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London cyclists urged to lock up their bikes properly to thwart the thieves

Sadiq Khan, TfL and police forces team up with Halfords in anti-bike theft campaign

A major anti-bike theft campaign has been launched in London, with the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) teaming up with police and the retailer Halfords in an effort to beat the thieves.

The initiative will also see Londoners who complete TfL’s free online Cycle Skills course offered discounts at Halfords of 15 per cent on bike security accessories including the retailer’s own range of locks to help encourage more people to cycle.

The campaign comes after a 20 per cent increase in cycling in the capital in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, while Halfords has seen a 60 per cent rise in sales of new bikes.

However, the growth in cycling has been accompanied by a big jump in reported bike thefts, which between April and September this year were almost three times higher than they were last year.

A survey commissioned by Halfords found that almost half of cyclists in London – 47 per cent – have not marked or registered their bike, which it says makes them more vulnerable to thieves.

Seven in 10 respondents to the survey said that the use a bike lock, but only half use a more robust, secure one, says the retailer, which recommends using two Sold Secure gold standard locks, one of them a D-lock, when locking up a bike.

> Bike locks: how to choose and use the best lock to protect your bike

Cyclists are also advised to lodge the details of their bike with Bike Register and mark the frames of their bikes accordingly with the unique ID number to help deter thieves.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I know how distressing it can be when a bike is stolen. As well as doing all we can to address the scourge of bike theft, I urge Londoners to register their bike and invest in a good quality lock to minimise the risk of theft.”

Halfords chief executive, Graham Stapleton, commented: “We are delighted to partner with TfL in support of our mission to get more Londoners cycling, as a healthy and green way to travel around the capital.

“Our partnership will encourage people to brush up on their cycling skills, make sure their bikes are more secure, and learn more about the Cycle2Work scheme.

“Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a huge rise in cycling, with sales of bikes up 60 per cent on last year. Yet research we have commissioned has shown that almost one in 10 Londoners are not using any of the most commonplace bike security measures, despite figures showing theft is on the rise.

“Taking security measures like good-quality locks and registering your bike on a national database can make a huge difference in protecting your bicycle.”

“We want as many people as possible to be able to get back on a bike and our campaign with TfL, alongside initiatives such as Halfords free 32-point bike check, aims to do just that.”

The initiative is being supported by the Metropolitan Police Service, with Acting Chief Superintendent Gary Taylor of the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, saying: “Frustratingly, bicycles still remain a popular target for opportunistic thieves and the Met is committed to working closely with TfL to educate Londoners about the risks and the best measures we can take to prevent crime.

“This includes encouraging cyclists to use designated cycle parking spaces, investing in good quality locks and registering your bike with Bike Register. We welcome this initiative and look forward to continue working closely to improve cycle security and safety throughout the capital.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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miekwidnes | 27 posts | 2 years ago
1 like

2 minor points

1) the person at fault here is the thief - saying people should lock their bikes better is kinda like victim blaming??

2) people who say there is no point in locking it if a thief can angle grind it in under a minute - OK - do you lock your front door - why???

You need to lock your bike properly to make it more difficult to steal and make thieves carry specific equipment - you are guarding against the casual thief - not the professional


and - yes - I always lock my bike

ktache replied to miekwidnes | 5909 posts | 2 years ago

The use of a lock also seems to be a requirement for most insurance policies to payout.

markieteeee replied to ktache | 334 posts | 2 years ago

Also for it to be locked to an 'immovable' object, unless it's on your own private property (which does not count, locked communal areas in flats or multiple occupancy dwellings)


ktache | 5909 posts | 2 years ago

Halfords do a range of Kryptonite and Abus. 15% is a good discount.

Leaving the bigger lock at work, carrying the smaller one (chain for me) which is kind of adequete for popping into a shop.

Lockable skewers are a good idea and I have invested heavily in HexLox to try and keep my bits.

Filthy bicycles don't look as expensive.

kil0ran | 2914 posts | 2 years ago
1 like

Reality is that it's a pain carrying one Sold Secure Gold lock, let alone two plus a chain. I think it's a significant barrier to further cycling growth. I never carry one on MTB or road rides because they tend to be out and back rides, but that also means that I don't stop for cake/shopping/etc.

If you're on a road bike you can stick one inside the main triangle but can't carry two, and that single one will end up taking up space used for a water bottle or tool caddy. Good luck getting even one inside the main triangle of an MTB.

Brightspark replied to kil0ran | 77 posts | 2 years ago

Perhaps if the police took reports of cycle thefts more seriously. You know the sort of thing. Collected data as to when and where bikes were reported stolen,  gathering evidence like fingerprints etc, go to where the unsold bikes are dumped and do the same thing there. Visit the people selling the stolen bikes on Gumtree and in Brick know the sort of thing.

Oh sorry, I forgot, cycle crime is not real crime.

Hirsute replied to kil0ran | 8066 posts | 2 years ago

The only holder I have seen that allows a myriad of options is the abus

In that photo the lock is forward but can easily be positioned so that it's leading edge is level with the seat tube.

The collar on the lock can also be toed in or out to avoid your foot or spokes.

Awavey replied to kil0ran | 3782 posts | 2 years ago

but as per todays live blog, whats the point anyway ? if someone can merrily angle grind a gold secure lock away for more than 5mins in broad daylight on a busy street and cut through a lock, then theres no point even carrying a lock is there ?

OldRidgeback replied to Awavey | 4483 posts | 2 years ago

Not long ago I had to borrow an angle grinder to cut the lock off my own motorbike. The lock had seized completely so I had no other option. The angle grinder dealt with it very quickly.

What was interesting was that nobody stopped. This was in my own street so perhaps some people recognised me and knew it was my bike. But several people just walked past, ignoring what was going on. 

Captain Badger replied to OldRidgeback | 4046 posts | 2 years ago
1 like

OldRidgeback wrote:

Not long ago I had to borrow an angle grinder to cut the lock off my own motorbike. The lock had seized completely so I had no other option. The angle grinder dealt with it very quickly.

What was interesting was that nobody stopped. This was in my own street so perhaps some people recognised me and knew it was my bike. But several people just walked past, ignoring what was going on. 

Back in the late 80s a mate of mine at school spent about 30mins in Hanworth Main Street sawing off his D-lock. A copper eventually sidled up to him and asked him if it was his bike. He reponded "Yes." and continued to saw. The copper walked off.....

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