London bike thefts down by 10 percent, says TfL

Security marking and crackdown on dodgy classifieds pays off

Bike thefts in London are down 10 percent since October last year, thanks to an initiative called Project Cycle Ops, Transport for London says.

The number of bike thefts in London from October 2012 to the end of August 2013 was 19,052, compared with 21,488 in 2012 and 20,411 in 2011 over the same time period. Against a three-year average (used to flatten out fluctuations caused by spells of extreme weather) bike theft is down by 10.3 per cent.

Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor of London’s Cycling Commissioner, said: "Many people who have their bikes stolen simply give up cycling, so cracking down on this crime is essential for the Mayor's ambition to double the number of cyclists. In the months ahead, you will see more initiatives from us to pile further pressure on the thieves and shrink the market in stolen bikes."

2,000 unclaimed bikes

If you’ve had a bike stolen and didn’t report it, it’s possible the police have recovered it. There are over  2,000 unclaimed bikes in police stations across London and the police have launched a photo gallery on Flickr in an attempt to get bikes and other items of stolen property back to their owners: 

Project Cycle Ops is a collaboration between TfL, the Metropolitan Police Service, British Transport Police and the City of London Police. Over the last year the forces have security marked and registered over 40,000 bikes on BikeRegister.com, which helps to deter thieves and reunite people with their bikes if they are lost or stolen.

As well as encouraging people to get their bikes registered and security marked, police suggest that you ask to see proof of ownership and registration before buying a second-hand bike.

Combatting the trade in stolen bikes has been a major part of Project Cycle Ops. Gumtree.com now displays a message advising users to check a bike’s serial number against bikeregister.com and offering other tips to spot stolen bikes and scams

Police have also worked behind the scenes with Gumtree to catch thieves in the act as they attempt to sell bikes and bike parts online.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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