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Sustrans says not enough people are using good locks

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has described bicycle theft as "almost like the new car theft," but says the problem is not being helped by many people leaving their bikes poorly secured or even unlocked.

The BBC reports that bike theft is on the rise across Northern Ireland. The highest levels are being seen in south Belfast, as has been the case for the past 10 years.

PSNI Sgt Pete Cunningham said that "people are leaving their bikes unattended, which provides a unique opportunity for others to take them".

He emphasised that bikes needed to be secured when people were out and about. "Even if it is just for a short period of time, they need to be secured and left in a well-lit area."

Claire McLernon of Sustrans said that even though she herself had been a victim of bike theft, people shouldn’t be deterred from cycling.

"If you're committed to buying a good bicycle, you need to be equally as committed to buying a good lock. I had a bicycle that had the lock cut through in south Belfast, but it was a cheap chain from a hardware store.

"I'm hearing more about bikes being stolen, but I try to take the positive from that, that more people must be cycling.

"People are learning how to deal with bike theft and there are improvements being made. Nobody should be put off cycling by bike theft – just make sure you protect yourself against it."

Paul Manton, manager of McConvey's Cyclesin south Belfast, agrees that people in Northern Ireland aren’t spending enough on bike security. "We would recommend that people spend at least 10 per cent of the value of their bike on a lock, but very few people rely on good quality locks. You could have a two or three thousand pound bike in your shed, which only has a £5 padlock on its door and no lock on the bike itself."

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