In case you weren’t aware of it, Melbourne cyclists are in the middle of a bike theft epidemic. You’ve only to glance at: http://www.melbournecyclist.com/group/stolenbikes, to see how bad its becoming. A couple of recent articles in the Age opened my eyes to this issue: Bicycle Thieves target Australian Open and Thieves disappear with thousands of bicycles.
According to Police Statistics, January is the worse month for bike theft with on average 100 more bikes being stolen than in other months. Police reckon that over 5000 bikes worth, $3.9 million, where stolen in financial year 2013/14. Sadly, according the statistics, your chances of getting your beloved beast of burden back are very slim, less than 10%…..SO BEWARE.
So with this grim reality in mind here’s the bumper list of tips for bike theft prevention.
- Always lock up your bike.
- Lock it up inside your house or apartment.
- If its locked up in a shed or garage lock it up to something that’s immovable or very heavy.
- If you are travelling about, lock it up in a well lit place with foot traffic. Do make changes to your routine eg locking up in different places. This avoids being cased by a would-be bike thief.
- Lock your bike up to something metal and large.
- Make sure that your bike is locked more securely than your neighbours.
- Keep your bike close, in visible range.
- Wheel theft is still expensive, lock your front wheel.
- Buy and commute on a crappy bike, it will be less of a target.
- If you ride an expensive bike, camouflage the branding by covering it up with tape or stickers.
- If your bike has a metal frame engrave your name and number on the bottom bracket of the frame.
- Register your bike with the police.
- Make sure you have a photo of your bike and that it is covered by your house and contents insurance.
- If you are Strava user use the settings to set a privacy perimeter around your work and home destinations. This way you don’t lead thieves to location of your bike. Don’t enter the model of your bike.
- Never lock up your bike on the end of bike rack, it’s more visible to thieves, better to lock it in the middle.
- Avoid locking up on parking meters and sign posts. It’s possible for thieves to hoist your bike over the top of them.
- Avoid bike theft hotspots – in Melbourne this means Brunswick, Fitzroy, Richmond and St.Kilda.
- Avoid locking up your bike on a verandah or front yard.
WRT to locks and locking
- Use harden chain with small u-locks, that fit tightly around the frame and wheels. Bigger u-locks allow a thief leverage to force the locking mechanism.
- Position the lock with keyway facing down. This makes it more difficult to force the lock.
- Use high quality locks eg secure gold standard.
- Lock through the frame and rear wheel.
- Use two locks, this twice the deterrent.
- Do not use cable locks, they are too easy to cut.