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Carole Nash Motorcycle Theft Survey Highlights London

By: | Published 13 July 2011, 16:32 | Views: 8,382 | tags: motorbikes, scooters, thefts, incentives, carole nash, insurance, dealers, brokers, premiums, london, risk, assessments, padlocks, chains, trackers
London bikers are most at risk of having their motorcycle stolen with those living in the South West of the capital suffering theft rates nearly five times the UK average according to new data published by the UK’s biggest motorcycle insurance specialist.

The publication of Carole Nash’s annual Motorcycle Theft Survey follows a warning from the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group that bike thefts rates are rising and now cost an estimated £105m annually. It also follows reports that the Metropolitan Police’s Stole Vehicle Unit, one of the last remaining in Britain, is set to be disbanded following budget cuts.

The survey pinpoints the nation’s hotspots by comparing the number of theft claims Carole Nash received against the number of bikers it insures in each area of the country. The results show massive variations in risk with London boroughs occupying nine of the top ten worst hit areas.

Bikers in South West London, who topped the table, were found to suffer a theft rate over 30 times higher than those in low risk areas such as Shrewsbury or Bath. Outside of London the highest rates were found in Huddersfield – the only provincial entry in the top ten – Edinburgh, Halifax, Dundee and Manchester. The highest climber in the league of 116 main postcode areas was Walsall, the West Midlands town leaping 71 places from 90 th to 19 th .

To see how bikers fared in your area view the full league table at

“We’ve been conducting this research for a number of years now and the London boroughs have consistently suffered the highest theft rates. The message could not be clearer to bikers in these high risk areas that they must minimise the dangers they face by investing in effective security devices and choosing sensible places to park” commented Carole Nash’s commercial director, Simon Jackson. “It also highlights the need for local authorities and private sector providers to increase the availability of dedicated secure motorcycle parking facilities.”

The company said that whilst most bikers took sensible precautions against theft, some were less diligent.
“At the end of the day a determined thief will move hell and high water to steal a high value bike, even dismantling a garage breezeblock by breezeblock. But a lot of thefts are simply opportunistic and some bikers are guilty of creating opportunity,” explained Jackson.

The Carole Nash research comes in the wake of similar findings by the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group which has reported that 50 percent of all thefts occurred in London. The MCRG - which includes representatives from the police, insurers, security companies and bike manufacturers - has expressed concern that motorcycle theft has increased. Analysing data from the Police National Computer it found that in 2009 nearly 26,000 bikes were stolen.

“ Compared to other automotive sectors motorcycle theft is rising, especially when taking into account the number of new machines being registered these days ” commented MCRG chairman, Kevin Howells. “Using PNC data, on average there are 77 motorcycles and scooters being stolen every day which creates a massive financial bill for riders, manufacturers, dealers, finance companies and insurers and can deter people from continuing to ride or even taking up two wheels, precisely at a time when the industry is working so hard to raise awareness and highlight the benefits including lower costs and convenience that biking offers over other forms of transport.”

Jackson agreed saying:

“Much of the bill is borne by insurers and, ultimately, by bikers in the premiums they pay so it is in all our interests to tackle the theft problem”.

He offered a range of tips to help reduce theft risk and minimise insurance costs.

  • Spend as much as you can afford on insurance approved security devices like ground anchors, tagging systems and immobilisers. As well as helping protect your machine they should earn you a welcome discount on your insurance (Carole Nash offer up to 10 percent off).
  • Garage it. If you can, try to keep your bike out of sight in a locked garage. If you must leave it on a driveway fit a ground anchor and use a cover.
  • Be careful where you park. With too few designated secure motorcycle parking facilities, the onus is on you. Choose a well lit, highly visible public area, preferably covered by CCTV.
  • Lock it to an immovable object. Organised thieves often simply lift bikes off the pavement and spirit them away in the back of a van. Don’t make it easy for them – secure your bike to an immovable object using a hefty lock, and use an ear-splitting alarm that’ll rattle their cages.
  • Whenever possible keep locks and chains off the floor – this will prevent thieves from smashing them on tarmac or concrete with a lump hammer.
  • If there are a few of you riding, lock your bikes together. There’s safety in numbers.

The Carole Nash survey also revealed which types of bikers suffered the highest theft rates. Perhaps unsurprisingly scooters and mopeds were most favoured by thieves. They were almost twice as likely to be stolen as tourers which were least at risk of all motorcycle types.

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Jay | 13 July 2011, 21:02
It's really good, if somewhat depressing to see things like this. We've known for some time that bike theft is at epidemic levels in London, and the thieves are only getting it easier with austerity measures and an all too lenient justice system.

Bikers need educating about the risks of theft. I see far too many bikes unprotected and just playing the numbers game in London, waiting to be stolen.

This is why we launched our effort.

aloysius | 17 July 2011, 12:46
I live in SW London and had a bike stolen on Friday (the second R1 I've lost in the last 4 years). However, whilst I live in SW London, and doubtless my insurer regards that as the address that will be sued in any survey, both bikes have NOT been stolen from my home address. I am pretty confident that the security where I live is more than adequate.

The issue is when I use my bike to commute. Let's face it that is why there are so many bikers in London and more importantly why so many bikes get stolen. You can have all the ground anchors, garages, etc you want, but when you have no choice but to use overcrowded bike bays in and around the centre of London it is simply not possible to chain your bike to an immovable object.

I strongly disagree with the Carole Nash survey "Much of the bill is borne by insurers" - rubbish! As the second half of the sentence correctly states the cost is well and truly passed on the the insured. The insurance industry is ultimately profitable, as are the bike manufacturers and all the hangers on (so many livelihoods depend on crime - police, layers, judges, etc). Something needs to be done - certainly not disbanding vehicle crime units!

One final observation for Jay and indeed anyone else - please can you come up with suggestions to really stop thefts from motorcycle bays happening. I would love to be bale to secure my bike - in the past I have paid to park in 'secure' NCP car parks (although they actually don't have ground anchors either). I am at the point where I am sadly thinking that it is no longer viable to own a bike in London (certainly not to use it for commuting).

Jay | 17 July 2011, 14:17
You're right aloysius. I've had three motorcycles stolen in London over the years and suffered a huge financial cost as a result. The increased premiums or the money lost on items not insured (people only tend to insure for the bike, not the mods).

One goal of SVD is to collect enough information to show what works and doesn't work from a security pov, and to educate people on how to improve the chances of keep their bike.

Mutley10G | 08 March 2012, 21:42
This is a massive nightmare. I'm trying to insure a Daytona for SW London and coming up against the highest premiums I could imagine.

The bike thieves are running riot, and nothing is stopping them.

We have to have a campaign to nick the thieves (geddit?) - trackers, alarms, cameras, whatever - but take them out of commission and make it more expensive for them to operate than for us to insure!

Biker Mike | 30 April 2012, 21:10
Sent the following to both the popular motorcycling press (mild interest but overall, no take up) and the local constabulary crime prevention (no reply whatsoever).

After several years without a bike, I've very recently bought a new Honda and I'm now recognising a distinct lack of suitable security chain anchor points around my local bike parking areas. So after giving the problem a bit of thought, I wanted to see if it was worth pushing an initiative I'm suggesting be called the The Chainlink Scheme.

OK, this might not be a new idea, but on the other hand....hopefully, it will prevent some unnecessary bike thefts.

To reiterate, the problem as I see it is that in many instances, individuals park up their bikes but struggle to find anything substantial enough to secure a chain to and consequently, simply run their security chain-loop through the back wheel spokes and hope this is sufficient to prevent a wheel-away robbery.

My idea is that bikes belonging to individuals participating in The Chainlink Scheme can be recognised by a discrete sticker about the size of a postage stamp showing the words Chainlink Scheme (or the letters CS) on a background image of chainlink fencing, ideally placed somewhere near the vehicle registration plate.

As a participant, if you park next to another recognised participant's bike and there's no obvious static anchor point nearby that you could loop your security chain through, you are permitted to loop your security chain through that of the other participant, thereby effectively preventing yours, or the other person's bike being carried off (or wheeled away with the back wheel sat on a skateboard for example).

There are a few simple ground-rules to the scheme of course.

1/ Participants DO NOT loop through a non-participant's security chain-loop (old school etiquette).
2/ Another participants bike MUST NOT be moved to facilitate looping your security chain through theirs.
3/ Participants MUST NOT padlock their security chain to another participants security chain in such a way as to prevent or impede the other participant removing their own security chain and riding away should they wish to do so.
4/ Participants can ONLY link by passing their security chains through another participants security chain-loop, NOT BY LINKING TO ANY OTHER PART of the other participant's bike.

If you support this idea, I'm hoping you would consider producing the stickers (preferably in foil) and providing them as a free giveaway, along with a short piece on the scheme outlining the benefits, etc. I'd prefer this not to be specific to any single publication, but to be seen more as a National initiative.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Let me know what you think.

Mutley10 | 25 June 2012, 11:10
@ Biker Mike

Having finally found insurance (high-rise but digestible with a dose of Tums), I have my bike out and about.

Given the importance of securing bikes, I'm sure no-one would be fussed if all you're doing is looping through their chain. Does nothing to them. You could provide sticker packs to attach to their chain saying "I'm doing this because ... and you should do it too ..."

I'd say the goal has to be this: Make London a bike theft desert - just zero opportunity, anywhere, anytime. Any unprotected bike should get a sticky envelope containing information in a simple form saying why they should invest in security - for them, and for everyone else.

As thefts drop, the capabilities of the thieves' community will reduce, and they'll move on to other targets.

I'm going to implement a campaign in my particular postcode to push bike theft off the map - zero crime.

Even a professional hit can be deterred, but a lot of thefts seem to be opportunistic, and I'd say by amateurs / teenagers. The police don't particularly want to chase up (I'm wondering if there is a public policy issue here, as in arresting and prosecuting youths is counter to some kind of prevailing theory that the governing bodies should work to keep people from being labelled for life as criminals).

Here's how it might work:

Leaflet bikes, work your mates with bikes, and get everyone to invest in security that prevents theft. They can also work together to respond to alerts (passive response, non-engagement with the perpetrators is vital otherwise something bad will happen and public policy will interfere - i.e. no vigilante justice!)

Use products like DNA+ from Carole Nash to contaminate the thieves, and push the police to interview "likely suspects" and check them for the DNA+

Gather evidence and if the police won't prosecute (or the CPS, or whoever), then pursue a CIVIL lawsuit for damage / loss - this does not result in a criminal record, it has a lower burden of proof, and sets up a control on the identified thief.

Start at one point, on one road, and push outward in a circle, so that word gets out and thieves don't bother any more.

They need to think "if I touch that, if I so much as look at it, I'm busted"
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