Safeguarding your cycle

Bicycles are reported lost or stolen every day, causing distress and inconvenience to the owners.

The good news is that many of them turn up at police stations, thanks to honest members of the public. The bad news is that a large number of them end up in property disposal auctions because their owners cannot be traced.

This is what you can do to protect yourbicycle:

  • Keep a record of the make, model and colour of your bike in a safe place. Turn the cycle upside down and look for the frame number on the hub, where the pedals are attached. If the worst happens and your bike goes missing, this information can be made available to every officer in the area through the computerised recording system.

  • Consider marking cycles with your postcode or a unique reference number.

Specialist kits, meeting the British Standard for property marking, are available and, with visible warning stickers, can be a deterrent to thieves. Some shops and suppliers keep a computer database so stolen or lost bikes can be checked by police and potential buyers.

Advice for keeping your bike safe

  • Use a good quality chain and padlock to secure your bike through the frame, even if you’re only leaving it for a short time in a public place. Chain the bike to a secure item such as a metal fence or lamp post

  • There are many chain and padlock kits on sale and always buy the best you can afford. Seek out the Sold Secure logo, which shows testing has been carried out independently by the Master Locksmiths’ Association

  • Ask your cycle dealer for Sold Secure products or visit the Secured By Design website (see link) and look up ‘licence holders’ for details

  • Remove accessories, such as lights, and wheels, if you’re leaving the bike for a period of time. Obviously it’s hard to carry a wheel with you, but it is a useful security method if you travel to work by bike and can store the wheel indoors

  • Put your bike in a secure place at night. If you have a garage or shed, consider installing a ground or wall anchorage point so the bike can be securely fastened by a chain or ‘D’ lock.  Sheds can be difficult to secure properly, so provide extra interior security

  • Consider fitting a shed alarm, available from most DIY stores, and improve the exterior lighting around your home to deter thieves

  • Chain several items together in the shed or garage, such as a cycle, lawnmower and hedge-cutters. This makes it difficult for the thief to carry any of them away

  • Encourage others to follow your example. A bike is usually a child’s prized possession and having it stolen is a hard lesson. Encourage them to put the bike away when they’re not using it and not to leave it in the garden. Involve them in choosing security items for the bike. If it's a present, buy the security as an extra gift, rather than afterwards when it may be too late

  • If you have a cycle carrier on your car and regularly use it, make sure you don't leave the car and bikes in isolated places.Park in the busiest areas of car parks where lighting and visibility are good. Look for the Park Mark logo.

  • Never leave bikes unattended on the rear of vehicles in car parks or service stations. If you have to leave them unattended make sure they’re well-secured with good cabling and locks and that the carrier itself cannot be removed easily. Try backing up against a wall or fence so they’re not accessible.