Bike theft on the rise

Bike lock

Bike theft has become so common it now affects one in five cyclists, according to a new report.

Figures from insurance company LV= show the life expectancy of a bicycle is now just under two years, with a fifth of bike thefts occurring in the first six months of ownership.

While crime statistics show a 7% rise in bike theft last year, with 114,000 bicycles disappearing, the report from LV= suggests the figure is much higher as many people don't report the crime.

The reports reveals as many as 30% of victims don't report the theft of their bike to the police. Of those people half believe it isn't worth reporting it and a quarter simply don't think the police will be interested.

Keeping your bike close to home won't keep it safe. The most common crime scene for theft is right outside your own home, with 30% of victims saying their bike was stolen from their shed or garage and 17% losing a bike from their driveway.

Repeat victims

Perhaps, the worst element of the growing bike theft crimewave is the number of repeat victims. One in 20 victims have had three or more bikes stolen over the years, costing an average of £220 to replace.

The problem is cyclists aren't helping to stamp out the desire to steal a bike. The majority of bike owners (79%) admitted that they would be willing to buy a second-hand bike and 4% admitted they had bought a bike that they suspected to be stolen. That attitude combined with the growing popularity of cycling means thieves have an easy resale market.

"Bike theft is a growing problem in the UK with many cyclists having had a bike stolen several times over," says John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance.

"It is vital to have the right insurance in place and cyclists should check their insurance cover to make sure their bike is protected should the worst happen," he adds.

To protect your bike from theft you need to keep it out of sight and also remove telltale signs that you are a cyclist such as a bike rack on your car.

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