money in the long-term. So definitely let your insurer know about any steps you’re taking to secure your ride as it may bring the price down.
Read on to learn the best ways to keep your motorbike safe.
Motorbike tracking devices monitor your bike’s location with GPS, GMS or Radio Frequency Tracking, allowing you and the tracking provider to be immediately alerted to unauthorised movement. This enables you to quickly notify the police and recover the bike if it is stolen.
While tracking devices are highly useful immediately in the aftermath of a crime, they are also at risk of being found and disabled by criminals if the bike is not recovered quickly.
Recovery rates of 90% are not unheard of, so this can be an excellent way of protecting your pride and joy – and the cost of these solutions has started to fall as the technology has become more established. Read our guide on 7 of the best motorcycle trackers that are currently on the market.
Alarms and immobilisers
A motorbike alarm goes off when your bike is tampered with and works by attracting attention and scaring away the would-be thief. While experienced criminals can disable many alarms, they also might just choose to move on to an easier target and not take the risk. Motorbike alarms are also often combined with immobilisers, which stop the ignition from being hot-wired or otherwise turned on when the key is not present.
One of the most common types of motorcycle theft involves lifting a bike into a van and driving away with it. You can reduce the risk of this happening to your bike by using a motorbike security chain to secure it to an object that can’t be removed or broken. The criminals will then have to break the chain first before being able to lift your bike – never put the chain through the front wheel as this can be removed quickly. Keeping the chain off the ground is also advisable, as it is harder to attack this way. View our guide to nine of the best security chains available, to keep your ride secure.
When storing your bike at home, securing it to a fixed object with a chain or lock is essential to stop it from being pushed away or being lifted into a van. Sometimes, however, you don’t have anything to chain your bike to. This is where a motorbike anchor comes in useful, as you can drill it into the ground or a wall and then safely secure your motorbike to it. While they won’t help you on the go, motorbike anchors can be an important security tool.
A motorbike disc lock goes through the holes in a motorbike brake disc and stops the wheel from turning. Disc locks come in many shapes and sizes but are generally all small and light enough to take with you on the go while still offering some protection for your bike. Higher-end disc locks sometimes offer in-built alarms to reduce the risk of tampering. A Thatcham-approved disc lock can also reduce your insurance premium. Need help deciding what lock to pick? (no pun intended!). We’ve picked six of the best motorcycle disc locks on the market to keep the thieves at bay!
While you should always use your steering lock, it doesn’t offer much protection by itself. Most steering locks can be broken with brute force – a single powerful and well-aimed blow has been known to do the job. However, using more than one motorbike lock will increase the time it takes for your bike to be compromised.
While motorcycle security is all about deterrence, there are also steps you can take to make recovering your bike more likely in the event that it is stolen. Tagging systems allow you to mark your motorcycle with your phone number or other personal information that can help to identify you. This makes it much easier for police or motorcycle shops to get your bike back to you if it is found.
Systems such as DataTag allow you to print onto your bike information that can be seen only under ultraviolet light. A modern alternative is Alpha Dot – 1mm-wide dots printed with a unique PIN that you can simply ‘paint’ onto your bike parts with special glue. Each tube that you buy has thousands of dots, meaning that every single bike part can be traced back to you.
While covering up your bike may not seem to offer much security, it can significantly reduce the chances of it being stolen. In addition to protecting your bike from the rain, a cover helps protect your bike from unwanted attention. Criminals look for easy targets, with a high-value motorcycle with little security being the most attractive option. If your bike is covered up, it takes longer to assess its value and what security it has, forcing thieves to focus their attention elsewhere.
Parking your bike safely at home is just as important as when you’re out and about. In fact, 80% of bike thefts happen at home, so taking steps to secure your bike is essential. If possible, keep your bike in a garage or garden shed. You can also choose to install a purpose-built shed for secure motorcycle storage. Dedicated motorcycle sheds offer far more protection than standard garden sheds that are often locked with only a small padlock.
Also, consider where you keep your own tools – you don’t want to chain your bike only to leave your bolt cutters on the shelf next to it in your shed.
Leaving your bike parked in the open is never ideal, but can’t always be avoided. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of things to consider that may help reduce the risk of theft.
The more people around, the better. Thieves are wary of being seen or caught so they prefer to work in areas without much traffic. If you’re leaving your bike parked overnight, consider that even busy areas can become quiet late at night
Good lighting makes it harder for criminals to work without being noticed
CCTV can make thieves hesitant as they want to avoid the risk of being recognised
Whenever you can, park at a designated motorcycle parking spot that offers a stand and a security loop to which you can chain your bike or lock your bike to street furniture if it’s safe to do so.
Summary: make your motorcycle a less attractive option
Motorbikes will always be attractive targets for thieves and there’s no definitive way to completely protect your bike. However, using the best motorbike security devices and thinking about where you park can create a strong deterrent, and make your bike a less attractive option for criminals. While you will always be concerned when leaving your motorcycle anywhere, using a combination of deterrents and a low-risk parking strategy will help you to feel reassured about your bike’s safety.
AUTHOR KATIE ECCLESTONE
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