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Only 6% of All Bikes Stolen in London Are Reunited with Their Owners

By Frantiska Blazkova

There can never be enough pages filled on the topic of bike theft and how to prevent it. Stolen Ride and London Cycling Campaign have joined forces and tasked Quanteze with an online survey that asked 1800 London cyclists various questions about their bikes, cycling in the city, and, of course, experiences with bike thieves. The survey had shown that the London cycling community is heavily attached to their bikes – 47% classed their bikes as their most valuable possession, even over their cars, PCs, and smartphones. Therefore, it’s only understandable, that 55% of the surveyed reported being “very concerned” with the security of their bikes within London, but surprisingly, only 6 in 10 of them have theft insurance.

Anyway, the number of people stating their bikes were stolen at some point is alarming – 45% of surveyed riders, and 19% even experienced two or more bike thefts. Most thefts happened outside people’s place of work (13%), and even though 91% of all bikes stolen from public places were locked, they didn’t manage to deter the thief because 46% bike owners confessed that they used only cheap cable-type locks. The good news is that following theft virtually all riders stepped up their security game and invested in more advanced locks and locking systems.

The authors of the survey from both aforementioned cycling initiatives gave following comments when asked about their motives to launch such in-depth anonymous questionnaire.

“I’m focused on helping to tackle the issues highlighted by this survey and today I announce that I’m going to be rapidly expanding Stolen Ride into cycle theft prevention and education in 2017,” Richard Cantle, founder of Stolen Ride.

“The theft survey highlights the need for more cycle stands in London as well as the need to use good locks and insure your bike against theft. LCC members can benefit from preferential rates on theft insurance, inclusive third party insurance, and discounts on cycling brands and accessories,” added Tom Bogdanowicz from the London Cycling Campaign.


Few of the surveyed also provided very insightful and interesting observations that may help other cyclists with their bike security. Here are some of them:

“Employers also need to make more effort to help their employees store their bikes safely. E.g. inside an office building.”

“It’s annoying that my new D lock is almost as heavy as the bike.”

“I don’t use my expensive bike for commuting because I am too scared it will be stolen. I use a beater bike instead.”

“Cyclists still lock bikes incorrectly fuelling the market in stolen bikes; need to educate cyclist’s best way to lock bikes. Quick release wheels should be replaced with key-locking wheel nuts on most bikes sold in London.”

There is no doubt that similar surveys help create bike-friendly cities, both for pedestrians and the cycling community.