With more than 400,000 bikes stolen each year in the UK, it comes as no surprise when you hear tales of bad luck and theft from bicycle owners when then they return to their bike. Whether it’s one of your most prized possessions or a cheap buy to get you from A to B, it’s never a nice feeling when you come to realise that your bike has either been stolen or has missing parts. Therefore, it’s important to put into place the measures that fend off any potential bike thief. To get you started, here are some top tips for bike theft prevention.
1. Choose a suitable lock
The first and most obvious thing to do to prevent your bike from being stolen or a victim of theft is to get a suitable lock. Just like car thieves, bike thieves will always find a way to get the bike they want. Therefore, you want to choose a bike lock that provides a level of security suitable for the location where you leave your bike. A smaller, lightweight bike lock is often suitable for quick stops at local shops, whereas if you’re planning on leaving your bike unattended for a whole day whilst you’re at work or school, then a more secure, heavy-duty bike lock will be required. A smaller lock offers lower security, whilst a bigger lock provides more security. Choosing a bike lock that suits your needs is the most important thing to consider first.
2. Secure your bike frame & wheels to an immovable object
To ensure maximum security, your bike’s lock cable or chain needs to be long enough to wrap around the bike’s frame, both wheels and whatever object you’re locking the bike too. If you lock just one of the wheels to something, a potential thief can simply remove the wheel and steal the rest of the bike. Alternatively, if you just secure the frame and not the wheels, you risk losing them. Especially if you have a quick-release feature. If your bike isn’t long enough to secure both wheels, then locking the frame and front wheel should be enough to warn off thieves as they may be reluctant to attempt to remove the rear wheel from the chain. Lock your bike to an enclosed object that won’t let the lock be slipped off easily, such as a bike parking rack. If using a free-standing pole such as a signpost, ensure that the pole is high or bulky enough that your bike and lock can't just be lifted over the top.
3. Lock your bike in the right location
Choosing a place to lock your bike can be a tough situation. If you choose to secure it in a secluded location that is out of sight, then it may be less likely to be noticed by a potential bike thief. However, it may also present the perfect opportunity to be stolen as people are less likely to witness the crime. You need to find a location that offers a good balance of seclusion and visibility. If your workplace or school contains a space to park your bike then use it or if they allow you to bring your bike inside then take advantage.
4. Keep a record of serial numbers
Every bike should have as serial number edged onto it. This is usually stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket shell, the part of the bike frame where the pedals connect. If you are having difficulties locating your serial number then take it to your local bike shop for some assistance or check your receipt, serial numbers are often printed on them. If your local authority has a bike registration service, then take advantage of it. If not, then there are several online services that let you register your bike’s serial number and report it as stolen if necessary, such as the National Bike Registry. If your bike is ever stolen (touch wood), the serial number can help to get it back. Many bodies of the law, when recovering stolen property such as bikes, tend to look for serial numbers and then look them up on the mentioned online services so they can easily find out who the bike belongs to.
5. Move your bike regularly
Moving your bike regularly can be a great way to prevent it from being stolen. Thieves tend to understand and learn where bikes are left and for how long, making them an easy target. By regularly moving your bike, you detract attention from it and can avoid any potential thief learning your routine.
6. Make your bike unappealing
Just as a magpie is drawn to shiny objects, leaving your bike locked up dressed in accessories and looking good, unfortunately, will attract unwanted attention. Therefore, it may be a good idea to dress your bike down, making it blend in rather than stand out. Start by removing any accessories such as flashy lights and attachments or simply cover it up. Hide your bike’s branding or components with tape or something more permanent to make it more subtle and easily recognisable if it were to be stolen and sold on.
By following these bike theft prevention tips, you will be well on your way to ensuring your bike is kept safe and sound whenever left unattended for a period of time. To learn how IDS Security can help with bike theft prevention with our range of security systems, be sure to get in touch with a member of our team today!
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