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Study shows motorbikes most likely vehicle type in UK to be stolen

Published: 14 August 2019

Updated: 16 August 2019

One in every 46 registered motorcycles was stolen last year, according to new figures gained by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG).

The figures show the number of bike thefts in 36 UK police force areas and were obtained as a result of a large-scale FOI submission by MAG who have released the results as part of their campaign to combat bike theft.

The rate of theft was then calculated from the number of registered bikes in each area divided by the number of thefts. Unsurprisingly, the highest rates were to be found in the Metropolitan and City of London, where one in every 12 bikes was reported stolen in 2018.

This figure actually signals a modest 3.98% improvement over the 2017 figure. By comparison, the safest area was Derbyshire, where just one in every 776 machines was reported stolen, followed by Suffolk (one in every 382) and then Norfolk (one in every 375).

But the national average of one in 46 still means that motorcycles are seven times more likely to be stolen than any other road vehicle.

"For a biker, the theft of their bike is definitely not a victimless crime," said Colin Brown, MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement.

"More so than for any other mode of transport, riders become emotionally attached to their bikes. For some, the loss of a bike is akin to the loss of a family member.

"It is unsurprising that this passion stirs up much emotion, and with motorcycles currently seven times more likely to be stolen than any other form of vehicle, we've a massive issue that needs to be confronted head on.

"We can only start to solve a problem if we first understand it. This work is only the beginning as far as we are concerned and we are already endeavouring to speak to and work with the forces that are showing the worst results.

"We are fully engaged with the Metropolitan Police Force and will be involved in discussions with them in September. We also met the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns Williamson, in August and have approached the PCCs for all the forces which are showing above average levels of motorcycle theft."

Unfortunately, not every UK force is included in the data. Both Humberside and Leicestershire police failed to respond to the request while Essex, Hampshire, Scotland, South Wales, Thames Valley and Wiltshire police all refused to comply.

Current motorcycle theft statistics

Herts Police issue moped warning

The theft of 19 mopeds and motorcycles in just two months has led to a warning from police in St Albans.

"Mopeds and bikes are being deliberately targeted in our area," said Chief Inspector Lynda Coates. "We’re doing all we can to trace those responsible but need your help by taking on some simple crime prevention. This includes locking your bike and setting an alarm if it has one.

"Try to park near CCTV and use a cover. If you can, at home, use attachments to lock your bike to. Please also let us know about anyone acting suspiciously around motorised vehicles."

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