What should I do if a thief tries to steal my motorcycle or 'bikejack' me?

Thefts of motorcycles and scooters - including 'bikejacking' - remains rife across the country... but what should you do if you are targeted?


'Bikejacking': It’s a sad story that the act of stealing somebodies’ wheels while they are riding is so prevalent in the UK’s capital.

Sadly, this violent and serious crime is spreading further afield.

While it may sound sensationalist to say that 'bikejacking' is spreading, but it is certainly a more commonly committed crime now compared with five or ten years ago.

Go back to 2015 and you’d never see criminals in cities like Manchester or Birmingham, attacking motorcycle locks with grinders and hammers in broad daylight. Sadly, the brazen acts of criminals in the UK’s capital, and the financial rewards they bring, has meant that these crimes have spread.

There are though a few things to do to increase your chances of keeping hold of your pride and joy and getting out of the situation unscathed.

There isn’t any point flying into a blind panic every time someone on a scooter joins you at a junction. If you do that, especially in a city like London, you’re gonna crash and it won’t do your stress levels any good whatsoever.

How do I spot a potential bikejacker?

First off, you must have an idea what to look for, and once you know, they’re easy to spot. A bike jacker is not going to work alone. Most will hunt in a pack, three or four bikes or big scooters and maybe a car too. Motorcycles can be easy to spot as they’ll be a rider and pillion, sometimes in helmets but maybe just balaclavas. As they are literally on a hunt you might see that the rider and pillion are looking around erratically. Some will have the number plates fitted although most do away with them.

I know this goes without saying but be ultra-observant, especially in a bike crime hotspot. Look as far down the road as you can and, if it’s safe to do so, have a look at what’s coming towards you. If you see someone coming the other way who could be a risk, start to think about what to do, but don’t panic. If you don’t remain calm you increase the chances of crashing.

Keep an eye on your mirrors too, the threat may be behind you as well as in front. If you see potential hazards in front and behind, try not to get boxed in and always keep something between you and the bad guys.

I was tailed by some blokes on a Yamaha T-MAX last year, and what drew my attention was the pillion tapping the rider on the shoulder and pointing at my bike. It was just as I had gone past them that I caught them in my peripheral vision. Little signs can help you spot potential risks earlier and give you that extra bit of time to make your escape.

Where should I go if bikejackers are following me?

Have a route in mind or a destination that you want to reach. It’s no good just riding round blindly, you’ll soon find yourself going the wrong way down a one-way street or stuck in a dead end. Think of a place that could provide you with some safety and try to get there. While you’re riding there keep an eye out for police cars, even if it’s going the wrong way, double back and follow it. Anyone who’s up to no good isn’t going to like following a police car for very long.

Try and avoid hitting a dead end and keep the bike moving, even slowly. Filtering through traffic only to get boxed in behind a lorry is like asking for them to pull you off your bike.

Where is safe to go?

The obvious safe havens are police stations. Even if there are no police outside the building, ride your bike as close to the door, remove your lid (to show that you’re not a threat) and bang on the window signalling for help. You’ll quickly get a response.

Hospitals and A&E are a fairly safe bet, with a large number of CCTV cameras and security guards. It might provide enough of a show of force that they give up and head the other way. A fire station may also be a good bet if there is one on your route.

If none of the above are available there are some other good Samaritans you could call upon. Quite often bike couriers, especially in London, will have spots where they hang out and drink coffee between deliveries.

Fast food places like McDonalds are packed with Deliveroo, Uber Eats and other food couriers nowadays too. Find out where they are in your area and if you need to – head there. Pull up and beep your horn, flip your visor up and shout to them what’s happening. There aren’t many people who hate these types of criminals as much as couriers, and if there is enough of them, they might provide you some safety.