As people across the UK join in National Cycle to Work Day (Thursday 5th August), Avon and Somerset Police are urging bike owners to cycle to one of their many free bike marking events to get their bikes registered with the nationally approved bike registration scheme – BikeRegister. Cyclists are also being advised to double lock their bikes when unattended, to help prevent theft.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, many people have started cycling and enjoying the benefits of doing so. However, growing cycle theft is a barrier to growing cycle use, with more than 300,000 cycles stolen each year – about three times the number of cars taken. Many who lose their bikes in this way never return to cycling. In the last 12 months, 2531 bikes, totalling over £1 million have been reported stolen to Avon and Somerset Police.
Statistics show that you are 83 per cent more likely to have your bike stolen if it doesn’t have a visible registration sticker. Your local neighbourhood policing teams have been running many regular free bike-marking events, security-marking cycles with tamper-proof stickers and adding them to the national BikeRegister database. In the last 10 days three stolen bikes from Bath and Bristol have been recovered back to their lawful owners because they were registered.
The events have proved so popular that over the last 2 years Avon and Somerset Police have REGISTERED over 10,000 bikes with the new style QR stickers making it the most proactive police service in the country to be using the scheme.
Prior to QR codes, stencil kits were used and Avon and Somerset policing area has over 40,000 registered bikes making it the one of the highest areas in the country for bike registration.
The BikeRegister database is a national bike registration scheme used by every UK Police force, enabling officers to easily identify the original owner of any stolen or recovered bicycles. Would-be thieves can also be deterred by marked cycles, recognising them as being more easily traced and identifiable.
However with Police now receiving increasing daily reports of bike theft, the public are being asked to take all precautions possible to protect their property.
PC Peter Rooke who leads on the BikeRegister initiative for Avon and Somerset Police says: “Bicycle thefts have a very negative impact on people’s lives. With each cycle stolen, people are left struggling to commute, unable to enjoy exercise and leisure time, counting the cost of what can be a considerable investment and suffering the emotional impact of theft.
“We urge cyclists never to leave their cycles unattended whilst unlocked even for a few minutes – thieves will be on the lookout and won’t hesitate to take opportunities presented. We also recommend cyclists secure their cycles to something immovable like a wall, the floor or a railing using two high quality D-locks, one through the frame and one through the wheel.
Appropriate insurance, in case of theft, is also highly recommended.
“We are working hard to target bicycle thieves and reduce offences. But the best thing we as your local Police force can do is prevent the offence in the first place, thus we offer the BikeRegister initiative for free and we are always on hand to talk through cycle security. Burglary teams have had training on how to identify stolen bikes using the BikeRegister Police database and they work closely with your Neighbourhood Policing teams to target and catch bike thieves.
On National Cycle to Work Day, the message is that everyone has a part to play in keeping their bicycle safe by following the latest crime prevention advice.
Upcoming BikeRegister events taking place this month include.
6 August, 1pm – 4pm, Widcombe Baptist Church, Widcombe, Bath
6 August, 9am – 11.30am, Cale Car Park, Wincanton
7 August, 11am – 1pm, Blaise Castle, Henbury
8 August, 2pm – 4pm, Whiteladies Road (Farmer Market), Clifton, Bristol
14 August, 12pm – 4pm, Shapwick Road, Westhay, Glastonbury
16 August 12pm-2pm, Coniston Green, Weston-super-Mare
25 August 15:30pm – 17:30pm, Station Road, Yatton
Future dates can be obtained from local Neighbourhood Policing Teams. People who attend and have their bike marked will receive an exclusive discount voucher to purchase an approved D-lock.