Bike theft is on the rise and in the UK one is stolen every six minutes, new research has revealed.
Last year in the UK there were 93,571 bike thefts and 257,000 in total since 2015, according to analysis of official crime figures.
This is an increase of 17 per cent across the UK in the past three years and East London has the highest number of thefts.
Last year in the UK there were 93,571 bike thefts and 257,000 in total since 2015
When looking at postcode areas, East London had the highest number of bike thefts, at 3,649 last year, a 38 per cent rise when compared to the 2,646 reported in 2015.
It was followed by Manchester in the second spot with 3,388 bikes reported stolen last year, a 32 per cent rise since 2015.
London dominated the top-10 list, with South West London in the third spot, with 3,165 reported last year, South East London in fifth place, with 3,032 reported and North London in 10th spot, with 2,058 reported.
The most common types of bikes to be taken are mountain bikes, making up 48 per cent of reported thefts.
Road bikes are the second most-popular bikes to be stolen and account for 18 per cent of thefts.
Darran Hull, claims area manager for Direct Line, said: ‘Given London and the surrounding area account for 44 per cent of all cycling miles across Britain, it is no surprise opportunistic thieves target these areas.
|Postcode area||2015 bike thefts||2016 bike thefts||2017 bike thefts||Increase 2015 – 2017|
|South West London||2,427||2,793||3,165||+30%|
|South East London||2,156||2,403||3,032||+41%|
|Source: UK Crime Stats, 16/04/2018|
‘Bike theft isn’t just distressing but incredibly disruptive, often leaving commuters without a vital mode of transport and cyclists unable to exercise or take part in leisure activities.
‘As the popularity of cycling continues to increase, bike theft is also on the up, which is why it’s more important than ever to ensure your bike is covered on your home insurance policy.
There has been a 17 per cent rise in theft claims since 2015, with the most reported in London
‘This is often an optional added extra, so make sure you double check it is included so that you can at least claim for a replacement in the unfortunate event your bike is stolen’.
When it comes to looking after your bike from theft, there are a number of things to be done to prevent it getting stolen, which we’ve listed below.
It’s also important to make sure the bike is covered on your contents insurance if you don’t want to pay to replace it should it be stolen – and if it is insured, that you have enough cover.
Brian Brown, head of insight for banking & general insurance at Defaqto, explains: ‘With pedal cycles costing hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds many people could be left seriously out of pocket if they fail to insure their bikes properly.
‘Relying on home insurance without reading your policy to see exactly what is covered could be very risky, as some insurers don’t even cover bikes in the home or outbuildings, let alone away from the home. At the very least cyclists should make sure their bikes are covered away from the home, and accept that they may have to pay an additional premium for this.
‘Those with expensive bikes, or who take part in racing or triathlon competitions, should consider choosing a specialist pedal bike insurance policy which will be more likely to fit with their particular needs.’
The highest numbers of bike thefts were reported to Direct Line in East London last year
Here we’ve listed the most important things to be aware of.
What is bicycle insurance?
How you choose to insure the bike depends on a few different factors.
You can either buy a standalone bike insurance policy, or you can add it to an existing contents insurance policy.
Typically specific bike policies are for those with more valuable bikes who use them regularly or for work, but it’s always worth checking the small print to see what’s being covered so you can compare the cost.
Am I already covered under my contents insurance?
Most contents policies have a section called ‘personal possessions’ which covers valuable items which need to be taken outside of the house.
|Single bike limit||% of policies to include|
|£300 or less||1%|
|Up to £500||18%|
|Up to £750||3%|
|Up to £1,000||4%|
|Source: Defaqto data, 17/04/2018|
The value on these is usually up to £2,000 so if your bike comes in under the limit, you could add it to your policy under this section.
However, not all policies will cover bikes, 12 per cent don’t cover them as standard according to Defaqto, so check before you buy. The value covered also varies considerably and one in five policies only cover bikes of up to £500.
As the average cost of a bike is £450, according to Cycling UK, most people will probably be able to insure theirs on their contents insurance policy.
Any other items associated with the bike, such as the locks, helmet and lights will be covered under your standard policy.
The cost to include personal possessions is around £30 a year and you will need to check with your insurer if they want you to list bike on the policy, or whether it will be covered as standard in this section.
Do I need a standalone bike policy
There are a number of providers which offer bicycle-only insurance policies. These are typically designed for bikes of a high value and most cover bikes worth more than £500 and up to £50,000.
Bikes can be covered under your home insurance contents policy or with a standalone policy
These policies are generally designed for those with valuable bikes who use them regularly – including those who use the bike for their job.
If you’re insuring more than one bike there are often discounts available and you can often add on cover for going abroad, personal liability and cover for competitions and races.
PedalSure, for example, offers three levels of cover and each include a range of things including; personal accident, physio cover, legal expenses and personal liability.
What should I look out for in the small print?
Along with all main factors such as how much cover you can get for your bike, some insurance policies – both standalone and contents policies – may state that the bike is locked up when not in use and may state whereabouts it is stored. Make sure you’re aware of what your insurer specifies.
When you buy the bike it’s also important to keep a note of the receipt as this will be useful if you do need to claim and show how much the bike is worth.
How to protect your bike from theft
There are a number of things you can do to prevent your bike from being stolen, these include:
• Registration: There are a number of free bike schemes available, such as BikeRegister, which provide security marking kits and warning signs to deter thieves.
• Parking: Keep your bike parked in a well lit public area where it’s busy throughout the day.
• Make sure it’s locked: Ensure you always keep your bike locked when unattended. D-locks are the most secure and it will pay in the long run to invest in a high-quality lock
• Store it safely: Even when your bike is kept in your garage or shed, be sure to lock it up and consider investing in a ground lock or secure wall mount so you know it is safe when out of sight.