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Thieves get on someone else’s bike once every 71 seconds

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Bicycle thieves are stealing a bike every 71 seconds and took machines to the value of £146m in a 12-month period 2005-06, according to Halifax Insurance.

The insurer said that 439,000 bikes were taken during the period, a 10% increase on the previous year. The hotspot for thefts was central London, overtaking the previous centre of saddle-swipers, Kingston-upon-Thames.

The pedalling pilferers are enjoying a boom in business in central London, as the terrorist bombings of July 2005 led to a massive surge in bike users unable or unwilling to use the tube and who now prefer to risk the roads.

Kingston also recorded the highest value of machine lost to the two-wheeled takers – £420.03 per bike, with the average claim in London coming in at £342.58.

Less than one in nine bikes were stolen by the Raleigh rustlers having been locked up in a public place, 10% had been left unlocked in public places and 1% were stolen from the owner’s home or garden.

Vicky Emmott of Halifax Home Insurance said the figures were “astounding” and that the trend towards more cycling would inevitably lead to a proliferation of crossbar criminals dedicated to relieving cyclists of their pride and joy.

“Cyclists should check their home and contents insurance to see if they are covered if they lost their bike,” she said.

“With the majority of thefts coming from bikes that have been placed under lock and key, it may be worth considering spending a little more money for a high-security lock that might have a better chance of deterring a thief,” she added.





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