Did you know over 50,000 motorcycles are stolen annually in the U.S. alone? Are you taking the proper precautions to deter the theft of your bike? Are you prepared in the event your bike is stolen? Are you properly insured? These are all great questions every bike owner should ask themselves. This article will help you determine if you’re doing the right things to prevent the theft of your bike.
The location and the length of time you will be leaving your motorcycle unattended are the primary factors in determining how much security should be used. It basically all comes down to statistics. The more people that see your bike unattended the great the chance that one of those people is interested and has the necessary tools and skills to steal your bike. So it makes sense that the longer you plan to leave your motorcycle unattended the more security you should have, especially if you’re planning on leaving your bike unattended at night. The location you plan on leaving your bike is also a very important factor. As a general rule, the more populated the area the more security you need. This also applies when on the road and when traveling. For example if you have your bike on a trailer parked next to a busy street or highway you may want to consider using more security.
Deterrents & Prevention: Many motorcycles have factory locks on the ignition as well as the forks which are a good start, but as a general rule the more visible security you have on your bike, the less likely it is that you will be a target of theft. Most would be thieves are looking for an easy score, so if it’s obvious your bike is properly secured its much less likely you’ll be a victim of theft or even attempted theft which could result in damage to your bike.
There are a lot of different styles of locks out there such as chains, u-locks, brake disc locks, etc. so you’ll want to make sure you do your research before purchasing but we’ve provided some helpful insights below:
- Chains: Chains are an excellent method of deterrent and prevention when used properly. When purchasing a chain make sure that it’s designed for the job. Buying a cheap chain at the hardware store that can be easily cut by bolt cutters will not be very helpful. Make sure you’re buying a proper shackle or lock as well. Your security is only as good as its weakest link so if you buy a nice chain and a cheap lock you’ve done yourself no favors. Secure the chain to a non-removable part of the bike such as the frame. Wheels can be removed in a fairly short amount of time. If you have to secure it to a wheel, the rear wheel is a better option than the front. Make to avoid securing the other end of your chain to items that can be easily cut or moved such as wooden posts or chain link fences. Try to find a permanent object. Although chains are probably one of the best theft prevention devices the down side of using a chain is that they tend to be bulky and heavy.
- U-Locks: U-Locks are not as secure as a properly used chain, but they are considerably lighter weight and less bulky. When using a U-Lock you’ll want to lock around the most solid part of your tires rim, not a spoke or spindle which could be easily cut. Since rims and tires are all different sizes and widths you’ll want to make sure you’re buying a U-Lock that will fit your bike. Again locking your rear tire is better than your front, but may not always be possible due to the size of the rear tire on some motorcycles. As always you’ll want to look for a U-Lock with solid manufacturing that can’t be easily busted or cut by bolt cutters.
- Brake Disc Locks: Brake disc locks are excellent lightweight and compact options. Although not as secure as a good chain they do provide a convenient security option. As always when choosing a brake disc lock, make sure you look for one with sturdy construction that will fit your motorcycle.
- Factory & Aftermarket Alarms: Factory & aftermarket alarms that draw attention to your bike with noise and flashing lights are also good theft deterrents. These systems should be used as a last resort though, as they are usually not a visible feature to the casual onlooker and require the would be thief to do something to your bike in order to be set off which could involve damage.
A few other helpful lock up tips:
- Lock your motorcycle in an area where there are other motorcycles.
- Do not lock your motorcycle in the same location all the time.
- Use a reminder cable or other device to prevent riding away with the lock still engaged.
- Always secure accessories and components that can be easily removed (i.e. helmets, jackets, etc).
Recovery & Insurance: Did you know that a motorcycle is stolen about every 10 minutes in the U.S.? Worse yet, typical recovery rates are as low as 25-30%. Fortunately with today’s technology there are relatively inexpensive ways to tag and track your motorcycle in the event of a theft. Many GPS tracking systems are small and sturdy allowing you to hide them about anywhere and track the exact location of your bike in real-time. You should however never try to recover a stolen motorcycle on your own. Alert the proper authorities and provide them with the necessary information. As with any product make sure you do your research before purchasing a tracking system. Make sure to check not only the price tag, but also whether there are any monthly or annual fees.
Insurance is another key component in protecting your bike. Even if you are able to prevent the theft of your bike or recover you bike in the event of a theft there may be damage done in the process. Check with your insurance agent to make sure you are properly covered in the event of theft or attempted theft.