London bike secuity

We’ve started talking about bicycle commuting. One of the prime concerns, especially for new commuters is keeping your bike secure while you’re at work. More companies are making it a priority to have secure and covered bike parking, in fact in Cambridge, MA – where Montague Bikes is based – there are excellent company incentives for doing just that. How is it in other places?

So, I’m new to commuting, I have a new bike to ride. I’m working on my preferred routes to and from work so I can stay safe, how do I protect my bicycle? How do I protect my investment? This may be the next line of thinking.

On Bike Theft

Recently done for in NYC the New York Times, in London a similar demonstration was filmed. Parts one and two combined are 25 minutes long, but well worth the watch. London sees over 80 bikes stolen every day. The investigators purchased three bikes and locked them in different locations in central London, with different kinds of locks. They found, just as another investigative team found in New York, that they were able to “steal” each of their own three bikes, using different tools in broad daylight without anyone bothering a second glance.

Just another reason to bring it inside.

The Investigation

If you ever have had a bike stolen, the following scene synopses may bring some solace to your heart:

-London police put together a set-up with a locked bait bike under surveillance by live officers on the scene. They were able to apprehend a young man, an admitted serial bike thief, and he ended up with six months imprisonment.

-One serial bike thief in particular, with over 92 bicycles to count, was finally caught.

-The place to find your stolen bike in London? Brick Lane.

The investigators went in, purchased a brand new road bike below cost that seemed like it must have been stolen. By looking online they were able to find it’s proper owner. He was very surprised to see his bike again, and most of us are never that lucky. In England less than 5% of stolen bikes are reunited with their owners.

-Like in previous articles where the author used the GPS tracker, here the London investigation team did as well. They were able to follow their bait bicycles by GPS units stored in the saddle. The first thief – a bicycle taken from next to Waterloo station – kept the bike and returned it when confronted. The second bike was purchased off the street by an unknowing young man, who was shocked to discover it was stolen.

Bigger Issues

The London team reported that a third of bike theft victims cycle less often and a quarter give up all together. These are obviously not encouraging statistics; the purpose of these investigations, of this post, is to help bike commuters – especially new ones – to understand how important it is to keep bike security in our thoughts as we cycle around our cities and towns.

The author of the New York Times article mentioned previously, said in all of his years in New York the only real thing he came to believe in was storing the bicycle indoors. That way it is removed from the street as a target of theft, it is not out there for the taking.

Protect your investment, protect your transit. Take your bike inside, fold it up, bring it in.

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