What can be more attractive than a bike? Sadly for all with a bike, that means paying attention to keeping it secure. If your bike has been stolen, advice on what to do now is further down this page.
How you can prevent your bike being stolen
Can you remember what your bike looks like? Take note of the frame number, identifiable marks and keep an up to date photograph of it. Then should it get stolen reporting it is much easier. Register it with www.bikeregister.com, a national searchable database that can store your bike’s information and be used for reporting and search by the police. You can also have your bike marked by the local police.
Whilst many can be terrified of leaving their bike unsecured, with the right measures there is no reason not to use your bike throughout London and beyond and feel confident you will return to find it.
The best prevention is a good lock, in fact two. Always ensure when you lock your bike, that wheels and frame are secured properly to the stand and remove your accessories.
Barry Mason, much missed member of Southwark Cyclists can talk you through this in this video:
If you’re buying new locks always make sure to look for locks which are well rated by the sold secure scheme, silver and gold locks are worth their weight.
- Lock both the wheels and the frame to the stand
- Try to carry two slightly different locks – a U lock and a padlock/chain are a good combination
- Avoid any slim or lightweight cable locks, they’re easily broken
- Try to use bike racks or railings which are overlooked by other people
- Make sure you’re locking to a solid object, and that the bike can’t just be lifted off it
- Always remove your accessories
It is of course also advisable to adapt your bike to be more readily suitable to being left, perhaps by replacing removable battery lights with fixed dynamo lighting or by replacing quick release skewers with bolts or keyed quick release.
Another helpful measure you can take advantage of is to have your bike marked by the police. Registering your bike helps police and retailers identify and verify the legitimate owner of bikes that have been stolen or are being resold. Security marking your bike deters potential thieves as your bike can be easily traced if it is stolen. An up to date list of forthcoming marking events is on the Hammersmith & Fulham Safer Transport Team site.
What to do if your bike is stolen.
Even if you don’t think you’re likely to get your bicycle back, it’s worth reporting the theft so decision-makers know the extent of the problem, and we can push for a greater police response.
Provide as much information as you can, including:
- The frame number
- Type of bike
- A photo
- Details of where and when it was stolen
Crime figures are an important measure for the police and can influence how they distribute their resources.
You can report the theft online or contact the police by telephone on 101 (for non-emergencies). If it’s an emergency, call 999.
You can also report a crime in person at any police station, though note that there are fewer open police counters in recent years.
When you report the theft ask for your ‘CAD’ (Computer Aided Despatch) or ‘CRIS’ (Crime Reference Information System) number. Having a number will help you to trace the progress of your case.
If you have registered it with bikeregister.com log into your account and mark it as stolen.
If you have theft insurance, you must report the theft to your insurance company or insurance broker. Keep in mind that while some insurance companies are happy with a police crime number, while others require additional evidence such a broken lock and your key.
Some bike locks now come with an anti-theft guarantee, this works like insurance and you should make a claim as soon as possible.
Websites like Bikeshd and Find that bike provide photos of all bikes posted for sale every day on the web at sites like Gumtree, ebay and Craig’s list. You can also check local markets and pawn brokers which often sell second hand bikes.
If you are sure its yours call the police on 999 or 101, or if you are in London, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The London police Cycle Task Force is a specialised police unit that is experienced at tackling online sales of stolen bikes.