Young hipster style man posing with bicycle on the street sport style picture handsome guy with red backpack ready for trip


The beauty of cycling is that it’s accessible for many people whether it’s via two wheels or sometimes three. For some, they’re weekday commuters to the office on the ultimate rail-friendly bike, a Brompton . For others, they could be weekend cycle enthusiasts with the latest carbon fibre road bike, or partners channelling their inner ‘couple goals’ riding on a tandem.

Whatever type of cyclist you fall under, the truth of the matter is that if it’s stolen it can be extremely upsetting and often very inconvenient. Here at the Insurance Emporium, we’ve compiled our top tips on how to prevent bike theft, to help reduce your risk of becoming another bike theft victim.

Top Tips to Help Prevent Bike Theft

A thief crack a bicycle lock and steal the bicycle

Data by Statista indicated the number of bicycle thefts in England and Wales was 77,148 in 2022/23 compared with 77,479 in the previous reporting year. That’s almost 9 bicycles stolen every hour, 365 days of the year – yes, even thieves don’t take a day off for Christmas!

With bike theft in the UK still an everyday occurrence it’s important to look at ways to help prevent thieves from stealing your bike, these include:

1. Under Lock and Key: One of the best ways to prevent bicycle theft is to ensure you lock it up securely whenever it’s left unattended. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to cycle away on your bike if it’s not locked up, therefore, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just pop into a shop for a few essentials and hope your bike will still be there when you come out if it’s not locked up securely.

2. Is it ‘Sold Secure’?: While we know having any bike lock is better than not having one, there’s a stark contrast between a budget lock to one that costs over £100. Therefore, knowing which type of lock to get is equally important. When looking at bike locks always check if the lock is approved by Sold Secure. Think of it as an industry-accredited stamp of approval. It’s also worth considering investing in both a decent quality D-lock (or U-lock) as well as a chain lock, as thieves don’t often carry the necessary tools to remove both.

3. All The Gear – No Idea: You may have bought a couple of decent quality bike locks but knowing how to use them in different environments is another step to help prevent bike theft. First of all, you need to find an immovable object such as a bike stand, one that can’t be cut through or that your bike can’t be lifted over. Secure both the wheel and frame to the immovable object, if you were to just secure the wheel it makes your bike an easier target for thieves to steal the rest of the bike. Ideally, if you have two locks, you’ll secure both the front and back wheels as well as the frame, leaving criminals no opportunity to take unsecured parts of the bicycle. Finally, take any quick-release items such as your bike seat, basket, or lights to avoid any other items being stolen.

4. Be Bright, Be Seen: Being seen when cycling during winter and when it’s dark is a well-known piece of advice, but the same could also be said for when you’re locking your bike in a public space. Always choose a well-lit area that’s got plenty of foot traffic from other passers-by. Even better, would be somewhere that’s got CCTV – as this also acts as a deterrent.

5. Maintain Your Privacy: After discovering a new cycle route in your area it’s tempting to share your cycling triumphs on Strava or even your regular commuter distance to work. However, it’s important to remember that by doing so you’re leaving criminals a digital footprint of where you live or work, thanks to GPS tracking, and what type of bike you have, hello smiley photo of you standing in front of your bike. One way to mitigate this risk is to enable the privacy settings on your fitness apps to help reduce your online visibility to people you don’t know. Some apps also allow you to hide the start and end points of a ride to anonymise your location without impacting your total ride distance.

6. Got The Hottest Two Wheels In Town?: Chances are your bike is going to be top of the list that bike thieves target. Let’s face it while any bike could be stolen, not every bike is worth stealing. Thieves will want to target bikes that are going to yield a high return or that can be sold easily. If you have an expensive looking bike, it’s potentially going to attract unwanted attention from thieves. One way to help prevent this is to use a cheaper bike for your commute to work and use the expensive bike for other trips. Alternatively, you could ‘dress down’ your expensive bike by applying electrical tape over any branding and logos so that it becomes more distressed to help act as a deterrent.

7. Get Registered: Another top tip is to register your bike with schemes such as Bike Register or Immobilise. Registering your bike under these schemes is free but it is worth considering purchasing an additional mark-making option to further help to deter bike theft.

8. Picture Perfect: While this doesn’t necessarily help in preventing bike theft, it’s always good practice to take photos of your bike to help aid the recovery of it should it be stolen. Take photos of it from different angles and make sure you get any standout features that could help identify it as well as the serial number. Also, take a photo of the receipt to provide proof of purchase.


Group of  men ride  bicycles at sunset with sunbeam over silhouette trees background.

Although bike theft still affects many people, the good news is that the latest data by Statista reveals that bicycle thefts in England and Wales peaked at 115,902 in 2011/12 during the provided time period. Meaning bike theft has been on a downward turn for the past 11 years.

However, despite this downward trend, and even when you’ve followed all the hints and tips on how to prevent bike theft, sometimes it just isn’t enough, and you end up having your bike stolen.

If your bike is old or new, think about how it might impact your everyday life should it be stolen, and you had to replace it. Could you afford to be without it? If the answer is no, it might be worth considering bicycle insurance should the worst happen, and you find yourself a victim of bike theft. Our standard bicycle policies include Theft, Loss and Accidental Damage as a standard benefit, with policyholders potentially able to receive a 10% Lock Discount and 10% Security Discount*.

*Up to 20% discount available. Discounts are available for use of an Approved Security Identification System (restricted to DataTag and Bike Register) and use of a Sold Secure Approved Diamond Lock.

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