Motorcycle Theft - There for the taking

"Brand new R1, one stupid owner, free to anyone with bolt croppers and a van..." Bike theft isn't going away, but things are changing - and you can at least do something about it

Bikes are fast, sexy, liberating and, above all, damned good fun. Sadly they stop being all of the above when they're nicked. And it's a growth industry for those on the wrong side of the law.

The proof of this distasteful pudding is that bike theft costs insurers Carole Nash £7.5 million each year. Little wonder when you realise a motorcycle or scooter is stolen every 16 minutes in the UK. More than 54,000 two-wheelers are stolen every year, of which more than 60 per cent are scooters.
More bikes than cars are stolen too. In 2003, 1 in 100 registered cars were stolen; the figure for bikes is four times that.

According to Government records, only four per cent of bikes stolen are recovered compared to 79 per cent of cars, while small bikes (under 125cc), less than five years old, suffer a theft rate as high as 85 in 1000. In fact, thefts of small bikes account for 60 per cent of all bike thefts even though they only make up 26 per cent of bikes on the road. Hardly comforting, is it?

Worse still, 80 per cent of thefts are from owners' homes, whether the bike is garaged or not, and on average it takes a professional thief just 20 seconds to steal your bike. A fact made even easier when you realise half the riding population still don't lock their bikes...

The most stolen bike of 2006? Yamaha's R1, followed by Honda's CBR600 and Yamaha's R6. Oh, and if you want to know the worst time for bike theft, it's any Sunday in May, according to the stats.

London unsurprisingly tops the geographic theft league table, followed by the north west of England, Dartford, Sunderland, Northants and Hull.

Gawd. Things look pretty awful. But fear not, because over the following pages we've canvassed opinion from every side of the theft issue, so read on, arm yourself with the essential facts needed to keep your bike out of enemy hands.

Continue There for the taking 2/3

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