The figure of 35,000 motorcycles and scooters stolen a year in the UK seems quite low when compared with that of cars, which averages a staggering 250,000, however, it actually represents 1 bike in every 40, which is quite simply massive!
Many bikes are actually stolen just for the parts. This fact reduces dramatically the number of bikes that are recovered; just 32%, which is less than half that of cars.
So, if you take your CBT at 16 and ride until you reach mid-fifties, the law of averages says that you will have at least one bike stolen. That’s if you’re lucky.
Ever since thieves started stealing bikes, vehicle security manufacturers have developed products to prevent them. These range from locks and chains to alarms and immobilisers. The use of ground anchors is perhaps one of the most physically strongest devices, whereby a plate is set in concrete into the ground, usually in a garage, and then a chain is secured through the bike and locked into the anchor. You can also get ground anchors that can be drilled into concrete, which are a great deal easier to install.
However, since the dawn of Thatcham’s vehicle security testing centre in 1994, vehicle security manufacturers and insurance companies have favoured the use of electronic security, such as alarms, immobilisers and even tracking systems.
Many bikes now actually come with a Thatcham approved immobiliser as standard, classed as a Category 2. These can be upgraded by adding a Thatcham Category 2-1 upgrade alarm system. For bikes without any form of security, a Thatcham Category 1 combines both an alarm and an immobiliser.
Unlike car security systems, bike products have to be built to withstand much much more. Weather, extreme heat and cold, vibration and current drain all have to be taken into consideration. One manufacturer has actually designed a range of Thatcham approved alarms that warn the owner when the battery level drops, having gone through a series of power reducing functions first.
Perhaps the most popular make of bike alarm has a remote control that can house the ignition key and comes with a lanyard, so there’s no need for a key-ring, which if you wear leathers, is a life saver!
It is also possible to track bikes, however, we would only ever recommend this when fitted in conjunction with an alarm, as alone, a tracking system is unlikely to alert you quickly enough should a theft occur.
However, getting the right product fitted is only half of the equation; the installer is just as important. Thatcham has recently introduced its Thatcham Recognised Installer initiative, which is designed to eliminate the plethora of unprofessional and unqualified vehicle security installers in the UK and have a network of installers all working to the same stringent guidelines. It is hoped that the insurance companies will start to demand the use of a Thatcham Recognised Installer from early 2010.
So, whether you are thinking of purchasing a physical lock or chain, or perhaps an electronic security device such as an alarm or immobiliser, always demand Thatcham approved products and Thatcham Recognised installers!