Bikes go missing in under 20 minutes if not secured

An experiment to see how quickly bike thieves strike in various places around the UK has been carried out – using unlocked cycles.

Researchers from insurance company More Than were shocked to find that an unlocked £130 bike left at London Bridge railway station was stolen in 17 minutes.

They also seemed surprised to discover that bikes left in Glasgow, Birmingham and Cardiff will go rather promptly too, if not secured.

Perhaps the one truly surprising discovery made was that a bike left unlocked in Liverpool’s Mathew Street hung around for three hours and 52 minutes before someone took it, shattering the city’s unfair reputation for being a place of opportunistic thievery.

Ten cities were earmarked for the honesty test. The Cycling City of Bristol fared relatively well, with a bike remaining intact for three hours and 15 minutes, and even thieves in Manchester’s busy Arndale shopping centre took a slothful two hours 57 minutes to take theirs.

More Than staff involved in the experiment were shocked at the ‘efficiency and expertise’ of those who took the bikes. One grabbed one as he jogged past, and another got off his own bike and wheeled the stolen one away.

The point being made was that bike theft costs the nation £65 million a year, and that locking your bike with a good lock to something secure is a handy way of deterring thieves. Unless they’re the sort who carry bolt croppers around, of course..….

The table of shame in full:

Liverpool, Mathew Street - three hours 52 minutes

Bristol, East Street, Bedminster - three hours 15 minutes

Manchester, Arndale shopping centre, Market Street - two hours 57 minutes

Norwich, Exchange Street - two hours 34 minutes

Newcastle, Eldon Garden shopping centre, Percy Street - two hours 25 minutes

Portsmouth, Albert Road, Southsea - two hours 12 minutes

Cardiff, Capitol shopping mall, Queen Street - two hours 10 minutes

Birmingham, The Rag Market, Edgbaston Street - one hour 55 minutes

Glasgow, Buchanan Street, one hour 30 minutes

London, London Bridge Station, Duke Street Hill - 17 minutes


DaveP [412 posts] 8 years ago

I have to hold my hand up and say: "This afternoon I helped four, slightly tipsy, late teenage lads break the lock off a pair of mountain bikes.. "

We were leaving the Cheshire Show and spotted some lads acting sus around a bunch of bikes.. It looked very much like they were trying to steal them, or they were just too drunk to get the lock off. I approached them to find the the bikes were their 'pride an joys' and they hadn't imbibed _that_ much..  3

They'd bought a pair of U locks from Pound Stretcher for their day out, at an impressive £2.99 each. One had operated perfectly (well.. the 2 secured bikes _were_ still there), but one lock was working overtime on the permanency aspect of security and just wouldn't release the final two steeds.. The key didn't want to go into the lock.  2

I manfully offered my talents ( the tire-iron out of my Landy ), and within 10 seconds the situation was resolved. No paint was scratched or metal dented and the riders were free to wobble off home..

This is not a recommendation to buy £2.99 locks from Pound Stretcher, but as has been proven by MoreThan: Anything has to be better than nothing.  26

Jon Burrage [997 posts] 8 years ago

East Street in Bedminster...leave a bike in broadmead and it will be lucky to last 5 minutes.

wild man [297 posts] 8 years ago

Surely the reverse is true- the way to get a bike nicked is to lock it, laying down a challenge to the potential tea leaf. In the Simpsons, when Homer wanted rid of a trampoline nobody would take, he shifted it by using a bike lock to shackle it to a lamppost.

Anyone remember the old- skool combination locks? I was taught to crack these by a crook with a sense of humour when I left my bike chained to a tree, and came back to find it chained two trees down.

OldRidgeback [2877 posts] 8 years ago

It's for this reason that I have a very old but still functional Ridgeback that is the bike I leave at the station when I take the train to work. It's also the bike I use to cycle into town. It's not been cleaned since I bought it, 20 years ago.

dave atkinson [6353 posts] 8 years ago

so it's not just a clever name then?  1