How to park your bike securely

By MCN Technical Staff -

Riding Skills

 30 November 2006 10:14

Why bother?

Because having your motorcycle nicked is about twice as likely as your car being half-inched – and such thefts often occur in temporary parking locations. Of course there’s no guarantee that your bike won’t be stolen – if a professional thief wants your bike he’ll probably get it. But combining as many security measures as reasonably and practically possible can prevent your bike being targeted.

What do I need?

An assortment of measures that collectively secure your bike effectively. It’s easy to recommend using 15 locks but its neither realistic nor going to guarantee security. But a disc lock, U-lock in situ at your regular parking place, a well-chosen parking spot, some security marking and some labels/stickers which make it obvious how your bike has been secured should do the trick.

What about alarms?

Some like ’em, some don’t but every little helps. We’ve not gone into them in depth here as there are so many different types and should be fitted by experts rather than DIY. If you’ve got one, use it and ensure that it’s obvious that an alarm is fitted – this may deter any opportunist thieves from having a go.

Anything else?

You’d be amazed how many bikers neglect to use the main security device – the steering lock – most bikes come with. Do it. Just make sure you don’t leave it in ‘park’ mode (activating the parking light) by accident and drain the battery.

1. U-lock carrier – Safety first! Whichever type of lock you go for make sure you carry them on your bike correctly and safely. Many modern machines have U-lock compartments under the seat. If not, special carriers can be fitted, sometimes behind the number plate, as above.

2. Disc lock bag – Ditto chains and disc locks. Don’t put them in a rucksack. They should either be packed carefully into a pannier (ensuring you balance the weight on the other side) or in special bags which attach to the pillion seat.

3. Motorcycle parking bay – Picking your parking spot is one of the biggest factors in whether your bike becomes another crime statistic. The best places are where it’s busy and with secure poles or railings to lock your bike to. Council bike parks can be located via local council websites. By varying your spot, you’ll prevent thieves ‘casing’ your bike.

4. Lock around a post – Lock your machine to something solid – like a lamp post – as tightly as possible to make it harder for a thief to insert a scaffold pole or similar to lever off the lock. If you regularly park in the same place, leave your lock attached to a post. But remember, parking on a pavement is likely to land you a parking fine.

5. Park it somewhere visible – Parking in winter or at night requires extra vigilance so make sure your machine is left in a well-lit area where it is busy and/or overlooked. If your bike is in constant view and visible it’s much more likely to be left alone. If it’s hidden in the dark it can be tampered with.

6. Disc lock snug to caliper – Fit the lock through the disc snug to the caliper (so that if you forget to remove it before trying to wheel the bike forward it won’t move). Other tips to avoid riding off with the disc lock in place include using a disc lock warning cable and putting a reminder sticker on your top yoke.

7. Chains, it’s preferable to use the lock to secure your machine to an immoveable object. In addition they should be used to make the bike immobile in its own right. Fitting snugly through the rear wheel and swingarm is ideal. Team it up with a disc lock at the front..

 

8. Brake lever lock – One type of lock often overlooked, but which is almost as portable as a disc lock and can be a good supplement to other security devices, is the brake lever lock, which clamps the front brake lever fully on. Just try riding off with that on...

 

9. Smartwater – A security marking system based on what they call a ‘forensic fingerprint’ – basically a solution containing minute particles marked with a unique code. The solution, while being virtually invisible to the naked eye, glows under UV light and is practically impossible to remove. A handy way to prove a bike is yours.

 

10. Ultraviolet pen – Another cheap and quick way of protecting your bike is to mark all the main body panels, commonly with the bike’s registration number or your postcode, with ink only visible under ultraviolet light – although this is only a deterrent if your bike is labelled as being security marked.

 

11. Datatag – The most commonly used and respected electronic security marking system. Involves both security etching components and inserting scannable microchips into your bike, whose details are then logged on to a central database. Reckon on around £60 for a kit.

 

12. Security stickers – It sounds obvious but the biggest deterrent is making it obvious to potential thieves that your bike is fitted with various security devices – stickers saying ‘Warning – alarmed’ are a good thing, even if an alarm or suchlike isn’t actually fitted.