1 Jun 2007

If you leave it, lock it!

a fairy dies..., originally uploaded by Trapac.

From this week's Herts Advertiser:

"CYCLISTS are being warned by police to be on their guard after a spate of bike thefts.Nine bicycles have been stolen in the St Albans district since the beginning of May from a variety of places including a school, driveways and gardens.Police are now advising people on cycle security. They have suggested that bikes should be marked with UV marker pens which can be obtained from local crime prevention officers and they should be secured with a D-shaped shackle lock as well as fastened to something solid such as a lamp-post or railings if possible"

Bike theft is a crime of opportunity. If you leave your bike unlocked while you nip into a shop, you risk coming out to find out it's gone. Leaving bikes unlocked at home, for example out on the drive or in an unsecured passageway, isn't such a good idea either.

Here are a few tips- if you don't recognise them you should read these good articles on bike security on the LCC's site and on Whycycle. Herts police have some advice and a form to record your bike details here.

  • Lock it or lose it- always lock your bike when you leave it unattended.
  • Lock to a solid object through the frame and wheels- remove accessories if you can't lock them onto the bike. Don't lock onto posts which are so short as to allow the thief to lift your locked bike off the post you locked it to!
  • Take care at home- store bikes indoors if at all possible, locking them to something solid. A ground anchor like this can be bolted to floors or walls to provide a secure locking point.
  • Don't leave unlocked bikes on view unattended during the day, even if you're in. Move them round to the back, or lock them up.
  • Don't buy a cheap bike lock- spend at least 10% of the value of your bike on a lock, and avoid cheap and (very) nasty cable and combination locks. Keep your lock's receipt and note the key number.
  • Read your insurance policy carefully- your home contents insurance may only provide reduced cover away from home, and many insurance companies specify the locks you must use to be covered.

In the UK, a bike is stolen every 71 seconds. Don't let it be yours.

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