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Chain it! Bike theft back again

2012-05-08 08:50


Sad, but it seems motorcycle theft is again increasing in South Africa. One recent incident cost a schoolgirl her scooter while she was at a shopping mall.

All it takes is two guys, a bakkie and two minutes...

The girl's dad, a mate of mine, was understandably very annoyed: "The whole reason for getting her the bike was so she could come and go freely from school in this her final year without having to depend on lifts."


Yes, of course he had reported the incident to the local police, but they felt there was very little chance of recovering the scoot. “It seems, understandably, that they are more concerned with serious,” the irate parent said. (It was the policeman at the station who said bike theft, especially of scooters and smaller motorcycles, was becoming more common.)

“Two-wheel theft is actually a global problem – not just in South Africa,” I told my pal. In the UK there’s a National Criminal Intelligence Service (set up in 1992 to combat serious and organised crime) and its latest figures in a report on motorcycle theft – moped, scooter or superbike - suggests 600 bikes on average are stolen every month up and down that country.

It’s so bad in the UK that during one of the 2011 summer months, 2007 bikes were reported stolen out of a total of 13 410 motorcycles sold! Further delving on bike theft – again in the UK – revealed that 760 000 two-wheelers have been reported stolen and never recovered since 1971.

OK, so what can we do to prevent bike theft. There’s a combination of things: the best solution might be to carry a length of hefty chain link (available to length from any hardware shop) and threaded through an old bicycle inner-tube. While you're in the shop buy the sturdiest padlock you can afford.

Or you can buy a chain/padlock set from a motorcycle outlet or - again - a good hardware store.

Now, every time you nip to the shops/work/gym, wrap the chain around a lamp post/road sign/fencepost and around the front or rear axle of your machine and squeeze the padlock shut. Even better, use the bike's frame - silly to come back to your bike and find only a wheel still safely chained.

This is sure to be an inconvenience for the first few trips but I’ll wager your bike won’t ever be interfered with. Carry the chain and lock in a small canvas bag under the seat. If you have a regular bike you’ll just have to get used to carrying it in a rucksack or, if you have grab handles for the pillion seat, threat it through them and lock it in place until needed.

In Europe the recovery rate is about 45% but about 2.5-million bikes have stolen there the five years.

Park you bike at night in the family garage (or use your chain if you don't have one) but don’t leave the key in the ignition in the garage - that’s asking for trouble should you ever be burgled.

We’ve all got to make it harder for thieves to just walk away with our possessions when they feel like it!

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