Motor vehicle theft is serious business. A multi-billion dollar international industry that takes advantage of every make, model and price point. We’ve talked about how to keep your car safe in the past, but motorcycles and bicycles have their own unique concerns. Two wheelers—whether fossil fueled or human powered—are particularly choice targets for thieves. They transport relatively easily, break down for parts quickly, and have a fast turnaround time for black/gray market resale.
Losing either can hurt, too. Some bikes cost thousands of dollars, and motorcycles have a way of becoming a lifestyle more than a mode of transportation. So how do you keep your baby safe? We’ll start by talking about some general approaches that apply to both before we move on to their unique needs:
Create barriers between your bike and thieves.
The safest place is inside a secured garage, but something as simple as keeping your ride out of sight and behind a locked gate helps. Thieves tend to select targets of convenience, so make your stuff difficult to access.
Chain your bike to something.
A tree, a 4×4 set in concrete, a bolt drilled into your driveway. There are a lot of possibilities, so find one that works for your situation.
Don’t leave things with your bike.
Take your sidesaddles and bags in with you at night. Accessories and items left in or on the bike can attract unsavory characters, as well.
Well lit areas can help.
Security lights, particularly motion activated ones, are your friends. Solar powered lights are fairly inexpensive and easy to install, so get one.
Watch when and where you ride. Bikers and bicyclists have been targeted by car/bike jackers in the past, so make sure you’re exercising good situational awareness and avoid places where crimes happen.
- Buy a good lock and good chain. Cheap combo locks are ridiculously easy to pick—a quick search on YouTube produces dozens of tutorials. Spend some money and buy quality.
- Use that lock. Every time you leave your bike. No exceptions. I don’t care if you’ll be inside “for just a second.” That’s about how long it takes an errant teenager to decide to go joy-riding.
- Make sure you lock through both your front tire and the frame. Stealing relatively expensive tires and rims can be pretty lucrative for some folks.
- Bicycles are easily portable. Take yours inside your apartment or house when not in use. That’ll cover 80% of your security concerns.
- Put it in a garage. This may seem redundant as I’ve mentioned it before, but a really easy way to steal a motorcycle is to pull up beside it with a trailer or truck and have a couple of guys load it in and drive off. Quick, easy, and attracts very little attention.
- Lock your ignition. The majority of motorcycle thefts happen when folks fail to do so. Head this mistake off at the pass and get in the habit of doing it every time.
- Watch the weather. We’ve talked about the role of weather in crime before, and most motorcycle thefts happen during warmer months, when riders are on the road and thieves don’t have to fight the cold. More bikes out means more bike thieves looking.
- Lock your disk breaks and install a hidden kill switch. If a thief tries to hot-wire your ride, they’ll get an unpleasant surprise.
Summer’s almost here, and that’s prime bike-riding time. Get out there and enjoy it, secure that you’ve taken steps to secure your means of transportation.