The theft of motorcycles, from motor scooters to high-powered superbikes, is on the increase. Some cities have witnessed an astronomical rise in motorbike theft in recent years. Organised criminal gangs are known to steal high value, top specification motorbikes for specific ‘orders’ and sometimes motor scooters are stolen purposely to be used in violent and street crimes. There is also a very active underground market in stolen motorcycle parts so it’s important to secure both your whole bike and the parts it’s made from.
Luckily for motorbike owners there is much that you can do to protect your valuable property and prevent your motorbike from being stolen. You should also bear in mind that your motorcycle insurance company may not settle a claim in your favour if you had not used adequate security measures when your bike was stolen. The key recommendations are these.
- Don’t leave valuable items, such as helmets and other possessions, unattended with your motorbike.
- Properly mark the key parts and components of your motorbike using an ultraviolet, invisible marker. And let would be thieves know that your bike is marked up using a few prominent stickers.
- When securing your motorbike, use multiple locks as this will deter would-be thieves.
- Use only high quality motorcycle security chains, which cannot be easily cut with bolt-croppers, to secure your bike.
- Secure your parked bike to an immovable object or a secure ground or wall anchor.
- Use a motorbike cover or secure your bike in a garage or lockable space.
- Keep a record of your bike’s vehicle identification number (VIN number) and engine number.
Here are some practical precautions you can take that will help keep your bike secure.
Locks and Security Chains
Whenever you park your bike, or leave it unattended, you should prevent it from being pushed or lifted away by using a high security chain and a disc lock to attach your bike to an immovable object such as a ground anchor. Make sure that the chain is around your rear wheel and bike frame. These days organised motorcycle thieves will potentially remove the front wheel, if that has been used to secure the bike, and either replace it with a spare or lift your bike into the back of their van. If possible (for example at home) use two high security chains with high security disc locks which are bolt-cutter proof. This will significantly deter any would-be thieves as the tougher you make it for them to steal your bike the less likely they will have a go.
Tracking devices used to be very expensive but the technology is becoming increasingly affordable. But these devices have their limitations and you should never rely upon a tracker as your soul security measure. If your bike is stolen using a van or is stored in a building or container then the tracker would be useless. Thieves will typically park up a bike that they think might be fitted with a hidden tracker, just to see if the police or the owner have detected the signal and come to retrieve the bike.
Alarms and Immobilizers
An approved alarm system can be highly effective, especially when your bike is parked at home, perhaps in the road outside or in a driveway. It’s important to use an approved alarm or immobiliser system as this is what your insurance company will require. It’s always worth asking your motorcycle insurance company for advice and recommendations on approved motorcycle alarm and immobiliser systems.
Covering your motorbike is a relatively simple but highly effective security measure. By covering your bike you are effectively hiding the fact that it is potentially valuable. Combine the motorcycle cover with high security chains, multiple disc locks, attachment to a secure ground anchor along with an alarm and immobiliser and you will have seriously impeded any would be thieves, who are likely to move on to an easier target.
If you store your motorbike in a garage you need to ensure that your garage is highly secure. Garage thefts tend to take place at night and during the daytime, when people are away from home at work. Although your motorbike is inside your garage it is still a good idea to lock it to an immovable ground or wall anchor using a high security chain and disc lock. Your garage entrances must be secure, windows must be secure and it’s a good idea to fit an alarm system to your garage, as well as your motorbike. Motion detecting security lights and cameras are also an excellent deterrent to would be thieves.
If you are to be away from home for any prolonged period it’s a good idea to let a trusted neighbour know and ask them to check your property daily for any signs of attempted intrusion.
Marking your motorcycle using invisible markings, along with stickers that tell a would-be thief that the bike parts have been marked up, is recognised as an effective deterrent. Obviously it will not actually prevent your bike from being taken, but it seriously discourages theft. And bikes along with motorcycle parts have been recovered thanks to markings. This is a very low cost but highly effective security measure which can be valuable when used in conjunction with other techniques.
Ignition Cut Out
Many motorcyclists devise their own ways to physically disconnect their bike’s ignition system when left unattended. It is quite a simple task to fit an ignition cut-out switch with is then securely hidden somewhere on the bike where only the owner knows. Whenever the bike is left unattended the cut-out is switched in and the bike cannot be started. Would-be thieves might search for the cut-out switch, but they are more likely to abandon the attempted theft and move on to an easier target.
Opportunist thieves like to conduct their business unseen. So where possible don’t hide your valuable motorcycle away down an alley where a thief can take their time to overcome your security measures. Park it somewhere highly visible where there are plenty of people. Look for somewhere that is well lit and ideally covered by CCTV security. And try to find somewhere that the thieves cannot shield their activities using a vehicle such as a van. Choosing the right location when leaving your valuable bike unattended goes a long way toward keeping it secure.