According to a report in The Telegraph, Home Office figures towards the end of last year predicted that some 30,000 motorcycles would be reported stolen. And with only 40% expected to be recovered – not necessarily in running or even recognisable condition - that would leave around 18,000 bikes left unaccounted for.
Now while you might think that it’s just the owners of high-priced sportsbikes or luxury cruisers who need to sit up and take notice of the situation, the reality is that no bikes are off limits for the thieves. In fact, one of the reasons why lower capacity machines are also targeted, is because of the growing number of so-called ‘moped gangs’ who are causing chaos on the streets of Britain.
These thugs are committing brazen robberies using stolen mopeds. Unfortunately, the rise of the UK gig economy, which sees many individuals using mopeds and scooters to deliver packages, has meant that bike thieves now have an abundance of easy targets.
Add to this the fact that mopeds and scooters are often woefully easy-to-steal and it’s easy to see why they are perfect for gangs wanting to carry out nefarious activities. It’s a stark reality that the possibility of your bike being stolen is relatively high, so keeping your two-wheeled pal under top security is key. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to protect your bike from theft.
1. Don’t advertise the fact you’ve got a bike worth stealing
First and foremost, resist the temptation to showcase your motorbike on your driveway. Thieves often have order lists comprising of vehicles their buyers are after and will scout around trying to find suitable bikes to fulfil ‘customer needs’. By keeping your motorbike out of sight and safely tucked away inside, you’ll reduce the chances of it being pinched. Also, it goes without saying that you should avoid leaving your motorcycle outside.
2. If you must leave it outside, park it somewhere highly visible
If you do ever need to leave your bike parked outside (overnight or during the day), make sure it’s left somewhere bright and open where it’s highly visible. People think that hiding their motorbikes away down dark alleys will reduce the chances of them getting stolen, but the opposite is usually true. Dark alleys provide the perfect cover for thieves to spend some time bypassing security measures and ultimately getting away with your bike. Look for well-lit areas and, if you can find them, places where there is video surveillance and plenty of people around at all times.
3. Make your garage super secure
If you’re fortunate enough to have a garage, make the most of that extra layer of protection by beefing up its security. Start with the access points (doors and windows). Check all the locks and consider adding more to further increase security where necessary. While they don’t look that attractive, metal bars fitted to windows are a great deterrent to bike thieves - or anyone who wants to break into your garage for that matter.
4. Be vigilant
As already mentioned, motorcycle thieves often have a “shopping list” quota they need to fulfil. Keep your eyes peeled for any unusual activity or people you don’t recognise near your home. Bike thieves are likely to scope out a potential target before they strike, but this means they have to do their homework and visit the location several times beforehand. Local neighbourhood watch groups are great for monitoring suspicious activity.
5. Your bike’s steering lock is your first line of defence
While it’s generally regarded that steering locks on motorbikes can be overcome quickly by experienced thieves (brute force usually does the trick), they do, nevertheless, provide an extra hurdle. Steering locks also make it difficult for your bike to be easily manoeuvred, reducing the chances of it being pushed out of sight where a thief can operate undetected. It’s also useful to note that insurers love safe bikes, so the more security features you invest in, typically, the lower your insurance premium could be. If you’re interested to see what difference it can make to your premium, take a quote out with us today*.
6. Consider removing the spark plug
It’s a very simple tactic, but removing the spark plug from your motorbike can sometimes be enough to thwart a thief. And while it’s obviously not foolproof and you might not want to do it every night, this simple step is definitely worth considering if your bike is going to be stored away for a period of time (just be sure to plug the hole with a clean rag to prevent debris getting into the engine).
7. Get yourself a disc lock
Disc locks are often used by motorcycle owners to reduce the chances of their vehicles being stolen. They are excellent at deterring casual thieves, often providing just enough reason to look elsewhere. However, a disc lock won’t prevent organised gangs from lifting your bike into a nearby van/truck and driving off. Likewise, some disc locks can be overcome with readily available tools like bolt cutters, which is why you should consider spending a little extra on one that’s made from hardened steel and is approved to recognised security standards. Some high-end disc locks even have built-in alarms, which provide an audible alert when moved, helping to draw attention to any unwanted interest in your motorcycle. We recommend the Oxford Monster Disc Lock which comes with an 11mm hardened alloy steel shackle and a double locking mechanism with 2 hardened steel bolts.
8. Use a heavy-duty chain and ground anchor
Heavy duty hardened chains and ground anchors are a formidable combo when it comes to motorcycle security. Either cemented into the ground itself or securely fixed using bolts that cannot be easily done, ground anchors are the last thing a motorbike thief wants to see when he or she enters your garage. A top tip when securing your bike with a chain to a ground anchor is to always make sure you go through the actual frame and not just a wheel. An unscrupulous individual will happily leave a wheel behind if it means they can secure the bigger prize. The same goes for when you are parking your bike outside. Look for immovable objects like lampposts and bespoke bike rails to chain your motorbike to. Also remember to keep your chain/lock off the ground, so that tools can’t be leveraged against the hard floor to break them. We recommend the Mammoth Security Concrete-In Ground Anchor which is manufactured from hardened steel and can be easily sunk into new concrete.
9. Have a motorcycle alarm/immobiliser fitted
While this one can be quite costly, having an alarm/immobiliser professionally fitted to your motorbike can be a very worthwhile investment. Not only can they prevent theft, but could also reduce your insurance premiums. Just be sure to look for alarm/immobiliser systems that have excellent reviews and are guaranteed to adhere to certain security standards like being Thatcham approved.
10. Take advantage of tracking devices and identification systems
Even though a GPS tracker isn’t going to prevent your bike from being stolen in the first place, it may just lead to your bike being recovered and you getting it back in the near future. It is also very likely that a professionally-installed tracking device will reduce the cost of your insurance too, making it a win-win for motorcycle owners. We would recommend the Autocom GPS Tracker, with no annual subscription. It features a movement/shock sensor, switched ignition operating alarm, precise location detection and is powered from either the bike or tracker internal battery. You can view the bike’s location on a smartphone or PC and it operates on a standard Sim card.
While each of the steps outlined above alone may not be enough to save your bike from being stolen, utilising several of them together could significantly reduce the risk and in-turn the cost of your insurance premium. If you’re interested to see what difference some security features can make to your premium, take a quote out with us today *(please note it's ok to "test" the difference in premium based on added security, but it's not ok to purchase a policy that isn't accurate).