Be Bike Wise!

Bike theft is sadly all too common, whether it’s at home or when you are out and about. That’s why we launched the Bike Wise campaign – to raise awareness about cycle security to help you make sure you don’t become a victim of bike crime. As part of the campaign Police Officers will carry out audits of bikes parked in the town centre, at Leisure World, the University and other areas. Cyclists will be confidentially informed on how well they have parked their bike via a tag which will be placed on their bike. The tag will also include suggestions on how they can improve security. Stickers have also been placed on cycle racks to remind users to lock their bike, and police will carry out extra patrols to deter thieves. Local cycle shops are also involved and will be happy to offer advice on bike security.

When you’re out and about…

Those shopping, visiting or working in the town centre have a good choice of cycle parking racks with most overlooked by passers-by, shops and CCTV. But you should also consider…

  • Avoiding leaving your bike in dimly lit or isolated places. Leave your bike where a potential thief can be easily seen.
  • Always lock your bicycle, even if you are just leaving it for a couple of minutes.

When  your bike is at home…

Did you know more than half of bicycle thefts take place from an owner’s property? So, here’s some things you can do to keep your bike safe at home…

  • Keep it in a secure shed/garage and keep the door locked (make sure sheds have a robust lock).
  • Secure it to an immovable object or install a floor or wall-mounted anchor lock.
  • If it’s kept in a communal area, is there anything you can lock it to?
  • Keep it out of public view, away from prying eyes!
  • For additional protection, keep your bike locked wherever you leave it at home.

Locks

  • Be sure to invest in good quality locks – hardened steel D-shaped locks and sturdy chain locks are recommended.
  • It is always best to use two different types of lock, for example a strong D lock and a sturdy chain lock. This means that a thief will need different tools to break each lock!
  • There are many different security products on the market- try to choose products with a Sold Secure logo as these are Police approved products.
  • There is a grading system used by Sold Secure to assess locks, based on how long they withstand attack. The Gold Standard locks resist longest; Silver and Bronze resist proportionately less well.

Good and bad examples of locks

Bad lock Good lock
Good lock Good lock

Top Bike Security Tips

  • Lock your bike to an immovable object like a proper bike rack, ground anchor or street furniture that offers multiple locking points.
  • Bikes locked to lampposts, railings or anything else not designed for this purpose are more vulnerable to theft, so only use these if you really have to.
  • Remember that thieves can remove drainpipes and lift bikes off signposts. If the provision is inadequate, why not bring this to the attention of the relevant local authority or property owner.
  • Lock both wheels and the frame of your bike to the bike stand or other immovable object.
  • Secure removable parts. Lock both wheels and the frame together. Take with you smaller components and accessories that can be removed without tools.
  • Fit secure skewers to wheels, headsets and seat posts. Ask a bicycle shop for specialist advice.
  • Make the bike and lock hard to manoeuvre when parked.
  • Keep the gap between bike and lock small – the smaller the gap, the harder it is to insert levers or other tools.
  • Keep the lock or chain away from the ground; never leave them lying on the pavement – a lock can be sledge-hammered while on the ground.
  • Locks can also be picked, so face the lock to the ground (but not resting on it) so it can’t easily be turned upwards for picking easily when it’s resting on the ground.

How else can you be Bike Wise?

  • Inform the police if you have your bike stolen; you can report the theft online via the Essex Police website, by phone by calling 101 or in person at your local police station from 9-5 Monday to Sunday. Ask for a crime reference number. This will help you trace the progress of your case and may be needed for your insurance claim.
  • Contact your local authority, employer or the landowner about the installation of cycle parking where secure anchorages are insufficient or non-existent.
  • Do what you can to check you buy your bike from a legitimate outlet and that they are sure it is not stolen. If it seems suspiciously cheap, ask yourself why. You may be able to check the ownership of a bike you intend to purchase by searching a property register such as Immobilise.com, or asking for proof of purchase or ownership. If you think you are being offered a stolen bike ring crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • Take out adequate insurance, either by extending your home contents insurance or through a separate policy. Cycling organisations and bike shops may offer specialist cover. Remember to do this at the time of purchasing the bike otherwise you may not get around to it.                                                            
  • Record and register your bike. Take a clear colour photograph of your bike and make a written record of its description, including any unique features, so that you can report it accurately if it is stolen; this will help prove it is yours if it is recovered by the police.
  • Register your bicycle model, make and frame number with a third party like Immobilise.com. (The frame number is often underneath the bottom bracket where the pedals attach, or on the frame under the seat.) Again, this will help anyone who subsequently finds (or even buys) it to check whether it is stolen – and return it to you.
  • If you add an additional security mark or tag to your bike, this will again make it easier to identify as yours. The mark may be obvious, which should help deter thieves; or hidden, such as ultraviolet; or there may be a combination of both. Clearly visible marks should be securely applied. A hidden mark or electronic tag is less likely to be identified and removed by thieves.

IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BEING OFFERED A STOLEN BIKE RING
CRIMESTOPPERS ON 0800 555 111.