Motorcycle security: 7 tips to stop your bike getting stolen

padlock security

Published on 22 July 2015 by Gill


Filed under Category: Tips and advice

Motorcycle and moped associated crimes increased rapidly during the course of the first half of 2015. Not only are more bikes being stolen, but subsequent crimes involving the motorcycles in question are also on the up.

Criminals steal bikes to commit other vehicle theft, robbery and serious youth violence – sometimes gang related. Monthly figures for moped/motorbike associated crimes committed this year record a 62% increase from 241 in January to 392 in June. The snatching of mobile phones by thieves on bikes or mopeds is a particular problem in certain areas.

These crimes tend to be committed on lower powered machines and scooters, which are stolen by conventional hot-wiring. The suspects will often use them for joy-riding or as a getaway vehicle in the crimes listed, before abandoning the bikes.

7 tips to help keep your bike safe from crime

1. Marking

If not already protected with the industry MASTER scheme, mark your bike parts with the vehicle identification number (VIN) number, your postcode or registration number using an ultraviolet marker pen or a retro-fit security system such as Datatag. Find out more about MASTER by reading our guide here.

motorcycle parking birmingham

2. Parking

Choose designated parking with a stand and security loop, or if this is not available try areas with lots of people, good lighting and CCTV.

3. Locks

Use more than one - focus on disc locks, D locks and chain locks, fitted tight to the bike and through difficult to remove parts.  Additionally try to keep the lock off the ground to avoid hammer attack.

Green motorcycle cover4. Time

When leaving your bike for a long period or overnight, lock it to something secure and use a cover. At home consider fitting ground anchors to secure your bike.

5. Tracking

Consider fitting a Thatcham Approved Tracking system.

6. Noise

Make sure you use audible alarms to draw unwanted attention to the thieves.

motorcycle disk brake wheel7. Back wheel

Secure the back wheel of your bike, rather than front as front wheels are generally easier to remove.




Some insurance companies give discounts if you invest in certain security measures. Ask your insurer about these.

For more useful tips, visit the BMF advice pages

Motorcycle theft in London

The capital has seen a 44% increase in theft since 2012. More than 9,900 powered two wheelers (PTWs) were reported stolen across London in the 12 months from April 2014 to March 2015 – that’s 27 on average every day.

This is estimated to have cost those who have had their motorcycle, scooter or moped stolen around £26 million during the past financial year, based on an average cost of £3000 per vehicle stolen.  But the focus of this campaign is to highlight the additional cost when stolen vehicles are used to commit other crimes.

Police intelligence suggests that organised crime groups are also targeting older high powered motorbikes, which are not protected by the MASTER  Security Scheme – the UK’s official anti-theft marking system, which many major UK manufactures fit to new machines.  Non marked bikes can be worth up to £15,000 and can be broken down into parts and re-sold. These are usually stolen by being lifted into the back of vans or sometimes by using another scooter in a method called ‘ped-push’.

For both lower and higher powered machines, police say it is vital that owners take extra care to deter criminals, prevent easy removal and do what they can to help with vehicle identification.

Encouraging people who ride motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in the capital to secure their bikes properly will make it harder for criminals to find a ‘getaway’ vehicle.

What the police and industry say

Detective Superintendent Raffaele D’Orsi, lead for Operation Venice, the Met’s response to PTW and enabled crimes said:

“The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in moped and motorcycle theft and enabled crime. The police, the motorcycle industry, and riders must do everything possible to prevent the activity of those involved in these offences. 

"We are already working with industry to make these vehicles harder to steal, but I urge all riders to also improve the security of their vehicles. By everyone playing their part, we can thwart the thieves who steal these vehicles to perpetrate further crimes.”

Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA  said:

“The Association is very pleased to be able to support the MPS in tackling scooter enabled crime.  By taking simple steps to secure their machines, riders in the capital can do their bit as well as help the wider campaign of raising awareness.”


The BMF supports and represents motorcyclists. Join today here.


Image credits:

Motorcycle parking by David Masters (originally posted to Flickr as Quick getaway) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons