Cycle parking specialists, Bike Dock Solutions, has deployed hidden cameras to highlight the ease with which thieves can steal a bike, even in busy surroundings, without anyone intervening to ask them what they are doing.
Filmed at Dagenham market in East London, more than ten ‘thefts’ were staged of a bike during a 60-minute period, none of which resulted in anyone approaching the ‘thief,’ who was equipped with a pair of boltcutters.
While the bike was ‘secured’ with the kind of flimsy cable lock that no cyclist wanting to hang on to their bike should use and the film is perhaps not the most rigorous of studies, it does highlight that on this occasion at least, the ‘thief’ was able to operate in broad daylight with impunity.
According to Bike Dock Solutions, the film underlines that it takes an average of nearly three minutes for people to become aware a theft has happened, and at particularly busy times, as many as 15 people could pass by a theft in progress without realising what was happening.
The company added that afterwards, market stewards said that a couple of people had told them they had seen someone stealing a bike, although that happened far too late to apprehend the ‘thief.’
In Greater London alone, 22,464 bikes were reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police in 2011, a 2.3 per cent increase on the previous year.
Josh Coleman, Director of Bike Dock Solutions, commented: “Although more and more people are being encouraged to take up cycling, they are still being deterred by the lack of secure cycle parking facilities.
"In the UK, a bicycle is stolen every minute and less than five per cent of those are returned to their owners," he continued.
“Cyclists are more likely to have their bikes stolen than motorcyclists their motorcycle or car owners their car, and cycle theft is found to be the single greatest deterrent to cycle use after fears concerning road safety,” he added.
Organisations including the London Cycling Campaign recommend using two secure-rated locks, one a D-lock, the other a chain or cable, and securing the bike to an immovable object such as a bike stand.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.