Having your bike stolen can be devastating. Far too many cyclists have experienced that awful feeling of returning to the spot where you left your bike to find it empty. Thousands of people each month experience bike theft and it can leave you in a daunting state. It is very easy to feel unsure of what to do next, so we have put together a step by step guide to help you if your bike has been stolen.
1) Call the Police
This may sound obvious but an alarming amount of bike thefts go unreported to the police each year. This may be because people feel like it won’t make a difference, but in the event the police do recover your bike, they will be able to return it to you, but this is only if they know about it. Either call the police or visit your local station and provide as much information about your bike as possible. Provide details on where you left it, the bikes frame number, any other markings it may have, and provide them with photographs. The more information you give them, the more likely you are to receive your bike back if they recover it.
You’ll also receive a Crime Reference Number which will allow you to check-in with the police on how their investigations are going. If your bike was insured then your insurer will also request this reference number.
2) Contact your insurance company
After you have contacted the police and received your crime reference number, call your insurance company. Many insurance companies will have stipulations stating you need to alert them within a certain amount of time, so the sooner you can do this the better. Along with your crime reference number, you will also need to provide proof of ownership so make sure you have this at hand.
Litelok offers Theft Protection to customers through our website. This means that if anyone has their bike stolen whilst secured with a Litelok, then their bike will be replaced (subject to T&Cs). One thing we do recommend is that you take a photograph of your bike when leaving it unattended. Even though this isn’t a requirement for Theft Protection (and most likely the majority of bike insurers), this provides proof on how you locked your bike, and what kind of lock you used. If your bike is valued at a certain amount then bike insurers (here in the UK) will stipulate that you have to have a Sold Secure rated lock. A photograph will prove that you met all the required criteria and will help with your claim.
3) List your bike as Stolen
There are many different websites where you can register your bike as stolen. Websites such as Stolen Ride, Bike Register, and Bike Index and more are great places to list your bike as stolen. These are active communities that will publicise the theft of your bike through their social media, meaning that images of your bike will be shared far and wide. It also means that if someone buys a bike second hand and checks the frame number with one of these sites then they will know the bike is stolen and hopefully report it to the police.
There are many different websites serving in many different countries. We’d recommend registering with as many relevant sites as you can find.
4) Post on Social Media
As well as sharing the details of your bike with bike registration websites, do not underestimate the power of your own personal social media channels. When posting, include images of your bike as well as information on where you last saw it. Hopefully, your friends will alert you if they spot your bike in the area.
5) Set up alerts on Gumtree, eBay, and other second-hand selling websites
Many thieves will try and sell your bike through websites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree. It is very easy to set up alerts on these sites so if new listings do appear that meet your specified criteria then you will be alerted immediately. Gumtree has a “set search alert” button which is difficult to miss, while eBay will have a “Follow this search” option near the top of the page.
If you are London based then the website bikeshd is also a good site to follow as it collates all eBay and Gumtree listings together, making it easier to spot your ride.
If you do come across your bike then we would recommend you do not engage with the seller or arrange to meet up to view the bike. You could be putting yourself in a dangerous situation so please do not do this. If you spot your bike then notify the police. The police will be able to liaise with the particular website and obtain the seller’s details making it possible to track them down.
6) Don’t Give Up Cycling
According to thebestbikelock.com, “50% of us that have bikes stolen, 66% cycle less and 25% give up cycling altogether”. This is a really sad statistic as it shows that the loss of a bike can have a drastic impact on a person’s life in multiple ways. Try not to let this negative experience stop you from cycling. We would recommend assessing the situation and learning from it to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Make sure you purchase a bike lock that has been independently tested by security experts (such as Sold Secure or ART) and make sure it is locked to something secure. All bike locks are deterrents and can be broken, but by having a Sold Secure rated lock, it is much more likely to withstand an attack from common thieves with common tools. Our Litelok Gold range has been rated Gold by Sold Secure and has proven itself against common thieves countless times.
Here at Litelok we want to encourage as many people as we can to cycle as it not only benefits your health, but also the environment. Not only do we design, engineer, and manufacturer insurance rated bike locks, we also put together articles to help cyclists keep their bikes safe. For more advice, we would recommend reading ‘8 tips to keep your bike safe’ and ‘Top tips to choosing a good bike lock.’