Those of you that are regular readers you will know that I am a regular cyclist. I use my bicycle most days for part of my commute to work. Cycling has a number of health benefits but it also comes with a number of risks. I am not talking about road traffic or even pedestrians – I am talking about bicycle security. Most days I leave my bike locked in a public car park and that has its risks. Those risks became very apparent in the last couple of weeks when there were a number bicycle thefts. In one day three bicycles were stolen. Prompting me to write this blog – I have been cycling regularly for over five years and thankfully I have not had a bicycle stolen and these are the steps that I have followed:
This is a priority purchase and you should be thinking carefully about this before you purchase your bike. In terms of bicycle insurance, bicycle locks are sold in four main categories:
- Sold Secure – Bronze – offer limited defence against the opportunist thief;
- Sold Secure – Silver offer greater security at a reasonable price.
- Sold Secure – Gold locks offer the highest level of security and tend to be the heavier more robust type of locks.
Most insurance companies and bike lock manufacturers suggest that you spend in the region of 10% of the bicycle purchase on locks. Unfortunately, most people do not spend that much and then regret not doing so when they suffer a loss. My bike is important to me and the inconvenience and upset that I would face if my bike were stolen is something that I want to avoid for as long as possible which is why I have spent over 20% of the bike’s value on locks/security.
When locking my bike I use a Secure-Gold lock, a Sold-Secure Silver Lock and a Sold-Secure Bronze (Yes! – I use one of each type of lock! Now this might be overkill and it takes me a while to lock my bike but it has kept my bike safe when others around it have been stolen – I also have in integrated unrated back wheel bicycle lock on my bike!)
If you purchase insurance for your bicycle the insurance company will tell you which type of lock you have to purchase to meet the insurance requirements. (I would suggest that you purchase a higher grade than the insurance company state – they way you have gone over and above the minimum requirements)
I would also advise bike owners to get their bike registered with a company like BikeRegister and/or Immobilise both of these companies supply UV marking kits that mark your bike permanently, creating a unique bicycle log book which is registered in a national police database, you can even add a picture of your bike to the log book. In the event that your bike is stolen you report the matter to police giving them the “log book” information and that will raise a national alert and in the event that your bike is found or made available for resale when the serial number is checked it will be flagged in the as stolen and hopefully the bike can be returned to you.
Most police community team hold regular bike marking opportunities where you can get your bike marked for free, so it worth checking with your local police station to find out when they will be holding an event in your area.
Locking Your Bike
So you have purchased quality locks and you have had your bike security marked the final steps that you need to repeat each and every time you leave your bike unattended is locking. Pay close attention these final three steps:
- Lock your bike in a recognised cycling parking/stand or to a fixed unmovable object.
- Make sure you the lock your frame and both wheels to the cycle fixed unmovable object
- Remove as much slack as possible – making it hard to move the bike.
These are the steps that I have taken to keep my bike safe and secure and so far it has worked for me. My bike is insured and I fully accept that given I leave my bike outside unattended for a number of hours each day, it is at an increased risk that of being stolen. However, my expectation is that in the event of a loss when I contact my insurance company and the police and provide them with the details of my locking ritual they will agree that I went over and above to secure my bike.
So if you have a friend or family member who cycles regularly you might want to share this information with them. If I can help prevent the theft of one bicycle then I have saved one cyclist disappointment and upset that I have witnessed in the last few weeks.