Security for your bike

Cycling is the best way to get around Oxford.  However, it does have a few downsides, including that Oxford continues to have a real problem with bike thieves – around 2,000 bikes are reported stolen here every year.

Happily, using a reasonably solid lock and locking it to a cycle stand should deter most thieves.  However, it is worth doing all you can to prevent theft – and knowing what to do if you or someone you know is a victim of bike theft.

Preventing theft

1 LOCK IT  Never leave the bike unattended without locking it, especially outside shops and including in back gardens and workplaces.

2 INVEST IN GOOD LOCKS   Get a heavy D-lock (such as Abus) or a chunky chain, not a cheap D-lock (U-lock) or flimsy cable.  Pay as much as you can afford – a good rule is at least 10% of the bike’s value.  The best method is said to be using two locks:  a mini D-lock (e.g. Kryptonite) that just fits around the rear wheel and frame, plus a thick chain to attach the bike, locked to an immoveable object.  No lock is 100% thief-proof – our friends at the London Cycling Campaign say the best advice is “use two good locks”, as highlighted in their videos ‘Beat the thief: how not to lock your bike‘ and ‘How to lock your bike: the definitive guide‘.

3 PARK SOMEWHERE VISIBLE  Try to park in busy places, not around quiet corners.  Remember that CCTV helps to deter bike thieves.

4. PROTECT YOUR BIKE  You should at least make a note of the bike’s frame/serial number, and take a photo of your bike – if you haven’t already, do it now!  You could also use paint, tape or stickers to personalise your bike.  And you can take your bike to any police station any time and get it engraved with your postcode, for free.  The police recommend identifying and registering your bike with schemes such as Immobilise or Bike Register.

5 DON’T ENCOURAGE THIEVES  If you buy a bike which you suspect may be stolen, you are directly supporting this crime – if it’s too much of a bargain, there’s probably a reason why.  Please don’t be part of the problem.  Stolen Bikes UK have a good page on ‘How to avoid buying a stolen bike‘ including a link to Check That Bike.  Thames Valley Police have a comprehensive bike theft crime prevention webpage, and Transport for London‘s advice on ‘avoiding bike theft’ is generally applicable to Oxford too.


If your bike is stolen

Sadly, a determined thief can get through most armoury, so be prepared for the worst.

1 REPORT IT TO THE POLICE  If your bike does get stolen, always report it. You can report non-emergency crime on-line or phone 101.

2 REPORT IT ON ‘STOLEN BIKES UK’   You can visit Stolen Bikes UK, register (free) and upload a report and photo, which will be listed on the Oxfordshire region page.

3 TRY TO FIND IT   Online advertisements for bikes are aggregated at Find That Bike, so you could keen an eye on what is posted there.  You could also try Facebook groups such as Spotted: Oxford – Lost and Found or Stolen, Lost or Found in Oxfordshire.