Keeping Bicycles Safe in the Home
Looking after Bicycles in the Home Cycling, is without doubt becoming more popular, many of us have switched on to cycling as a method of staying healthy, whilst others have acquired a bicycle, as they are more environmentally friendly and the ever increasing cost of petrol makes motoring more expensive, especially over short distances. Latest estimates suggest, there as many as five million pedal cycles now in the United Kingdom with higher numbers in the cities as commuters battle against congested road, congestion charges and parking problems. However, the increase in bicycle ownership has lead to a massive upsurge in bicycle thefts, they are easy targets for thieves and can be sold on very quickly. The modern bicycle is light and expensive and Government figures show that more than 150,000 bicycles are stolen every year in the UK, and only 15% are ever recovered. However, it’s not just bicycles away from the home that are at risk, statistics show that across the country more than half of all bicycle thefts take place from the owner’s property.
Pedal cycles, can usually be insured under your home insurance contract on an ‘All Risks’ basis. However, extending your cover can be quite expensive as some insurers charge fairly hefty premiums in view of the fact that large numbers of pedal cycles are stolen everyday. Always check the scope of cover and any restrictions of cycle value. Even with the benefit of insurance, it is still better to take some simple precautions to keep your cycle safe, if you are forced to make a claim under your home insurance policy, it could affect your no claims bonus which will of course result in an increased premium.
Tips for Cycle Protection
- Firstly, take out insurance. Most insurers will add a Pedal Cycle to the All Risks section of a home insurance policy. Prices will vary from insurer to insurer and you will probably have to pay the first portion of any loss. Always study the terms and conditions of cover carefully.
- When you first obtain your bicycle, make a note of all of it’s unique numbers, these will be supplied by the manufacturer. Keep these in a safe place along with some photos of the cycle.
- Register your bicycle, there are a number of schemes available, one is www.bikeregister.com. You can resister your cycle for a small fee and your cycle will appear on the register and you can mark it up as stolen. You also have the option of buying a marking and tagging kit.
- Mark you bicycle with a police approved marking kit. Thieves dislike cycles that have been marked or tagged as they know they can easily be traced. Your cycle shop or the police should be able to assist you with more information.
When you cycle is at Home – as mentioned above, as much as 50% of pedal cycles are stolen from home, and it here that security is often at it’s weakest. Cycles are often left in a front garden, unlocked or kept in a garden shed with little or no extra security. In the summer months, it’s quite usual for children just leave cycles on the lawn from day to day. In recent years, thieves have started to target more and more domestic outbuildings as homeowners have made it more difficult to break in to the main residence. If the cycle is the only thing of value you have in the garden shed, then that is what will be stolen. Try to keep the cycle out of sight and if it cant be kept in doors, then in an outbuilding fitted with good quality locks. You may like to consider installing an ‘Anchor Point’ secured onto a wall or into the floor to provide a fixed point to lock your bike.. Bikes are often stolen from sheds and garages even though they were locked, just not locked to immovable.
When you are away from the Home
- The golden rule is, always lock your bicycle, even if you are just leaving it for a couple of minutes whilst popping in to a shop. If it’s not locked, there is strong chance it will be stolen by an opportunist thief.
- Try to avoid isolated places; leave your bike where it can be seen by passers by at all times.
- Fit your cycle with a good quality lock.
- Lock your cycle to an object that cant be moved – a cycle rack for example, drainpipes and signs can quite easily be overcome by thieves.
- Make sure the lock and cycle are hard to move around when left unattended, don’t let the lock drop near the ground as thieves can smash them off.
- Make sure all removable parts are secure or removed.
Types of Locks – there is a accreditation scheme for cycle locks, operated under the name ‘SOLD SECURE”. Sold Secure is dedicated to reducing the risk of cycle crime by the careful assessment of security products. Sold Secure was originally established in 1992 as a collaboration between Northumbria & Essex Police forces with help from the Government. The scheme is now administered by the Master Locksmiths Association who are a non profit organisation operating from their own independent testing base. Devices are submitted to Sold Secure by manufacturers for testing and they can choose to award one of three different levels depending on how secure the lock is. There are a variety of tests employed using a selection of different tools and the time taken to break in, is carefully noted. The award is granted according to how many of these set tests a lock withstands. Bronze is the lowest award and Gold is the highest. A gold award does not mean that the lock is unbreakable, just that it withstood all the Sold Secure tests within the allocated time. Types of cycle lock include the following:-
- Cable Locks
- Chain Locks
- Armoured Locks
- Shackle Locks ( D or U) either single or double or mechanism.
Your cycle shop should be able to advise you on a suitable product after you have discussed your requirements.