Bicycle Locks and Shed Padlocks


23.04.17 at 2:29 pm

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We don’t want your bicycle to be stolen any more than you do. We also don’t want to impose silly conditions such as forcing you to D-lock your bicycle to something while inside a locked car. With this in mind, we thought it a good idea to explain a few things about bicycle locks, shed padlocks and general tips and tricks to beat the thieves.

We have put a lot of thought into our policy wording, considering what is practical and reasonable for our customers, and what will keep your bikes safe. Unfortunately, a determined thief will not be stopped by anything, so our job is ultimately to make life as difficult as possible for them.

I keep my bikes in my home with me

The chances are that your home has a 5 lever mortice deadlock on the front door, like the Yale and Chubb locks you see everywhere you go. There’s really nothing else you need to do, 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 hall of residence at university or a hotel room for up to 60 days at a time.

I keep my bikes in the garage or shed

So long as the garage or shed is secure and within the bounds of your property, then your bikes are covered. You will need to make sure that the locks on the doors meet our security requirements, or lock the bicycle to an immovable object using an appropriate Sold Secure rated bicycle lock.

The garage or shed 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.

A wooden shed should not have exposed or easily accessed hinges which can simply be unscrewed by a thief. There’s not much point in investing in a good quality lock if someone can simply undo the hinges with a screwdriver! Make sure you use bolts or security screws which cannot be undone from the outside.

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 should be a something solid which cannot be undone or removed unless using extreme force (i.e requiring the use of power tools or other machinery, not simple hand tools such as a spanner), and which forms a closed loop that 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, or a product such as the Shed Shackle which work well in wooden and metal sheds.

If your bike is kept in a communal area such as the corridor of a flat or a communal bike shed, the bike needs to be locked through the frame to an immovable object with an approved bicycle lock.

Does it matter what type of bicycle lock I have?

how to use a bicycle lock

Just like any consumer product, there are good and bad, expensive and cheap, bicycle locks to choose from. Thieves know which locks are easy to open and which take longer, so investing in a good quality bicycle lock will make it harder for thieves to steal your bike. It might even deter 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 £1500, a Sold Secure Silver Bicycle Lock is sufficient for us; a Sold Secure Gold Bicycle Lock is needed for bicycles which are worth £1500 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 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 makes it the perfect marriage of carrying comfort and bicycle security. If you add a Litelok to the checkout while purchasing bicycle insurance, we’ll give you £10 off your insurance.

You need to make sure you fasten your lock through your quick release wheels as well as the frame as wheels with quick releases are not covered if someone runs off with them leaving your frame behind.

It’s important to note that some locks, especially D shackles, may have extra cables attached to them. These “accessory” cables are NOT covered by the Sold Secure approval, as the rating only applies to the main lock itself.

Look at our heatmap of theft hotspots in the UK here.

What about when I’m driving with my bike?

If your bike is inside your car with the doors locked, windows closed and alarm on, then we reckon you have taken all precautions to keep it safe. I have looked at plenty of insurers that require their customers to lock the bike to something inside the car; I struggle to think what I 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 to the vehicle with your Sold Secure bicycle lock, 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 so try not to spend too long at the service station café.

What is abandonment?

Most bicycle insurance and home insurance policies will have an “abandonment” clause, and it’s very important to pay attention to how this could affect a claim.

Your bike is covered for theft while at your insured location (this could be your home, or a temporary residence such as a hotel room). Your bike is also covered while away from the insured location so long as you have followed the locking requirements above, but only for up to twelve hours at a time. Beyond twelve hours on Essentials and Performance, and eighteen hours on Ultimate, the bicycle would be considered ‘abandoned’, and no longer covered by the policy.

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