With many bikes stolen in the UK each year, motorbike security should be top of the list for any rider.
Bikes are stolen by joy riders, stolen to order, or stolen to be broken down as parts, and can often be out of the country before you know they're gone. But despite this, less than half of all bikes are protected by bike locks or any other security devices.
An unsecured bike is an easy target for thieves as it can be wheeled away, lifted or bundled into a van. The more security measures you make, the less attractive your bike will be to thieves. By doing this you will greatly reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
By adding approved security devices to prevent theft, you could reduce your insurance premium and get a cheaper quote. Here are a few tips on how you can keep your bike safe.
Motorbike Alarms and Immobilisers
Does your bike have either of these? By having an insurance approved combined alarm and immobiliser this would deter most thieves.
A quality Thatcham approved, professionally fitted alarm system will not only put off even the most determined thief, but could also reduce your insurance premiums. It's always worth paying the extra for a manufacturer-fitted motorcycle alarm, or motorbike alarms fitted by a factory trained technician. The complex electrics on modern bikes can often respond badly to a DIY or poorly fitted bike alarm.
Perhaps the simplest and most visible deterrent, are large motorcycle chain locks or motorcycle cable locks. These should always be secured to an immovable object, such as a ground anchor, a lamppost, or another bike. Always try to thread the chain or cable through your frame if possible, as many bikes are stolen for parts and one wheel either way won't stop some thieves from taking your bike.
Motorbike disc locks can be a deterrent to the casual thief, but they will only slow down a professional by a few seconds. Professional thieves will often simply lift your bike into a van and drive away, unhindered by any lock attached to the bike itself. So you should never rely on these alone. That's why most bikers will own a disk lock as well as have an alarm immobiliser.
For safety, you should never ride with your motorbike chain locks around your shoulders or with your motorbike disc locks in your pocket. These can cause serious injury if you're involved in an accident.
Mark Your Motorcycle
Try to mark parts of your motorcycle with your VIN (vehicle identification number), vehicle registration and postcode. As few as one-in-five stolen bikes find their way home again because their origin cannot be traced. The rest get broken down for parts and sold on the black market. By marking all parts of your bike it makes it more difficult to sell them.
That's why it is worth marking as much of your bike as possible to identify you as the owner. This can be done with a simple UV pen from your local DIY store. Alternatively you can use one of the more sophisticated systems such as Datatag, Alpha Dot or Smartwater, which will also put off thieves and help trace your motorcycle or scooter if it is stolen.
If you have a garage, make sure you use it. Many bike thefts occur from the owner's home because they get complacent and leave their motorbike outside over night. Don't leave your bike out for all to see, always put it away in the garage as soon as you arrive. Make sure your garage is properly secure. If it's easy to break into you could actually be helping the thieves by giving them cover in which to work. If you can, put a ground anchor in the garage and lock your bike to it.
Also remember to alarm it. It might be locked in the garage but its still possible for thieves to break in and steal it. Try and make it as difficult as possible for them.
A simple way to prevent thieves from stealing your bike as opposed to the one next to it is to remove the spark plug or HT cap. It's quick and easy and doesn't cost you a penny. Although, it is fair to say, don't rely on just this method to secure your bike!
Sensible steps to bike security
Even the strongest motorcycle locks and the most sophisticated motorcycle alarms will do you little good if you park your bike out of sight and give the pros time to disable them. So it makes sense to always park your bike where it can be seen, day or night, by passers by. Try to vary the places you park so that thieves don't learn your habits.
If you are out and about, most cities have a secure motorcycle parking area for bikers. Always lock your bike to something fixed to the ground such as security loops, stands, lamps or a road signpost. This makes it more difficult to pick the bike up.
Locking your bike and following the other security steps may seem like a hassle, but it's nothing compared to the stress and cost of having your bike stolen. So spend a few pounds, take a few minutes, and you can be confident that your bike will always be there when you get back.
If you have any other great ideas to secure your bike or if you've been a victim of theft and would like to warn other bikers then email Bennetts on firstname.lastname@example.org
. This list will be updated to reflect any new security measures.