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.
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 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.