Will a compulsory registration scheme deter cycle thefts
Cycles Thefts Would Registration Help?
In the UK there are in the region of 300,000 cycles stolen each year this equates to approximately one every couple of minutes.
Cycle theft claims present both a problem for us in the Insurance industry, with many insurers unwilling to insure cycles over a certain value and for cyclists who have to suffer the inconvenience of losing a cycle and having to wait for an insurer to settle a claim (if they actually do have insurance at all.)
At Assetsure, we do offer a stand-alone cycle insurance policy with a sum insured for a hire bike but most cyclists would rather not suffer having the inconvenience and annoyance of having their cycle stolen in the first place.
Preventing Cycle Theft
Good quality locks with a Sold Secure rating do help prevent theft and it most cases they’re a condition of an insurance policy and new style locks including those that render the cycle unusable if theft is attempted are starting to appear on the market.
However in France they are considering a compulsory scheme which it is believed would cut theft by using a motor vehicle-style ownership certificate. As a secondary benefit it is thought that this might encourage more people to take up cycling. The Guardian Newspaper reports that French cyclists would have to register their bikes on a national database under a proposed law aimed at increasing cycle use and reducing thefts.
Bike owners would be given a “certificate of ownership” similar to car documents to be either presented to the police if the bicycle is stolen or transferred with the bike when it is sold.
As well as this it is proposed that each frame would be marked “in a readable, indelible, permanent and unforgeable way in a clearly visible place”. The registration number will be in a form that can be verified by an optical reader.
The proposal is part of a 25-point, €350m (£308m) “Plan Vélo” to be unveiled by the government before the end of the year. The aim of the French government is to triple short cycle rides by the year 2024
In essence this seems like a good idea, if cycles were marked in an indelible way it would provide a worthwhile deterrent against theft. Also a log book as proof of ownership may have some benefits but if a similar scheme were to be considered in the UK, some thought needs to be applied to when and where would it need to be produced: at the point of sale ? If the cycle was stolen? If challenged by the police?
We are also not sure that the prospect of Cycle Theft does deter anyone from buying a cycle, in our view anyone worried about an event incurring would simply try to buy insurance against such an event. Of course there is always the option of catching the persons actually stealing the cycles and the attendant networks involved in disposing of them