Motorcycle Theft – Threats, Trends & Counter Measures

Motorcycle theft is currently at an all time high. Thieves are running riot in major metropolitan areas, such as London, with little deterrent to turn the tide. Despite the motorcycle industry working hard to address the issue, even meeting with the Mayor of London, there is no quick or easy fix.

So, how do you beat the bad guys? We take a look at the threats of owning a bike, the trends connected to bike theft and how to reduce the chances of being another statistic or insurance claim.


Lets get the scary bit over first. It can’t be sugar coated, the threats are very real and apparent. There has never been a bigger threat of theft as a motorcycle owner or scooter rider than right now with more 30,000 motorcycles stolen in 2017.

While we at BikeTrac are pleased to continue to post a recovery rate of over 90%, the reality is that overall recovery figures are much less positive. Over half of those bikes stolen are unlikely to be seen again; a statistic that does not paint a pretty picture for owners or their insurance premiums.

While we could talk statistics all day long, we know from being on the ground that bike theft is everywhere. From Scooter owners to Superbike riders, nobody is safe, with scooters and mopeds being stolen to use in other crimes, both for the theft of bigger machines and in other crime.

The threat of bike theft is big.


The trend of bike theft was once simple - almost a faceless crime, carried out in the dead of night with the victims only the owners and the insurance companies.

But the landscape of bike theft is much more complicated now. Thieves are more targeted, more organised and more violent.

While theft still occurs in the twilight hours, the cover of night is not seen as ‘a necessary’ by the more brazen thieves with daylight thefts occurring in built-up areas every day and riders even being attacked while stationary at traffic lights.

Motorcycle theft trends include:

Ped Theft – Where a motorcycle is stolen and rolled away as the accomplice pushes the motorcycle with another stolen bike – usually a scooter or moped.

Portable Angle Grinders – Use of these is on the increase and many YouTube videos show these being used in broad daylight to cut through locks, chains and disc locks.

Follow Home – Common enough – thieves follow the rider home and strike once the bike has been parked up.

 Steal and Park – To try to evade capture, thieves will steal a motorcycle / scooter and park it in a residential area close-by, waiting to see if the machine is fitted with a tracker and the authorities recover it, evading capture.

Aggravated Theft – Not so common, but it is happening and is on the increase. Thieves enter the property of the bike owner and threaten them with violence to get the keys and abscond with the bike. The scariest of thefts.

Counter Measures

While theft is on the rise, so is the public’s knowledge and awareness. Because of this many Facebook groups and forums have been set-up, sharing information on recent thefts and areas they are striking etc.

Bike Security

Security is clearly the most effective means of defense, but statistics show that a vast majority of bikes stolen are not effectively secured.

Locks and chains provide one of the most effective forms of security, but often they are not secured to an immovable object. We always advocate the use of a lock and chain, secured to a railing, dedicated anchor or post. Remember, thieves will always take the path of least resistance. If yours is locked and another isn’t, you stand a fighting chance.

Keep it out of sight. If they can’t see it they’re less likely to steal it. Keep your bike out of sight, even under a cover if possible. Keep it locked away and the opportunist thief is one less to worry about.

Be aware of the vehicles behind you as you near home or work. Thieves will follow their target on occasions, so keep an eye out for that particular vehicle that’s been in your mirrors for the last few miles.

Motorcycle tracking is considered to be the most effective form of final defense now. BikeTrac alone has recovered over 800 machines and boasts a recovery rate of over 90%. If they do follow you home, cut through the lock and get away with your bike, you still stand a chance of seeing it again if you have a tracker fitted. It's the reason insurance companies offer policy discounts and why Police respond to thefts of bikes equipped with trackers.

Motorcycle and scooter theft isn’t going away, but by thinking about how you ride, park and secure your bike, you can give the bike thieves a much harder time.

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