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3 easy ways to prevent bicycle theft
Cycling is a popular and environmentally friendly way of getting from A to B. But, with more than 25,000 bikes stolen each year in Victoria alone1, it pays to understand the most effective ways to prevent theft.
And though removing the risk of theft entirely might be a big ask, there are ways to reduce it.
1. Have a good quality lock (and know how to use it)
This can help deter opportunistic thieves. Some experts even recommend using two locks, especially if you’ll be leaving your bike in a risky area like a busy shopping strip.
You could try pairing a U-lock with a steel chain. U-locks are extremely durable and difficult to cut through. You may find it useful to secure your bike’s frame and one wheel with a U-lock, then thread a steel chain through it and both wheels. Lock your bike to something fixed and sturdy, like a bike rack or pole.
These connect to your smart phone and can include features like wireless locking systems, alarms and GPS tracking. This might come in handy if your bike is stolen, or you’ve forgotten where you parked (we’ve all been there!).
Do your research to find out which type of lock — or combination of locks — is best for you.
2. Be careful where you park
Choosing where to park your bike is an important decision. If you’re parking it in a public place, aim to find a spot that’s well lit and ideally covered by CCTV cameras, which can discourage thieves.
If you’re going to be leaving your bike in one spot regularly, you could ask someone who knows the area — like a local business owner — if some places are more secure than others.
At home, consider bringing your bike inside at night. If it’s outside, keep it locked up.
3. Keep accessories to a minimum
Bike accessories like baskets and saddlebags are handy, but they may also draw unwanted attention to your bike — especially if they’re expensive. If you can, remove accessories from your bike when it’s parked in a public place. This might mean selecting accessories that can be taken off your bike’s frame easily.
How to secure parts
Your bike’s frame is made up of removable parts, such as your handlebars, seat and wheels. Secure them by replacing quick-release levers with mechanisms that require a key to be unlocked and removed, or covering hex bolts so they can’t be tampered with.
If you’re unsure about what to do, try chatting with someone who knows their stuff or visiting your local bike shop.
Tips to aid recovery
- When you purchase your bike, take pictures of it and any of its unique features. This can help you to prove ownership if you ever need to make an insurance claim.
- Make sure your bike has a unique feature or two so it’s easy to identify. You might engrave your name on the bottom of the frame or spray it with microdots.
- Report the theft to the police. If you’re planning to claim your stolen bike on your insurance policy, you’ll need to include a copy of a police report when you provide the details.
Make sure you’re covered
Insuring your bike can give you the confidence of knowing you can replace it if it’s affected by an insured event — including theft.
If you’re an AAMI Home and Contents Insurance customer, you can add Portable Valuables Cover to your policy. It provides accidental loss and damage coverage for the belongings you take with you away from home, including your bike (provided you don’t use it for racing!).
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance.
This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.