So what can motorcyclists do to reduce the risk of theft?
According to the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group, 25,960 motorbikes were stolen in 2009 and this number hasn’t since been eased in any dramatic way in recent years. Motorcycles remain a good source of income for criminals, who strip them and sell on or re-deploy the parts to help fund other types of crime.
Suffering a theft is not just annoying; it can really dent enthusiasm for motorcycle ownership. A combination of loss of insurance excess, subsequent higher premium costs, inconvenience (especially if it’s the main mode of transport) and if it’s loved and cherished like many of the motorcycles on our roads, it’s downright emotionally stressful.
Looking at the wider implications, motorcycle theft floods the market with potentially faulty/dangerous parts which could impact on the safety of motorcycles and perhaps affect the reputation of the second hand market.
Out of sight, out of mind
So what are the basic things to remember when keeping our bikes safe? For one thing, out of sight is not just out of mind, it’s out of easy reach of criminals. So, when not in use, motorcycles should be garaged if at all possible at the home address or at least left out of public view. Specialist secure lock-ups for bikes can also be considered. Waterproof bike covers can be used as an ideal way to conceal the make and model of many motorbikes. This makes it less inviting for thieves as it takes time and makes noise to uncover bikes. They can also be a good protection from the elements.
Make it as difficult as possible for a thief. While mechanical and electronic security devices deter, the experienced thief can overcome them, individually. There are multiple ways in which they can steal your bike too, such as lifting the bike itself and putting it into the back of a van or lorry. Theft risk is significantly reduced by the adoption of multiple security methods to protect and secure a motorcycle. Investigate installing a tagging and tracking system to the motorcycle to increase the chances of the vehicle being recovered, which can aid the conviction of those involved.
The motorcycle industry (overseen by the MCIA) has developed a tagging initiative for all new 2013 models backed by many of the main motorcycle manufacturers. Named the 'Master' scheme it employs 'Datatag' technology to mark the main parts of all new models registered from 2013 onwards at point of sale by a trained motorcycle technician. Hopefully this will both deter and detect future theft.
The Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group
The Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group, has some good advice too. Simple measures like parking in busy, public places, varying parking spaces used and using designated bays with anchor points can go a long way to deterring criminals.
The MCRG suggests engaging the steering lock and securing the bike even if you are just leaving it for a couple of minutes and keeping the lock and chain off the ground so that it’s less easy to break. Putting the bike lock through the frame is a better way of making sure your bike isn’t targeted for parts and getting a thicker, more prominent chain is a way of making your bike look more secure to whatever it’s attached to. Other locks might include a disc lock which attaches to the brake disc and stops the wheel from turning. A U lock can be an alternative to a chain and attaches the bike to a secured object such as a lamp post or if you have a companion motorcyclist, another bike. More thorough information on bike security can be found on the MCRG website http://www.mcrg.org/
Support ‘Get on’ by protecting your bike from theft
Motorcycles are an economic, time-efficient, fuel efficient and fun way to get from A to B. We need to help ensure the enthusiasm of new bikers isn’t dampened by a theft. Any theft simply undermines the efforts of the 'Get On' campaign developed by the MCIA and backed by the wider industry.