Motorcycle theft is often a crime of opportunity. If you make your motorcycle more difficult to steal, you'll reduce your theft risk and better protect your prized possession. We have some key information and practical tips that may help you minimize the danger.
To adequately protect your bike, you first need to recognize the risks. Not surprisingly, thefts are more common during riding season (May–October), when bikes are out of storage and more visible to prospective thieves.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, motorcycle thefts in 2016 totaled 46,467. The good news is we’ve seen a steady decline in the years since, with 2019 showing 40,380 thefts. We won’t know the complete picture for 2020 until the next report is published sometime later this year. But even if that encouraging trend continues, it won’t be much comfort if you’re one of the tens of thousands of riders who have their bikes stolen.
Let’s look at how you can avoid joining that group.
Parking your motorcycle near a gas station, restaurant, hotel, or at a rally or event can provide an opportunity for theft. Here are some steps you can take to help protect your bike:
Some bold thieves prefer to pick out a target and wait for the right moment to make their move. For example, they see you riding and follow you to see where you live or work. That’s why situational awareness is essential.
If you notice a vehicle that seems to be following you, change directions frequently and randomly. If they keep following you, don’t go home or to your workplace. Ride to a public place with plenty of potential witnesses in case they consider bike-jacking you. Stop and wait for them to leave.
If they’re persistent and you feel threatened, call 911 and describe the vehicle and the occupants. If the situation escalates, remember—it’s only a bike. Don’t start or engage in a confrontation. Your safety is more important.
Even at home, you shouldn’t let your guard down. That’s where your motorcycle will likely be parked most—and you won’t always be there to watch over it. Take these basic tips:
Locking the ignition and using the steering lock can help prevent theft, but if the thief has time and tools, that might not be enough. Consider using other locks as well:
We encourage you to keep your required legal motorcycle documents with you when you ride—with one key exception. Let’s take a look:
A physical, add-on lock isn’t your only option for protecting your motorcycle. An alarm system can give you an audible warning if someone tries to take your bike. However, you shouldn’t count on it as a sole motorcycle anti-theft device—particularly in areas where car alarms are so common they’re often ignored.
You can hide theft-prevention GPS units on your motorcycle, which may speed up recovery if the bike is stolen. Some use the motorcycle’s power, while others have separate batteries. Understand that a GPS unit requires a separate service that sends location information to you. In addition, your motorcycle needs to be visible to satellites for it to work. An underground garage or dead battery will stop the signal.
A kill switch allows you to disable the motorcycle’s ignition system. If you choose to install one, make sure it’s well-hidden and easy for you to use without revealing it to others. The switch can help you avoid ride-off thefts, but make sure you can’t accidentally activate it while you’re riding.
You get what you pay for with motorcycle security equipment. Research any device before you buy. Online reviews and motorcycle forums can provide you some extra insight. Also, your mechanic may be able to share what other riders recommend.
Remember: No matter what kind of bike you ride, security devices are only effective if you use them. You’re the key to protecting your ride. And with our affordable coverages and safety resources, we’re here to help you along the way. Request a free, quick quote today.
The general information in this blog is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our blog disclaimer.