Bike Security

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					Bike Security
Lock it or lose it!

who we are

The London Cycling Campaign is a volunteer-led, community based organisation working to make London a world-class cycling city. Since 1978, we’ve been improving facilities, providing information and raising the profile of cycling across London. with over 10,000 members, we are the largest urban cycling organisation in the world.

whaT we do
We bring about real improvements for cyclists in London. among our key campaigning issues are better conditions for cycling in London, increased provision of cycle parking, and more cycle training in schools and communities. See for more information. our local groups are made up of LCC members who campaign on a borough level, as well as organising rides and events and providing expert advice to local authorities on routes and facilities. The community cycling Fund for London (in which Lcc is a partner) allows community groups to apply for up to £5,000 for cycling projects that will

encourage, support and promote cycling in their community: see uk/community for more information. our free public enquiry line staffed by cyclists, comprehensive website and information leaflets on everything from bike maintenance to cycling with children means new and experienced cyclists alike have access to useful advice. We help people start and keep cycling through our membership package which includes free third party insurance, discounts in over 90 bike shops across London, free delivery of our bi-monthly magazine London Cyclist and more. Join today:

London cycling campaign is a registered charitable company. Company reg No: 1766411 Charity reg No: 1115789


04 Where to lock your bike


-overnight -at work -on street

07 Where not to lock your bike 08 types of lock


-d lock -cable lock -chain and padlock

10 extra security 11 insurance


-theft insurance -third party insurance

1 Security marking your bike 13 What to do if your bicycle is stolen 14 What to do if you are assaulted for your bicycle or other possessions
Adrian Lewis


where To LoCK YoUr BIKe

while thousands of bicycles in London are stolen in London every year, there are measures you can take to make it harder for thieves to take your bike. This leaflet is full of advice on what locks there are available, the best ways to lock your bike, where and where not to lock your bike and what measures to take to give you a better chance of recovering it in the event of theft such as registration and marking. You’ll also find advice on

insurance, what to do if your bicycle is stolen, and what measures are being taken to prevent bicycle theft in London. remember: it is essential that you have a good lock for your bicycle, and that you never leave it unlocked in a public place. Leaving your bicycle unattended even for a minute can mean it is gone when you return.

where To LoCK YoUr BIKe

If you can store your bike inside your home overnight, this is likely to be the safest option. Many insurance companies will only cover you if you store your cycle indoors overnight. If you have limited space, have a look at our leaflet on ‘Parking and Storage’ for indoor space-saving storage solutions. Parking your bike in a shed or garage can be risky, but you can take measures to improve their security: several companies sell tough anchors which either bolt directly to the floor or wall or can be installed into concrete. They come complete the tools you need to install them.


where To LoCK YoUr BIKe

Parking at work

Alternatively, have a look for these in your area: Cycle parks or public bike sheds – these are currently few and far between but they are an ideal place to lock your bike. Finsbury Park Cycle Park provides 4 hour secure parking for 15 cycles, using a smart card operated lock system. Some stations have also introduced secure bike sheds with a Smartcard locking system. Cycle lockers – these can be found at some stations, council offices and hospitals. If you think your local area could benefit from cycle lockers, try contacting your local authority.

It’s not ideal to have to lock your bike to street furniture for long periods of time – for example while you’re at work - so if your workplace doesn’t have its own secure cycle parking, see if you can get something done about it. Transport for London runs a scheme called ‘Take a Stand’ where your employer can apply for cycle parking for up to 40 bicycles. Contact TfL on 00 7 134 or the LCC office on 00 734 9310 for more information.

Adrian Lewis


Street parking

on the street it’s generally best to use cycle parking stands if these are available. Look for secure, immovable cycle parking. Make sure the parking is bolted securely or embedded into the ground. It should ideally be possible for you to lock both your frame and your wheels to the stand – parking that only allows your front wheel to be locked should be avoided as thieves can remove your front wheel and make off with the rest of your bike. ‘d’ or ‘U’ shaped Sheffield stands will usually allow you to do this, but beware of the temptation to only lock your bike through the frame as wheels can be easily removed and stolen. Some new designs encourage double locking. If there are no suitable parking stands available, then you can use secure, immovable street furniture. railings, lamp posts etc will usually allow you to lock your bike through the frame and one wheel. do make sure your bike isn’t causing an obstruction to passers by as it may be removed, and always check for signs saying you can’t lock your bike there.


Stuart Coles

where NoT To LoCK YoUr BIKe

where NoT To LoCK YoUr BIKe

It’s never a good idea to settle for inadequate parking, even just for a moment. things to avoid include: Dark alleys – even if your bike is locked, a thief will have an ideal opportunity to break through your lock. Butterfly racks – avoid parking which only allows you to secure your front wheel to the stand. even if you don’t have quick release wheels, it’s very easy for a thief to detach your wheel and make off with the rest of your bike. Short posts, or even tall posts that a lock can fit over the top of - your bike will be lifted over the top. even if there is a sign at the top that your lock can’t fit around, bear in mind that a very determined thief could unscrew the sign and lift your bike over, so it’s not a good idea to leave your bike locked to a sign post overnight.	 Drainpipes – easily shattered. railings with a warning sign that your bike may be removed – it seems cruel, but they mean it! Bicycles will also be removed from anywhere near whitehall or Parliament Square. Police may also ask you to remove your bike from some parts of the City if it is not parked in designated cycle parking.



There is a three tier security grading system developed by Sold Secure (a non-profit making company which assesses security products) which is used by many insurance companies. at the highest level are the Gold rated locking devices. These give you maximum security and may even grant you a reduction in insurance premiums, depending on your insurance provider and the type of lock; but they may be too bulky or expensive for the average user. The Silver and Bronze levels may be lighter and cheaper but still offer defence against the opportunist thief. For the full list of locks assessed by Sold Secure see or contact LCC. It’s generally advised to spend at least 10% of the value of your bike on a lock, and, if you can, to use two different types of lock to deter thieves. Locks are generally sold with two keys; always keep your spare key in a safe place in case your key is lost or stolen, and keep a note of your key number (this should be on the key itself or come with the lock when you buy it) so you can replace it if all else fails. Some lock manufacturers offer warranties to replace the lock if your cycle is stolen while locked with their lock. You may have to register and/or pay for the service. always take good care of your lock and key – treatment such as leaving your lock outdoors for prolonged periods can take its toll and if your lock breaks, you may find it very difficult to rescue your bike. don’t forget, if you’re an LCC member you’re entitled to a discount off accessories including locks in many bike shops across London. See for participating shops near you.

tips: When you lock up, try to fit the stand, the rim of one of the wheels and the frame in the D. By securing your wheel as well you’ll not only make it harder for thieves to take, but there’ll also be less space in the D which will prevent thieves from inserting bars or jacks into the space to lever the lock open. It’s best to angle the lock so that the opening is facing down. This prevents thieves from pouring in substances such as glue to prevent the owner from being able to retrieve the bike, giving them the chance to force the lock open later.

d locks

These are rigid steel locks in a d or U shape, generally very heavy and tough-looking. The more you pay, the stronger and more secure it will be. d locks range from around £0£80. They can be heavy (often over 1kg), although many come with a mounting bracket so that you can attach your lock to your frame whilst riding. They can be limiting in that they will not fit around all street furniture, for example lamp posts.



Cable locks
Cable locks can vary enormously in weight and strength. They are more flexible so can be used in situations where a d lock might not fit, but thinner, cheaper versions are very easily cut through. however, thicker cable locks can be very secure. Thinner cables are useful in combination with other locks to secure parts like wheels or your saddle so that you don’t need to remove them every time you leave your bike.

Adrian Lewis

Chains and padlocks

Adrian Lewis

These can be very heavy and impractical to cart around, but they are very tough and a good quality hardened heavy-duty chain combined with a couple of very good hardened padlocks may be the strongest option available. If you need to leave your cycle locked up outside somewhere regularly you might consider leaving your chain locked there permanently (though please keep in mind inconvenience to other users).


exTra SeCUrITY

exTra SeCUrITY

d locks and cable locks only allow you to lock the frame and one wheel of your bike, so you may decide to buy two d locks to secure both wheels, or to buy a cable lock to secure the second wheel. alternatively, you could combine your d lock with an ‘extension’ cable – a flexible cable with open loop ends which you can loop through the wheel you haven’t locked and secure to the d lock before you lock it. If you have quick release mechanisms on your bike, it can be very easy for thieves to steal your saddle and wheels. You may wish to replace the quick release mechanisms with ordinary bolts or nuts which fit a spanner or allen key; or you can buy special locking nuts which can only be undone with a specially designed version of an allen key which is sold with the bolt. If you’re unsure about this, your bike shop should be able to advise you and fit the replacement if necessary.

Lionel Shapiro alternatively, you could remove the front wheel and secure it within the lock around the frame and back wheel, or take your saddle with you. If you are very security conscious it is possible to solder a nonquick release saddle into place, but this is not advisable unless you are very sure how high you want your saddle to be.

Adrian Lewis



It is definitely worth considering insuring your bicycle against theft. Your bicycle may already be covered on your household insurance, but if this is the case it’s important to check the fine print – many people choose to purchase separate cycle theft insurance to avoid the large excess and strict requirements that come with some household insurance policies. To satisfy any claims make sure you keep the receipt for your bike, or get written evaluation from a bike shop. LCC offers a deal on theft insurance to members, including personal injury insurance: see for more information or call us on 00 734 9310. When you’re deciding which insurance policy is right for you, look out for: how much your excess is – sometimes this can be almost as much as the bike is worth, particularly with household insurance. whether the insurance will cover the full amount of what it will cost to replace the bike – some companies will only replace your cycle at a depreciated value once it reaches a certain age (often after just two or three years). whether your cycle will be covered for theft when it is not in your home. whether your accessories will be covered if your cycle is stolen. whether the insurance company will give you the choice of where your replacement cycle comes from – some companies will only provide you with a cycle of similar specification from a large supplier. whether your premium will increase the following year if you have to make a claim under the policy. whether you will be covered for travelling abroad with your bicycle. whether you will need to buy a certain approved lock – you may require a lock of a certain security rating to be covered, so do double-check this and take the specification to your bike shop if you are unsure. whether you will need additional insurance if you choose to do any racing or timetrialing.



Third party insurance

Third party insurance offers protection if you are involved in a collision where you injure someone else and/or damage their property and they decide to make a claim against you. Third party insurance is mandatory for car drivers, but for cyclists this is left up to the individual. It may not seem as if you and a bicycle could do much damage to another person’s vehicle or property, but you could find that a little dent on an expensive car could cost you dearly. Injury to another person can be even more expensive. The cover offered by most insurance companies will be at least one million pounds for damage or injury. Some insurance companies offer third party insurance as part of their theft insurance policy. If you’re an LCC member, you are automatically covered for third party insurance. For more information on this please see or call the LCC office on 00 734 9310.


Many insurance companies will ask you to security tag your cycle. even if you don’t insure your cycle this is a good idea, as it means you have full record of your cycle on file somewhere, which could help you to prove it is yours if it is stolen and then found by the police. The most important thing to keep a note of is your frame number as this is unique to your bicycle. Your frame number will usually be stamped on the underneath of your bottom bracket, which is where the pedals are attached, or on the rear fork ends where the back wheel slots in. It’s a good idea to keep a photograph of your bike with a note of details like frame number, model number, make, colour, and any special details.

There are many different schemes offering different levels of tagging. Some police stations will stamp your postcode and house number or name onto your bike and keep an electronic record of your details. They will also give you a coded cycle sticker to show that it has been marked. You could also use ultra-violet markings as police do check for these when stolen bikes are found. Call local police stations in your area to see if any of them offer this service. LCC recommends that you register your bike on This is the property register for the UK used by the Met Police to reunite stolen goods with their legitimate owners. registration is free. For about £5 you can get a non-removable sticker for the bike to show it’s been registered. a slightly more expensive but very effective way of tagging your bike is with an electronic tag and corresponding record kept on a database with a system such as datatag. The datatag is tiny and fits inside the frame of your bike, and is detectable by the police.


Lionel Shapiro

whaT To do IF YoUr BICYCLe IS SToLeN

whaT To do IF YoUr BICYCLe IS SToLeN

report the theft to the police. even if you don’t think you are likely to get your cycle back it is worth reporting the theft. Provide as much information as you can, including the frame number, type of bike, any distinctive details, where and when it was stolen, and if you can, a photo. To report a theft online you can go to, or contact your local police station. You can report incidents either by phone or in person. when you report the theft ask for your Crime reference number: having a number will help you to trace the progress of your case, and if you have theft insurance you will need this number to report the theft to your insurance company. Keep in mind that while some insurance companies are happy with a Crime reference number, others require the key to your lock.


whaT To do IF YoU are aSSaULTed For YoUr BICYCLe or oTher PoSSeSSIoNS

In the unlikely event that you are mugged for your bicycle or belongings, police recommend that you give these up as you might otherwise risk injury as well as losing your bike. They advise victims to call 999 immediately, especially if there is a possibility of catching the culprits. do not be concerned about calling 999 with a non life threatening incident. If you need to report an assault after the event, contact your local police station.



More inForMAtion London cycling campaign Find this information and more on our website, including how to join and get access to a special deal on theft insurance. t: 00 734 9310 w: Sold Secure a non-profit company dedicated to reducing the risk of crime by assessing locks. Find rated bike locks on their website. t: 0137 64687 w: Bikeoff a ‘design against Crime’ project which aims to reduce cycle theft through design research. t: 00 7514 8351 w: Lock SuppLierS ABuS w: kryptonite w: english chain company Ltd w: Henry Squire and Sons Ltd w:

Free London Cyclist magazines
For all the news affecting cyclists in the city plus features, reviews, maintenance tips, great rides and offers.

Free third party insurance
Covers you for up to £million worth of damages if you injure someone or damage their property.

Up to 10% off bike gear
You’ll get great discounts at bike shops throughout London where you can save money on everything from a new bike to a puncture repair kit.

Free legal advice
If you ever find yourself involved in an accident you can call any one of our cyclist-friendly solicitors for free advice.

a world class cycling city
LCC is the only organisation campaigning and lobbying exclusively to ensure the best possible routes, facilities and services for people who cycle in London.

PLUS special deals on theft insurance,
discounts on cycle maintenance training, free leisure rides, events and campaigns in and around your borough.


aBoUT TheSe LeaFLeTS

There are 13 information booklets in this series.

Get more out of cycling in London Join the London Cycling Campaign to save money and get all the support you need to cycle in London - from free and specialised insurance, updates on the latest cycle routes and social rides, to London Cyclist magazine, the essential read for everyone who cycles in London. add to this the discounts you’ll get in bike shops and on cycle training and you’ll see why LCC membership is as necessary to you as your pedals. In turn your membership will help us to make your cycling safer, quicker and more pleasant around London: we are constantly lobbying and campaigning on your behalf to win real improvements that affect us all.

Getting started
Buying a bike Getting started on a bicycle cycling for people with disabilities cycle Sense

cycling to work A guide for employers parking and storage

Leisure rides cycling with children travelling with your bicycle

cycle maintenance Bike security protection: insurance and incidents These leaflets can be downloaded from or ordered from the LCC office by calling 00 734 9310. This edition published May 007. Many thanks to Che Sutherland, Tom Bogdanowicz and rosie downes for their contributions to these leaflets.

Cover image: Lionel Shapiro

London Cycling Campaign  Newham’s row London Se1 3UZ t: 00 734 9310 f: 00 734 9319 e: w:

cycling... good for London, good for you!

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