Thieves on Two Wheels
by Penny M. Hagerman
Bicycle enthusiasts prize their wheels,
often spending a lot of money to purchase their rides and keep them well
maintained. But whether a bike is a simple, inexpensive brand or a highly-valued
mountain or racing version, having it turn up missing can be discouraging,
Bicycles and Insurance
Though most people don’t realize it,
homeowners and renters insurance policies cover bicycles. Like any other
contents on the property, they’re part of the owner’s possessions—and insurance
companies treat them as such by reimbursing the owner so another, comparable
bike can be purchased following damage or theft.
However, a deductible usually applies, so
it’s wise to find out ahead of time how much it will cost to actually file a
For those who own more expensive,
specialized bikes, floaters are also available that provide additional coverage
beyond the limits of the standard home or renters policy. This is additional
peace of mind that protects riders from losing their rides
The National Bike Registry estimates that a
million bicycles are stolen each year in the U.S.—and only a small percentage is
ever recovered. In fact, bicycle theft costs Americans more than $200 million
every year, an astounding amount most people would never suspect.
9 Tips for Avoiding Bicycle
As the price of gasoline goes up and
salaries go down, more people than ever are choosing to ride their bikes to
work, as well as enjoying them for pleasure.
For those participating in this healthy
lifestyle change, taking advantage of the following tips can help protect your
bike from theft:
- Keep your bicycle purchase receipt, and take
several photographs of your bike. This will help you and authorities identify it
if it’s ever stolen.
- Register your bike with local police, who can
sometimes recover them quickly with a make, model, color and serial
- Always lock your bike, whether it’s outside
in public view or parked inside your garage. Leaving it unlocked and unattended
is an invitation for someone to steal it.
- Mark your bike so you can prove it’s yours.
Buy a bicycle license at a local fire department or police station; write your
name or drivers license number under the seat with permanent marker; or insert
your name and address on a piece of paper inside the handlebars.
- Avoid parking your bicycle in high-risk
areas. Other cyclists and bike shop personnel can help you pinpoint locations
subject to thievery.
- Don’t use cheap locks. Buy the highest
quality lock you can find, asking a pro at a local bike shop for help if you
- Lock your bicycle correctly. Lock both wheels
and the frame to an unbreakable and immovable object, like a secured post, pole
or bike rack.
- Avoid leaving your bicycle parked outside for
long periods of time, overnight or in the same space every day. Predictability
like that can get it stolen!
- After locking up your bike, take any
easily-removed accessories and bicycle components—like pumps, storage bags or
removable lights—with you.
Safe & Secure
Law enforcement officials say most bicycles
are stolen because they’re not locked, making them easy targets for thieves. So
lock up your bike, make sure you have home insurance coverage for its full
value—and enjoy your two wheels!