Don’t let the Christmas thieves win: our advice to keep your bikes safe

By

14.12.17 at 9:30 am

We’re deep into December and Christmas is just around the corner. While most offices are winding down and getting ready for the holidays, ours starts to get strangely busy.

We’re not preparing for a bumper Christmas rush on sales (although if you did want to give the gift of insurance we can sort that out for you!). Instead, this time of year can come with an increase in bicycle theft claims.

People are riding their bikes less due to the cold, the nights are longer giving potential thieves more cover, we are all more likely to be out of the house Christmas shopping or at parties and, unfortunately, there is an increased demand for stolen bikes to be sold on as Christmas presents.

The following article is full of advice to make sure your bike is securely stored when you leave it in your home, garage, car or out and about. It’s designed to help keep your bike safe, but also make sure you are up to speed with our security requirements.

If a really determined thief decides they want to take your bike there sometimes isn’t much you can do to stop them, so we want to make sure we can replace it for you on our bicycle insurance.

Bicycle Locks - Picture of a lock a missing bicycle and just a wheel

I keep my bikes in my home with me

Your home almost certainly has a 5 lever mortice deadlock on the front door, like the Yale and Chub locks you see everywhere you go. You don’t need to do anything else, so long as the doors and windows are locked when you are out, and a thief has to physically break into the property. The same applies to a private halls of residence at university, as well as a hotel room for up to 60 days at a time.

I keep my bikes in the garage or shed

If this is on the insured property then your bikes are covered, as long as you follow a few conditions. The garage should be secured by the same type of 5 lever mortice deadlock you have on the front door to your house. Alternatively, a closed shackle padlock will provide the same level of security.

We ask that the padlock be rated by CEN (the Central European Norm) at grade 3 or better. CEN grade 3 padlocks are rated as medium to high security in their tests, but they aren’t as expensive or difficult to find as the higher grade locks. Closed shackle refers to the shape of the lock, which makes it difficult to cut with bolt cutters or a saw.

If your garage or shed doesn’t have one of these locks on its door, then you will need to lock your bike separately to an immovable object with a bicycle lock. This is something solid fixed into or onto concrete or stone which somebody can’t just unscrew, and which forms a closed loop the bicycle lock can be passed through. If there isn’t something suitable in your shed or garage, you can buy ground anchors such as these which are easy to fit, and compatible with bicycle locks.

If your bike is kept in a communal area such as the corridor of a flat or a communal bike shed, the requirement to be locked to an immovable object is the same.

Does it matter what type of bicycle lock I have?

 

Yes, just like with padlocks there are good and bad bicycle locks to choose from. Thieves know which locks are easy to open and which take longer. Buying good quality bicycle locks make it harder for thieves to steal your bike, and deters them from trying in the first place.

We ask that you use bicycle locks rated as ‘Sold Secure’. They are easy to find in shops and online and have been tested and approved by a third party (the Master Locksmiths Association) as fit for purpose. If your bike is valued at less than £1000, a Sold Secure Silver Bicycle Lock  is sufficient for us; a Sold Secure Gold Bicycle Lock is needed for bicycles which are worth £1000 or more. If you are not sure whether your current bicycle lock is rated Sold Secure, search the product description online or you can check here.

When choosing a lock, it is also worth considering the style you are buying. As a rule of thumb, D-locks, and chain and padlock style bicycle locks are considered to be superior to cable locks; equally, they’re seen as harder targets for would be thieves. New company Litelok offer the lightest gold-rated lock on the market, which means your bike is secure as possible without you needing to lug around a weighty, traditional lock. We offer £10 off our annual bicycle insurance if you buy a Litelok at the checkout and a further £10 off your renewal if you are an existing customer.

Make sure to lock through quick release wheels as well as the frame, as wheels with quick releases are not covered if they are stolen while leaving your frame behind. On our bike locking post you’ll find more essential tips for leaving your bike unattended securely.

Bicycle Lock and shed padlocks blog image of car with bicycles

What about when I’m driving with my bike?

If your bike is inside your car, the doors are locked, windows closed and alarm on, then we agree you have made all reasonable attempts to keep it safe. Some insurers require their customers to lock the bike to something inside the car however we struggle to think what we could actually lock my bike to. It’s best to try and cover your bike up with something just so it doesn’t stand out.

Bicycles on roof racks should be locked through the frame by your Sold Secure bicycle lock to the vehicle, or using the built in locks which come with brands such as Thule. Bikes locked to car racks can only be left for a maximum of one hour.

We have tried to make sure our policy wording is as straight forward and transparent as possible, and that our lock requirements are simple and inexpensive. We will never live in a world with ‘perfect security’; the most we can ever expect is to discourage potential thieves. The Yellow Jersey Bicycle Insurance policy is designed to give you the confidence, that should something happen to your bikes, we’ll have you covered.