How many motorbikes are stolen each year?
According to estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics, there would have been around 39,000 motorbikes stolen in the year ending March 2016. This number is an estimate only, derived from a survey of 35,000 households.
|England and Wales Motorcycle Theft Estimates, year end|
Using this theft data we can calculate the odds of having your motorbike stolen in the UK. There were 1,164,740 motorbikes licensed in England and Wales in 2016. If estimates that 39,000 were stolen are true, this means there's a 3.3% chance your motorbike will be stolen in any given year (39,000 divided by 1,164,740 = 3.3%).
How many motorbikes are stolen in London?
There is more accurate motorbike theft data available for London (from the Met police). In 2017, nearly 15,500 motorbikes were stolen in London, explaining why motorbike insurance is so expensive. Over 8,000 thefts were of motorcycles, which is not surprising given they are more valuable to thieves for resale or parts. More than 4,000 mopeds were stolen, and over 3,000 scooters. But what are the odds your motorbike will be stolen?
According to the Department for Transport there were 119,800 licensed motorcycles, mopeds and scooters in London at the end of 2017. This seems to put the odds of motorcycle theft in London at a whopping 12.9% (based on 15,497 thefts/119,800 licensed bikes) each year. Of course, this is likely an overestimate—it doesn't take into account the many bikes that are licensed out of London (e.g., in the South East) but that drive into London and may be stolen there.
|Number of Reported Motorbike Thefts in London|
Regardless, the likelihood of motorcycle theft is particularly high in big cities like London and so buying a good motorcycle insurance plan will provide the best financial protection in case your motorbike is nipped. Two types of motorbike insurance will protect against theft—TPFT (Third Party, Fire and Theft) and Comprehensive. Getting motorcycle insurance is not only required legally but it can save you thousands in the event your motorbike is stolen.
Worst Time of Year for Motorbike Thefts
More motorbikes are stolen in the spring time that at any other point during the year. In 2017, for example, April was the worst month for motorcycle owners with 1,608 thefts reported in the capital alone. There is another smaller surge in thefts in October.
|Number of Reported Motorbike Thefts in London, 2017|
Worst Boroughs in London for Motorcycle Theft
More motorbikes were stolen in Tower Hamlets than any other London borough in 2017, with 854 total thefts reported—of these, 443 were motorcycles, 231 were mopeds and 180 were scooters. Camden was not far behind with 811 total reported motorbike thefts. Kingston and Harrow had the fewest thefts, with fewer than 200 reported in each borough.
|Reported Motorbike Thefts by London Borough||Motorcycle||Moped||Scooter||Total|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||322||256||143||723|
|Kensington and Chelsea||225||102||110||437|
|Richmond upon Thames||223||68||91||384|
|Barking and Dagenham||201||96||67||365|
|Kingston upon Thames||124||53||22||199|
Preventing Motorbike Theft
While motorcycle insurance can reimburse you for a stolen motorbike, getting paid is likely to be a hassle and your insurance rates might go up as a result. It's far better to deter thieves from stealing your motorbike in the first place. In addition to driving a less flashy or older motorbike, here are a few top tips to help prevent motorbike theft.
- Lock your bike
- Set your bike's alarm (if it has one)
- Park in a designated motorcycle parking place with a stand and security loop, where available
- Try to lock your bike to something secure
- Cover your motorbike
- Mark the motorbike with its vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Don't leave your helmets or other possessions
- Try to park where there is lots of foot traffic, good lighting and CCTV cameras
While some of these suggestions might not seem particularly effective, to some extent you're just trying to make your motorbike a less likely target/harder to steal than the motorbike next to it. For example, a cover isn't really much protection against a thief but if your bike is covered and the next one is not, a thief is likely to focus on that bike first.