One positive effect of lockdown has been the reduced number of bike thefts across the region, but with lockdown measures set to ease over the coming weeks, The Bicycle Hub is urging bicycle owners to protect their bikes to help discourage thieves.
According to Gloucestershire police figures, reported bicycle thefts more than doubled in July and September 2020 when lockdown restrictions were relaxed, compared to the previous months of March and April during the start of the first lockdown.
Steve Short, owner of the online bike shop, whose business also has a bicycle hire outlet based at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station, cautions: “As we head into spring, we anticipate that our new range of bikes will be quickly snapped up, and as we prepare for the prospect of lockdown restrictions easing, many cyclists, including families, are looking forward to having the freedom to cycle further afield. However, we must be aware that this also provides thieves with the perfect opportunity to steal bikes.
“While storage and security are always top priority, we’re also stressing to cyclists the importance of getting their bikes security marked and registered. As a highly effective, visible deterrent to bike thieves, anyone caught with a registered bicycle faces arrest and also means the owner can be traced.”
Steve continues: “Bikes aren’t of course just used for leisure purposes; we’re likely to see more people locally commuting to work by bike as a way of continuing their daily exercise ritual they discovered during lockdown.”
Bicycle Hub is offering a free police-approved security marking kit to all cyclists when booking a service or purchasing a new bike. The security marking is permanently and chemically etched using a unique BikeRegister ID into the coating of a bike's frame. Not only does it act as a deterrent for thieves, it also enables police or anyone buying a bike from a seller to check the bike frame number as well as the unique BikeRegister ID on the database to prove ownership and determine whether the bike is stolen.
The Gloucestershire Police’s ‘How safe is your bike?’ page offers useful tips to ensure bikes remain safe and secure. The campaign advises cyclists to: