As a motorcycle enthusiast, you know the excitement that comes with owning a bike. However, with the increase in motorcycle theft, it’s essential to ensure your pride and joy stays safe. In this article, we’ll discuss motorcycle anti-theft practices to keep your bike secure. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your motorcycle without the worry of theft.
Motorcycle theft is a growing concern, with 53,111 bikes stolen in the US in 2020.. According to Motorbikesecure, a motorcycle is stolen every 11 minutes in the US, and 80% of thefts occur at home. With these alarming statistics, it’s crucial for motorcycle owners to take precautions to protect their bikes.
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How Thieves are Stealing Motorcycles
Thieves are becoming more skilled at stealing motorcycles, often using sophisticated techniques and tools. ASGARD Security states that it takes only around 20 seconds for an experienced thief to steal a bike. As a motorcycle owner, it’s crucial to be aware of these methods and take the necessary steps to deter potential thieves.
The Grab and Go
The grab and go method is a common technique used by motorcycle thieves, especially when targeting bikes parked in public areas. This method involves quickly lifting the motorcycle into a vehicle, such as a van or a pickup truck, and driving away with the bike before anyone notices the theft. Here’s a description of how this method typically unfolds:
- 1. Scouting: Thieves first identify a suitable target, often looking for motorcycles that are left unsecured or have minimal locking mechanisms in place. They may also prefer bikes that are parked in areas with low foot traffic or poor visibility.
- 2. Preparation: Once they’ve identified a target, the thieves will prepare their vehicle for the heist. This may involve removing any seats, barriers, or other obstacles to make room for the motorcycle. They’ll also ensure they have the necessary tools and equipment, such as straps, to secure the bike during transport.
- 3. Execution: The thieves will approach the motorcycle, usually with a group of two or more individuals to lift the bike quickly. They’ll then lift the bike off its side stand and maneuver it into the waiting vehicle. In some cases, they may use a ramp or other tools to help load the bike, especially if it’s a heavy model.
- 4. Getaway: Once the motorcycle is inside the vehicle, the thieves will secure it with straps or other restraints to prevent it from moving during transit. They’ll then close the vehicle’s doors and drive away from the scene as quickly as possible, ideally before anyone notices the theft.
The grab and go method is particularly effective because it requires minimal time and effort on the part of the thieves. It’s also challenging to prevent, as it can happen in just a matter of seconds. To protect your motorcycle from this type of theft, consider using multiple locks, parking in well-lit and populated areas, and investing in additional security measures such as a GPS tracker or a secret kill switch.
Thieves often target motorcycles with poorly made locks, weak steering locks, and those that can be easily hotwired. This method involves breaking or bypassing these security measures and starting the bike without the key. Here’s a description of how this method typically unfolds:
- 1. Targeting vulnerable bikes: Thieves will scout for motorcycles that have weak or poorly made locks, as these are easier to compromise. They may also look for bikes with exposed wiring or older models that can be more easily hotwired.
- 2. Cutting or breaking the lock: If the motorcycle is secured with a low-quality lock, thieves may use bolt cutters, a crowbar, or other tools to break or cut through the lock. In some cases, they might use an angle grinder to cut through a chain or padlock, although this method is more time-consuming and noisy.
- 3. Breaking the steering lock: After disabling the external lock, thieves will often break the steering lock to gain control over the bike’s handlebars. This can be achieved by forcefully turning the handlebars until the lock mechanism snaps. Alternatively, they might use a hammer and chisel or a screwdriver to break the lock.
- 4. Hotwiring the motorcycle: With the locks bypassed, the thieves will attempt to hotwire the bike by accessing the ignition wiring. They’ll strip the insulation from the wires, twist them together, or use a jumper wire to create a connection that completes the circuit, allowing the motorcycle to start without a key.
- 5. Getaway: Once the motorcycle is started, the thieves will ride away from the scene as quickly as possible, aiming to avoid detection and apprehension.
To protect your motorcycle from this type of theft, it’s essential to invest in high-quality locks, such as disc locks and chain locks with a thick diameter. Additionally, parking your bike in well-lit and populated areas can deter thieves, as they prefer to work in low visibility and with minimal witnesses. For added security, consider installing a GPS tracker or a secret kill switch to make it more difficult for thieves to start and ride away with your motorcycle.
The Bump and Rob
This method of motorcycle theft, often referred to as a “bump and rob” or “bikejacking,” involves thieves targeting riders while they are stopped at traffic lights or intersections. The thieves force the rider to dismount by threatening them with a weapon, such as a gun or a knife. Here’s a description of how this method typically unfolds:
- 1. Surveillance: Thieves will scout for potential targets, looking for riders on desirable motorcycles who may be stopped at traffic lights or intersections.
- 2. Approaching the target: The thieves, usually working in pairs or groups, will approach the rider from behind or the side. They may be on foot or in a car or on another motorcycle.
- 3. Forcing the rider to dismount: One of the thieves will brandish a weapon, such as a gun or a knife, and demand that the rider dismount from the motorcycle. The threat of violence is intended to intimidate and control the rider, making them more likely to comply with the demands.
- 4. Taking control of the motorcycle: Once the rider has dismounted, the thief will quickly mount the motorcycle and start the engine, either using the key if it’s still in the ignition or by hotwiring the bike.
- 5. Getaway: The thief will ride away from the scene as quickly as possible, while the other accomplices may act as lookouts or follow in a separate vehicle to provide support.
This type of motorcycle theft can be particularly frightening and dangerous for riders, as it involves the threat of violence. To minimize the risk of a bikejacking:
- · Be aware of your surroundings, especially when stopped at traffic lights or intersections.
- · If you feel threatened or notice suspicious behavior, try to put distance between yourself and the potential threat, or maneuver your bike to an escape route.
- · Always lock your motorcycle when you’re not on it, even if you’re only stepping away for a moment.
- · Ride with other motorcyclists when possible, as thieves are less likely to target a group.
- · Consider taking a self-defense course to help you feel more confident and prepared in the event of an attempted bikejacking.
Remember, your personal safety is more important than your motorcycle. If you are threatened with a weapon, it’s generally best to comply with the thief’s demands and report the incident to the police as soon as possible.
The Three L System: Lock, Location, and Light
One of the most effective ways to deter thieves is by using a combination of locks on your motorcycle. By making it more challenging to steal, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of theft. Here are some locks to consider:
- Steering lock: A built-in feature on most motorcycles, it prevents the handlebars from turning. Although not foolproof, it’s a useful first line of defense.
- Handlebar lock: A lock that is placed on the handlebar and holds the brake lever preventing the motorcycle to be rolled.
- Disc lock: Recommended by an ex-thief on Rideapart, a $100 disc lock will work well as long as it’s attached to the rear wheel.
- Chain lock: Armourinsurance advises placing your chain lock through the frame, not just the front wheel. Police recommend using a 16mm diameter chain and lock, and locking the motorcycle to the ground.
When choosing a lock, opt for a visible and flashy design to deter thieves further. Thieves are not known to be hard workers, they will try to find easy bike to steal if you’re bike look well protected.
As mentioned earlier, 80% of motorcycle thefts occur at home. To minimize the risk, park your bike in a well-populated area where it can be easily seen. Look for locations with security cameras and a sturdy anchor for your chain lock.
Light and sound
Thieves prefer to operate under the cover of darkness. By parking your motorcycle in a well-lit area, you can deter potential thieves. Consider installing motion-activated lights near your garage and front door to increase security. Also consider buying locks with alarm on them, stealing a motorcycle with a siren add a level of difficulty.
More Extreme Measures: GPS and Secret Kill Switch
For additional protection, you can install a GPS tracking device on your motorcycle. This will allow you to monitor your bike’s location and alert the authorities if it’s stolen. Another effective method is installing a secret kill switch, as suggested by Bloomberg, which prevents the bike from starting without your knowledge.
Things to remember
By following the Three L System and considering additional security measures like GPS tracking and a secret kill switch, you can significantly reduce the risk of motorcycle theft.
Remember, thieves are more likely to target easy targets, so the more layers of protection you add, the safer your bike will be. As a motorcycle specialist, we at Motardmental are dedicated to helping riders enjoy their bikes to the fullest. For more information on motorcycle security check our short series articles: · The Ultimate Guide to Husqvarna Motorcycles · Motorcycle Dealer: Your Ultimate Guide · Must-Have Motorcycle Gear · Motorcycle Must-Have Products · How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Helmet · Invest in Your Motorcycle Driving Skills for a Happier and Safer Ride
By staying informed and proactive about motorcycle security, you can ride with confidence, knowing your bike is protected from theft.
Should I report my stolen motorcycle?
Reporting motorcycle theft is crucial for several reasons:
- Assisting law enforcement: Reporting the theft to the police provides them with vital information that can help track down the stolen motorcycle and apprehend the thieves. The more details you can provide, such as the bike’s make, model, color, and registration number, the better the chances of recovery.
- Insurance claims: In order to file a claim with your insurance company, you need to provide a police report as proof that the theft occurred. The insurance company will use this report to assess your claim and determine the compensation amount.
- Theft prevention: Reporting motorcycle thefts helps law enforcement gather data on theft trends, hotspots, and common methods used by thieves. This information can be used to develop targeted anti-theft strategies and raise public awareness about motorcycle theft prevention.
- Recovery rate statistics: By reporting motorcycle theft, you contribute to the accuracy of statistics on recovery rates. These statistics can help other riders understand the risks and take appropriate precautions to protect their motorcycles. As mentioned in the Statista data, the recovery rate for stolen motorcycles in the U.S. in 2019 ranged between 66% and 35%, depending on the make of the motorcycle. While these numbers may seem discouraging, reporting the theft increases the chances of recovering your bike. The recovery rate can also vary depending on factors such as the local law enforcement’s efficiency, the prevalence of motorcycle theft in the area, and the security measures you had in place.
In conclusion, it’s essential to report motorcycle theft not only to increase the chances of recovering your bike but also to assist law enforcement, support accurate statistics, and facilitate the processing of insurance claims.
What are the most commonly stolen motorcycle brands or models?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Honda motorcycles are the most commonly stolen brand, followed by Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Harley-Davidson.
How can I protect my motorcycle from theft?
To protect your motorcycle, use multiple locking mechanisms (such as a steering lock, disc lock, and chain lock), park in well-lit and busy areas, install a GPS tracker or alarm system, and keep your motorcycle covered when parked.
What should I do if my motorcycle is stolen?
If your motorcycle is stolen, report the theft to the police immediately and provide them with all relevant information. Notify your insurance company to start the claims process, and share information about the theft on social media or local motorcycle forums to increase awareness.
What is the recovery rate for stolen motorcycles?
Recovery rates vary depending on the make and model, location, and efficiency of law enforcement. In the U.S., the recovery rate ranged between 66% and 35% in 2019, according to Statista.
How does motorcycle theft impact insurance premiums?
Motorcycle theft can result in higher insurance premiums, as insurance companies may consider your bike to be at a higher risk. Installing anti-theft devices and taking other preventative measures can help reduce your premiums.
Are certain locations more prone to motorcycle theft than others?
Yes, urban areas with higher population density and more motorcycles on the road tend to have higher rates of theft. However, theft can occur anywhere, so it’s essential to take precautions regardless of your location.
What are the most common methods used by thieves to steal motorcycles?
Common methods include:
- · Grab and go: physically lifting and moving the motorcycle into a vehicle
- · Cutting or breaking locks and hotwiring the motorcycle
- · Bikejacking: forcing the rider to dismount at gunpoint or knifepoint
How can I make my motorcycle less attractive to thieves?
Use multiple locks, park in visible and well-lit areas, keep your motorcycle covered, and avoid displaying expensive aftermarket parts or accessories that may attract attention.
Is it possible to track a stolen motorcycle using GPS or other technologies?
Yes, installing a GPS tracker on your motorcycle can help locate it in case of theft. Some trackers also offer real-time tracking and alerts when your motorcycle is moved without authorization.
What are the legal repercussions for motorcycle theft?
Legal repercussions for motorcycle theft can include criminal charges such as grand theft auto, receiving stolen property, and possession of burglary tools. Penalties may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances but can include imprisonment, fines, and restitution to the motorcycle owner.
Meet Simon, the 46-year-old aficionado behind YourMotoBro. With a lifelong passion ignited by motocross dreams and a Canadian Tire bicycle, Simon’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. From coaching underwater hockey to mastering muddy terrains, he’s an authority in thrill and adventure. Certified as an Off-Road Vehicle Excursion Guide and trained in Wilderness First Aid, Simon’s love for bikes is as diverse as his collection—from a robust BMW GSA R1200 to the memories of a Harley Davidson Night Train. By day a respected telephony consultant, by night a motorcycle maestro, Simon’s tales are a blend of expertise, resilience, and undying passion. 🏍️✨