Bikers from across the Bristol region will come together to take part in an annual Big Bike Theft Awareness Ride on Sunday, September 16, 2018. This demonstration of community spirit aims to increase awareness of motorcycle theft and create support among the local non-biking population by showing just how many people are affected.
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The first ride took place in 2017 and the effects were immediate; within hours four people had been arrested, followed by several more over the following weeks and months. MCN spoke to Paul Walker of Bristol Bike Theft Awareness to find out what prompted such positive action.
"We had an epidemic of bike theft in Bristol that was very much social media led," said Paul. "Organised groups such as the Bristol Bike Takers were essentially stealing bikes for sport, burning them out and posting the result on Instagram to taunt the owners and the biking community at large."
Paul approached Avon and Somerset Police to see what was being done and found that there was an ongoing effort to combat bike crime, Operation Buell. Discussions with the officer in charge, Inspector Rob Cheeseman, led to the setting up of an independent advisory group and the decision to organise the 2017 BBTA Ride.
Around 700 riders turned up on the day and a well-planned route played a valuable part in the overall success. "We took the ride through areas identified as bike theft blackspots, such as Southmead," continues Paul, "which created a lot of interest among the locals who contacted both the council and police to find out what was going on. Once they understood our cause, the community got right behind it and reports of suspected thieves soon began rolling in."
This year’s ride looks set to be even bigger with over 1000 bikes expected. If you want to be one of them, go to the Asda Cribbs Causeway car park on Sunday, September 16 for a 12pm start. Visit the Bristol Bike Theft Awareness Facebook page.
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