Tips for preventing the theft of bikes

There are around 300,000 bikes stolen each year, with 60% of all bike thefts occurring when the owner didn’t secure their bike, either forgetting to or thinking that it was safe.  Around 70% of these thefts took place during the week and 30% took place during the weekend.

While large quantities of believed to be stolen bikes are recovered each year, the police are unable to return them or prosecute offenders as the owner cannot be traced.

Bike Security

Here are our top tips to help you keep your bike safe and secure, both at work, at home and if travelling for holiday or leisure purposes.

Register & Record it

Register your bike on a secure, Secured by Design (SBD) recognised national database. Remember to record as many details of your bike as you can, such as the make/model, size, colour, frame number (normally found underneath the bike between the pedals or where the back wheel slots in), plus any other distinguishing features, and take a photo. The police will check these databases if they find bikes in the possession of a criminal or in the street to identify the rightful owner.

Security mark it

Security marking your bike using a SBD recognised forensic asset marking or etching kit is another highly effective, visible deterrent to thieves and an established method of reducing theft. Thieves know that if they are caught with a marked and registered bike they will be arrested, as the rightful owner can be traced by the police within seconds.

Double-lock it, secure it and lock the lot

It can take thieves as little as a few seconds to cut through some locks that haven’t achieved the Police Preferred Specification, so use two good quality locks, at least one of which is a D-lock (sometimes referred to as a U-lock).

▪ Secure your bike as close to the stand as possible to give any thieves little or no room to manoeuvre.
▪ Lock the frame and both wheels to the cycle parking stand. Locks are considered more vulnerable when they come in to contact with the ground, so keep them off the floor.

Remove the removable bits

Take parts that are easy to remove with you, such as the saddle or wheels. Or use locking skewers or nuts which can increase security by securing the bike's components to the frame permanently, making it difficult for thieves to steal detachable parts.

Park secure

Lock your bike at recognised secure cycle parking. It should be well lit and covered by CCTV. Secured cycle hubs and racks are provided by local councils and business, however, while some of these products are security tested some are not, so be wary. You can find details of hubs and racks which are supplied by SBD member companies and have achieved Police Preferred Specification below.

▪ Avoid leaving your bike in isolated or dimly lit places, always leave your bike where a potential thief will have to perform in public!
▪ Don’t lock your bike to an open ended structure such as a sign post – thieves just lift the bike over the top of it.
▪ Avoid locking your bike against a gate or wall, thieves will often use leverage against the wall or gate to break the bike lock.
▪ Electric Bikes are very expensive, so try not to leave in the same place on a regular basis – it may be noticed and stolen to order by a determined thief.

Keep valuables secure when cycling

Always keep your valuables secure when cycling. Don't put them in open baskets or panniers.
Be aware of your surroundings

Always pay attention to your surroundings, especially whilst stationary.  Thieves target unsuspecting cyclists for both their valuables and their bikes.

Remember to keep your bike safe when travelling by car

Keeping your bikes safe while on a roof rack or rear carrier of a vehicle is just as important as keeping it secure at home or work, as it can take an opportunist thief only seconds to steal your bike when you park your vehicle. 

▪ Always pay attention to where you park your car, and ensure it is parked in a well-lit, busy location where the actions of any thief would be visible to people.
▪ Ensure that you have good quality locks visible and in use on your bikes and remove the removable bits like saddles whilst travelling.

Remember safety begins at home

This is very important to remember, as many bikes are stolen at home. Statistics show that bike thefts are most likely to occur in a semi-private location near the victim’s home; this includes outside areas on the premises and garages around, but not connected to, the home.

▪ Take the same care to lock your bike securely at home as you would on the street.
▪ Ground anchors can be used together with shed or garage alarms, which can be connected to your house alarm system.
▪ Doorbell and external security cameras can also be used as a deterrent to thieves.   
You may wish to consider bringing your bike indoors if you don’t have appropriately secure external storage.

Lock your bike as described above in a securely locked garage or shed ensuring either is well maintained and the bike is hidden from view. A number of SBD companies supply bike storage sheds. Read more about bike storage by clicking the button below:

Secured by Design Bike Security Products

Why do we insist on security standards for bike security products?

We have to consider many factors when thinking about bike security such as, is it an opportunist thief or what is the value of the bike?  These are some of the reasons we depend on organisations such as the Master Locksmiths Association and their accredited Sold Secure products.

Sold Secure is the test house for bicycle locks. Sold Secure test to four grades:


These products offer defence against the opportunist thief


This offers a compromise between security and cost


These products are aimed at those mid-to-high level value bicycles


The highest level of security aimed a high value bike and e-bikes

If you wish to find out more information, please visit the Sold Secure website 

Secured by Design is the only way for companies to obtain police recognition for security-related products in the UK. Below is a list of Secured by Design member companies that have bike security products which have achieved our Police Preferred Specification.

Bicycle Security

To see the full range of our Member Companies and to search for specific bike security products click HERE