Bike security means more than just locking it up in public. Since 2016, more than 14,000 bikes have been stolen in Ireland, worth an estimated €2m. And while most have been stolen on public streets, you may be surprised to learn that almost a third have been stolen from their owners’ homes. So what can you do about it, and how can you minimise the damage if your shiny steed is taken?
First things first, make sure you include your bike in the inventory for your contents insurance. And when it comes to getting a new bike, don’t forget to update the information with your insurer. You can get 40% no claims discount and €60 off your premium when you buy AA Contents Insurance online.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep opportunist thieves at bay by making sure your bike is kept out of sight of prying eyes. If they don’t know it’s there, they’re a lot less likely to steal it! Avoid keeping it in the porch, for example, or anywhere it can be seen through a downstairs window or from the road. Wherever you leave it, make sure it’s locked up – and two locks are better than one.
Even better, keep your entire bike under lock and key – a modern, metal garden shed is ideal for this, especially if it’s not easily visible or easily accessible from the road. Make sure you have a good, strong lock on the door, of course. Investing in a floor anchor and/or shed wall reinforcement will make your pride and joy even more secure.
If you live in an apartment, your options might be quite limited – often it’s a choice between a bike rack in the car park, a communal area or inside your home. The latter is certainly the most secure of these options – even if your bike is locked up somewhere else, thieves can still make off with a wheel, saddle, pedals, handlebar or accessories, and vandals could be a problem too.
If you do keep your bike inside then you may want to invest in a bike stand to save space and keep it off the floor. Either way you will probably still have dirty floors and grubby walls to contend with, and indoor storage is an absolute no-no if you have small children. Little fingers can get dirty, oily or badly injured by a bike’s moving parts. Meanwhile, a bike propped up against a wall is extremely unstable and easily knocked over.
One place you should certainly avoid keeping your bike if you live in an apartment is your balcony. Not only are balcony bikes clearly visible from neighbouring apartments and public spaces, they’re often easy for enterprising and athletic thieves to reach – especially if you’re on the ground or first floor.
Make sure you take a clear photo of your bike and take a note of the serial number. This will make it much easier to recover if it is stolen, as you can prove that it’s yours.
It’s also a great idea to use a bike registration service so that you can advertise the loss of your bike, and increase your chances of getting it back. bikeregister.com/ie is a UK service that is now available here in Ireland and operated in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, while bikeregister.ie (a separate register, confusingly!) is an independent Irish register.