Keeping your bike secure
Thieves think cycle theft is a low-risk, high-reward crime. Follow these tips to lock thieves out and ensure your bike remains safe and secure and that you are protected when buying a second-hand bike.
Keep your bike secure
- To get your bike security marked and registered visit the BikeRegister website. Getting your bike security marked and registered is a visible deterrent to bike thieves. They know that if they are caught in possession of a registered bike, the rightful owner can be traced and they will be arrested. Find out if your local Neighbourhood Policing Team has any marking events planned.
- Record details of your bike. Frame number (normally found underneath the bike between the pedals or where the back wheel slots in), BikeRegister number, other distinguishing features, and take a photo. Of all the bikes that are stolen or found each year we only return a very small number to their rightful owners.
- Use locks of gold ‘Sold Secure’ standard. Also, use two different types of lock, with at least one being a high quality D-lock. It takes thieves a few seconds to cut through poor quality locks – make it as difficult for them as possible.
- Lock the frame and both wheels to the cycle parking stand.
- Make the locks and bike hard to manoeuvre. Secure your bike as close to the stand as possible.
- Take parts that are easy to remove with you. For example, saddles and wheels. Or use secure skewers, which can increase security by securing the bike’s components to the frame permanently, making it difficult for thieves to steal parts such as saddle or wheels.
- Lock your bike at recognised secure cycle parking. It should be well lit and covered by CCTV.
- Take the same care to lock your bike securely at home. Bikes get stolen from communal hallways, gardens, sheds and garages. Consider investing in a ground anchor and attach it securely to a wall or concrete floor.
- Do not buy a stolen second-hand bike and always ask for proof of ownership. To check the bike frame number visit the BikeRegister website.
- If you believe your bike has been stolen, contact the police. Give them your frame number, BikeRegister number, photo and any other details.
You can report your bike has been stolen:
For thefts from railway stations, contact the British Transport Police on 101.
Buying a used bike
Buying a second-hand bicycle is a great way to grab yourself a bargain, however before handing over any cash, think about whether you are being sold a stolen bike. If you buy a stolen bike, not only could you have the bike seized – meaning you lose the money you paid for the bike, but you could be prosecuted by the Police for handling stolen goods.
We are working to create an environment where all cyclists and potential cyclists feel safe and secure to enjoy cycling. This includes investigating and tackling organised bicycle theft and disrupting the market and trade in stolen and second-hand bikes and parts.
So before you buy a second-hand bike, consider the following:
- Always inspect the bike thoroughly before, and if you’re not an expert, ask a knowledgeable friend for help.
- Does the bike have its original paintwork or has the frame number been tampered with? Thieves alter the appearance of bikes, to disguise it from the legitimate owner.
- Check the bike’s frame number on all national property databases. The police’s preferred registration databases are the Bike Register website and Immobilise website
- Check how much the seller knows about the bike.
- Check to see if it has been property marked.
- Meet the buyer at a fixed home or work address. Be wary of meeting buyers in a public place.
- Ask for an original purchase receipt and a receipt for the transaction.
- Be wary of stock photos – ask to see original photos of the actual bike.
- Do not buy from anyone who approaches you on the street.
- Is the price of the bike at market value? If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
If you suspect you are being sold a stolen bike, do not go through with the purchase.
You can report being sold a stolen bike:
As part of our move to improve cycle security, we regularly set up engagement stalls with our Neighbourhood policing Teams offering security marking and registration and advice on locking your bike securely. Security marking your bike deters potential thieves as your bike can be easily traced if it is stolen.
To find out about bike marking events in your area or to contact your Neighbourhood Policing Team for advice, go to Your Area page and search for your postcode.
Find out more about keeping your bike secure (PDF).