10 ways to help keep your bike safe
Don't make it easy for potential theives trying to pinch your bike. We've got 10 ways to keep your pride and joy(s) safe.
1. Out of sight, out of danger
Burglars can bank on valuables like TVs and jewellery, but Fireblades aren’t behind every door. So don’t make it obvious there’s a bike on the property – keep road-facing garages closed, wash it around the back, and don’t make a big deal of warming it up with loads of revs. Think of the little things too – that VR46 on the back of your car only means one thing to sharp-eyed crooks: you’re worth scoping out.
If you have to park on the street, use a cover. Some thieves look for specific makes and model of motorcycle to steal, making your machine a prime target if it is left outside your property without a cover. That new R1 you just bought is probably a desirable bike, don’t advertise it to those who are willing to go the extra mile to obtain it – keep it discreet.
2. Obstacle course
The best thefts are quick, quiet and easy. So the more you put between your bike and a means of escape, the better. Park cars tight to gates. Use bins to block passageways. Place kids’ bikes and other garage clutter between the bike and the door – make that stuff work for its place in your shed. If you can isolate your garage power supply, turn it off when you’re not in there. If someone wants to get bikes out, they’ll have to do it in the dark and without power tools.
3. Locks away
When fitting a ground anchor, don’t just place it for convenience. If you can get at it easily, so can crooks. Corners are best – especially if the bike is then chained down over it. No lock or chain is undefeatable, but effective attack relies on access with tools. If you’re locking bikes together, park them tight together – paddock stands or centre stands are good for this. Loop the chain through so the lock isn’t easily accessed with anything larger than a key and a hand.
If you don’t have a garage or somewhere that you can fit a ground anchor, find something solid to secure your bike to. Even with locks fitted, it often doesn’t take much for a group of two or three organised cretins to lift a bike into the back of a van, never to be seen again. Cycle rails or lamp posts are your friend in this instance, chaining your motorcycle to something solid will mean that it can’t be moved without specialist tools like an angle grinder.
4. Make some noise
Stealth is the friend of the bike thief. Get in, lift the bike and get out before anyone notices. Make it harder for them to be stealthy – if a crook can’t get in quietly, you stand a chance of hearing them, or just as often, the potential to be caught in the act puts off less professional bike thieves. Alarmed bike security and even a cheap alarmed padlock on your gate increase the chance of rumbling them. Less obvious measures: gravel drives, yappy dogs and creaky hinges left unoiled. Offcuts of copper pipes leant up against the back of a door make a surprising din if disturbed, too.
5. Entry point
Nicking a bike depends on being able to reach it in the first place, so examine your doors and gates for ways to make them more secure, and throw yet another obstacle in the path of criminals. A hasp and padlock is a good measure, but only if it can’t be easily unscrewed and circumvented. Exposed hinge screws are quick and silent to remove, and mean you don’t need to defeat the lock – choose internal hinges, or spec your garage/shed with a proper, multi-point locking security door. Basic up-and-over garage doors are dead simple to defeat – adding bolts and locks is a must.
6. Love thy neighbour
Overcome those anti-social urges. Being surrounded by friends who understand your routines, know what you’ve got and who should (or shouldn’t) be around is better for security. Rather than being curious onlookers, as happens all too often in all types of crime, it’s better to have neighbours who might act in your interest.
7. Tools away
What’s in your toolkit? Drills, saws, files, maybe an angle grinder? Anything good for attacking your bike’s locks needs to be at least hidden away, or ideally locked up in its own right (which will keep them safe too). Spending time and effort locking your bikes down is a waste of time if you also provide the means to effectively defeat the locks.
8. Keep your garage secure
House alarms (that also cover outbuildings) can send alerts to your phone, personal intruder alarms in garages and CCTV can be accessed on various devices anywhere too. You might also want to consider a tracker. Depending on the system, they can be set to alert you to small movements, or ones outside a certain area, and give you a chance of taking action.
If your garage has windows too, these can make it easy access points for thieves to break in, especially if your bike is on show for all to see. Double glazed windows will be harder to break than decrepit old single panes, if you live in an area with a higher crime rate it could be a consideration to fit bars to the windows – the harder it is to get into a garage, the more secure your bike will often be.
9. No garage? Busier areas are your friend
Opportunist thieves will look for ways to steal a motorcycle without being seen – the less witnesses there are, the higher the chances of them making off with your pride and joy. If parking on the street, look for a well-lit area that is fairly busy if possible. Also, an area with a CCTV camera will make your motorcycle a less attractive prospect.
10. Carefree summer?
Summer is a time we all enjoy as motorcyclists; the weather is warmer and the roads are likely to be dryer and less littered with salt and debris. Bike theft is more common in the summer months when parking spaces in busy cities such as London are harder to come by and there are more motorcycles on the roads for thieves to target, so be extra vigilant.