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How to prevent your Motorcycle or Scooter from being stolen

Thousands of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds are stolen across the UK each year. Some motorcycles are stolen in order to be exported by highly organised criminals, others to be broken up for parts for re-sale or used in cloning motorcycles. These potentially dangerous machines are then sold on as genuine motorcycles without the new owner knowing the true history of the motorcycle.

It takes seconds for a thief to steal a motorcycle or scooter if it is unprotected, so to help prevent the theft of your motorcycle we suggest you give you motorcycle a little ‘TLC’

Our advice is to Trace, Lock, Cover

1. Trace - Fit a Tracking system

Tracking systems can improve the chances of recovering your motorcycle if it is stolen and even help Trace it overseas in some cases. Many systems are battery operated and activate once the motorcycle is stolen - they track the motorcycle via GPS and other detection systems. Secured by Design (SBD) have several members which specialise in this area and can advise on the best system for your motorcycle, scooter or moped and can also fit the product.

Spare parts –Motorcycles, scooters and mopeds are often broken down for their parts for re-sale. The thieves remove any identifying marks on the bikes, making it hard for the police to Trace the property back to the original owner. Security marking your motorcycle or scooter using an SBD recognised forensic asset marking or etching kit is a highly effective deterrent to thieves and an established method of reducing theft.

Remember to use the visible warning labels to show that the property is marked.

Trying to remove one of these forensic markers is very difficult and in many cases the police only need a trace amount to establish ownership and identity of the motorcycle or part and gain a conviction.

Keep a record of serial numbers, chassis and model numbers and take note of any custom marks on the vehicle. Take colour photographs from several angles and additionally take videos with a smart phone if possible.

2. Lock - Use SBD approved security products

SBD approved motorcycle security products have all been tested and certificated to an approved standard with the aim of reducing and preventing theft. Various test methods are used to determine resistance against attack using the sort of tools that a thief would use to steal a motorcycle or moped.

Buying and using a single SBD approved product with a high-security rating such as a Sold Secure Diamond rated product will provide better protection than using two locks without any security testing.

Choosing the security level or type of lock is down to individual circumstance and personal preference as we all use our motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in different ways - couriers, delivery drivers, commuting to work, touring, social and pleasure use. Remember the best security is a layered approach i.e. using a range of measures to deter, delay and detect a criminal by using approved security locks, a tracking system and a cover, so don’t consider each of the measures in isolation.

When buying a lock, you should ask several questions:

  • Will the lock perform its job? Buying a motorcycle lock without an approved security test, is just not worth it.

  • How do you know what a quality lock is? A quality lock is one that has been accredited with the Police Preferred Specification.

  • Will it protect my motorcycle? An accredited bike lock will act as a strong deterrent to any thief.

All SBD approved motorcycle locks have been independently accredited to the Sold Secure standard run by the Master Locksmiths Association.

3. Cover - Covering your bike makes it harder to steal

Thieves often ‘shop’ for particular motorcycle makes and models, as some are more desirable than others.

Using a cover instantly makes it harder for them to know what the make and model of the bike is. A cover also provides another time-consuming obstacle for the thief.

Types of Locks

Thieves often steal a bike by breaking the steering lock and wheeling it away. It is preferable to use a chain lock through the back wheel as the front wheel can be more easily removed. Secure your bike, with the lock taut to an immovable object such as a ground anchor or street furniture. This will stop thieves from easily cutting a lock trailing on the ground using a battery powered angle grinder. If this isn’t possible, thread the chain through your bike frame and back wheel. Keeping the lock off the ground can prevent it being attacked and smashed.

Disc Locks and D locks – use a disc lock to help secure the front brake disc or alternately a D lock on the front wheel to stop it being wheeled away.

Security Ground anchors - these are designed to provide a permanent fixing point either at home in the garage or driveway. If you are using your motorcycle for commuting, ask your employer to provide one at your place of work. The important thing to remember is they need to be installed correctly into a solid foundation to give the maximum effect.

Using different combinations of locks on your motorcycle will make it more difficult to steal, especially when using an SBD approved ground anchor system.

4. Don’t forget to remove the keys

Thieves are often opportunists and so they will always look first for bikes that are quick and easy to steal. Always use the steering lock and remove the ignition keys, even if you are close by or away for just a few minutes. Never rely on just using your steering lock to secure your bike, as thieves can break the steering lock and simply wheel the bike away or load into a van and drive off.

5. Fitting an Alarm and Immobiliser can be a deterrent to thieves

New motorcycles under the MCIA Secured scheme may have an alarm system installed as part of the star rating. However, if one hasn’t been installed, consider fitting an SBD approved Thatcham-rated system which fall into three categories

Electronic Alarm and Immobiliser (Category 1)

Electronic Immobiliser (Category 2)

Electronic Alarm (Category 2-1)

A quality Thatcham approved system that has been professionally fitted could also reduce your insurance premiums.

6. The best place to keep your motorcycle, moped or scooter is in your garage or shed

Fit a garage door defender or upgrade your garage door to an SBD approved product – these tested and certified garage doors include roller, sectional and up and over door systems.

If you have a house alarm system you may want to consider connecting the garage. For further information about alarms please visit our SBD Alarm Advice Webpage.

Sheds - if you’re keeping the motorcycle, scooter or moped in your garden shed, please see our advice page for further advice on securing your shed.

SBD approved security motorcycle lockers are also available to store your bike at home. Storing it out of view is one of the best ways to prevent opportunist theft.

No shed or garage? Park in the safest place you can.

Park it in an area near to your home where it is well overlooked with good lighting.

7. CCTV - Monitor your home and property

Technology which allows you to monitor your home and property has changed considerably in recent years. The Internet of Things [IOT] now includes Wi-Fi doorbells and camera systems. These can be linked to your phone and tablet to alert you to any activation and view your property in real time.

The installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) which can be linked to your television or video to view your property is an alternative. 

We recommend that you use products which have achieved the SBD Secure Connected Device accreditation, the only way for companies to obtain police recognition for the security of their IoT products in the UK.

This CCTV Security Advice may help you make an informed decision on its use on residential or business premises:

Parking Away from Home

When away from home, consider using a Park Mark approved car park.

There are 5,000+ ‘Park Mark’ car parks around the country. The Park Mark® Safer Parking Scheme is part of the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI) portfolio and is aimed at reducing both crime and the fear of crime in parking facilities. Accredited car parks can be found at train stations, hospitals, universities, town centres, shopping centres, leisure centres, airports, supermarkets, banks and office blocks.

The smallest has 10 spaces, the largest has 13,000. You can find them in cities, towns, villages and tourist attractions.

Buying a new motorcycle or scooter

MCIA Secured is a rating scheme for new Powered Two Wheelers – ‘PTW’, which recognises the security features fitting on these types of vehicles. A maximum of five stars can be awarded to motorcycles of 125cc (or 11kW for Electric power) or over, or three stars for motorcycles up to 125cc/11kW and scooters.

For more information on the scheme which is run by the Motor Cycle Industry Association Ltd (MCIA) and manufacturers taking part please visit their website.

SBD Police Preferred Specified Products Motorcycle & Scooter Security