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Cycle crime survey

Home is where the bike theft is, according to the 2017 National Cycle Crime Survey. It looks into bike ownership, theft profiles and the most popular security measures used to protect them including locking, marking and registration. Commissioned by BikeRegister (, the national cycle database, the survey covers habits of nearly 1,400 cyclists across the UK including how much they spend on a bike, how they protect it and what their hopes are for cycling.

Theft is most common is from home (61pc) often from a shed or garage, outside shops (18pc) and outside work (11.5pc). The survey shows that of the 1,386 respondents, half, 50pc have had a bike stolen. Of those, more than 43pc have had two bikes or more stolen. The majority of bike theft victims reported their loss to the police. While there were those who felt the police did at least some investigation (37pc), there were others who felt they did not (50pc).

Nick Roach, Police Liaison Officer at BikeRegister, said: “I speak to police officers all over the UK who are frustrated that they can’t effectively investigate cycle theft as many victims are often unable to give them any information other than perhaps the make and colour.”

More than half of the mostly-male respondents use their bike primarily for fitness. While over 40,000 cyclists pledged to commute to work via bike for Cycle to Work Day (, the survey suggests that more than a third already use their bike for daily commuting of up to an hour. It also shows that commuters tend to store their bike outside work (34pc) or inside a secure building (office, garage, shed) at work (46pc). Less than 10pc leave their bike at a transport site.

Spending a considerable sum on a bike is not an issue for many. While the majority (72pc) reveal that they own a bike worth £250-500, around 65pc own one worth £500-1000, while 68pc have spent between £2,000 and 5,000. Insurance is used by 39pc as a ‘security measure’ to protect their bike. Over half have bikes as a named item on an insurance policy. Bikes are typically stored inside the home (34pc), in a garage (31pc) or in a private shed (22pc).

Over 300,000 bike searches are performed on BikeRegister every year, and the register has helped police recover hundreds of stolen bikes to their owners. Nick Roach from BikeRegister said: “BikeRegister acts as a massive deterrent to theft as thieves know a marked bike will prove ownership and be extremely difficult to sell on. In addition to acting as a deterrent, BikeRegister provides the police with a major investigation tool, and facility to get bikes back to their owners because the details are recorded on a secure database, that is accessible to police 24/7.”

The survey shows that 10pc have had their bike recovered. Social media is the most frequent tool used by cyclists to attempt to locate and recover their bike when it is stolen (29pc). 15pc of cyclists said they searched through adverts on Gumtree or Ebay for their stolen bike.

Most bike owners (92pc) report using bike locks to protect their bikes, with the D-lock or shackle lock the most popular, followed by the cable lock. 39pc of cyclists said they use two locks. They lock the front and back wheels and the frame to secure the bikes to something solid and fixed. Nearly 30pc spend £50+ on their main bike lock. GPS trackers were used by 3pc of bike owners to protect their bikes.

Most, 77pc of cyclists who had security marked their bikes used BikeRegister as their chosen system, making it by far the most trusted solution.

Detective Sgt Bob Stokoe of British Transport Police (BTP), said: “We use BikeRegister across the UK rail network to uniquely mark and identify bicycles. It is also used nationwide by the police in investigations, not only to recover bikes to their rightful owners, but also to provide concrete evidence to help us convict bike thieves. By marking and registering your bike on BikeRegister, you are making the investigation into the theft of your bike significantly easier for the police if it was to be stolen.”

Other significant data shows the most common bike colour sought by thieves is black, with Specialized the most targeted cycle brand. London, Oxford and Bristol are among the most targeted cities for bike theft, while east London has a reputation as the bike theft hotspot area of the capital.

Most cycle owners who took the survey are very concerned about security (78pc) and want things to change. To cycle more, bike owners want safer cycle routes (69pc). 42pc want more secure public bike storage and 30pc want fewer vehicles on the road. 40pc of respondents would like to see more bike lockers and secure bike park facilities; and 22pc want harsher penalties for cycle thieves. A lack of road courtesy was the number one complaint (56pc), then poor road conditions (53pc) and dangerously designed roads (35pc).


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