Pandemic bike theft warning
Insurance claims for bike thefts are rocketing despite a fall in general theft claims as more people use, or buy, bikes during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Admiral.
The news comes as several cycle retailers report that they’ve sold out of many models as more people buy bikes to keep active.
Admiral has seen a 46% increase in the number of bicycle theft claims over the past seven weeks compared with the same period in 2019.
Overall theft claims have fallen in the same period as people staying at home during lockdown deter burglars.
David Fowkes, head of household underwriting at Admiral, said: “Unfortunately, this probably means that thieves are looking for easier targets and the rise of budding cycling enthusiasts around the country might be the opportunity they’re looking for. Our data shows just how more common bike theft has been during the lockdown; in the last seven weeks, 37% of the theft claims we’ve received were for stolen pedal bikes, compared with just 12% last year.
“We’re warning all cyclists, whether they’ve been cycling for years or have just bought their first bike, to be vigilant, keep an eye out for thieves and step up their bike security. With people being encouraged to avoid public transport where they can as lockdown restrictions ease, we could see a second surge in bike purchases, and consequently, bike thefts.”
Bike owners should check if their bike is covered on their home insurance. With Admiral any bike worth less than £350 is automatically covered, but bikes costing more than this need be added as a specified item.
How to keep your bike safe from thieves
- Buy a decent bike lock – but remember that you get what you pay for.
- Always use the lock when you leave your bike unattended away from home.
- Lock your bike to a solid, immoveable object such as railings or a proper bike rack.
- Make sure it’s locked in a well-lit, preferably busy area covered by CCTV.
- Never leave your bike unsecured outside your home, even on your own property.
- At home always lock your bike away when it’s not being used.
- Register your bike with a national scheme such as Immobilise or the Bike Register.
- Take photographs of the bike, including any distinctive marks or features on it – just in case the worst happens.