Preventing Your Motorcycle from Being Stolen

preventing motorcycle from being stolenIn the past 10 years, there have been more than 236,000 motorcycles stolen in the United States. That’s five bikes stolen every hour, according to LoJack, a company which sells motorcycle recovery systems.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports more than 42,000 motorcycles were stolen in the U.S. in 2014. The good news is that the numbers are slightly lower than thefts tallied for 2013. The bad news is that only about 35 percent of those motorcycle owners ever saw their bike again.

Why Are So Many Motorcycles Being Stolen?

A lot of motorcycles are stolen mainly because it’s not a difficult thing to do. Many motorcyclists are uneducated about anti-theft technology, according to esurance.com. Thieves have an easier time cracking many of the locks used, and bikes that have a remote starting device allow bike-jackers to turn on the ignition without even worrying about a lock.

Thieves can make a healthy profit from the sale of stripped parts. Motorcycles with aftermarket enhancements are also very attractive to thieves.
NICB statistics show one is most likely to have their motorcycle stolen in California, Florida, and Texas. North Carolina and Indiana are not far behind. South Carolina, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Nevada are also popular states for motorcycle thieves. Statistics show that a person is more likely to have their motorcycle stolen in the summer months and early fall, which is not particularly surprising because it is motorcycle season.

According to The Bikebandit Blog, the top five motorcycles stolen most often, by make and model, are, in the order listed, the:
• Honda CBR600RR
• Yamaha R6
• Suzuki G-SXR 600
• Harley Davidson FLH Series
• Kawasaki ZX-6R

(Occurrence of theft is highly correlated with each brand’s popularity. A notable exception is Harley Davidson which is the most popular brand in the United States, but not the type of bike most frequently stolen.)

How Are The Bikes Being Stolen?

The preferred method of motorcycle thieves in recent years is to quickly load an unsecured bike on to a truck or van and drive away, according to BikeBandit. Because the whole bike is picked up, locks and alarms are usually of little benefit to the owner. This sort of theft can be done in broad daylight in as little as 15 seconds – even in areas where a lot of people are around.

BikeBandit reports that organized motorcycle theft rings in New York and southern California have been shut down in the last two or three years. Sometimes entire bikes are shipped overseas for sales in foreign countries. However, most stolen motorcycles do not remain whole. Traceable parts, such as engines and frames, are sold for scrap and other parts are sold on eBay or Craigslist. Sometimes the thieves use a clean frame and motor to build and resell a complete bike with a clear title.

If the thief is the drive-the-bike-away type, it is likely he is a professional and will know how to test for an alarm, find it, and disarm it. He may bring a separate ignition switch with him to start the bike and will cut any locks and chains. Sometimes these individuals work “on order,” shopping for a particular model and color of bike, and they will have a well-thought-out plan to find and steal a particular make and model of motorcycle.

How To Better Secure Your Motorcycle

The first thing a motorcycle owner should do is take measures to deter would-be thieves from targeting his or her bike. Simply covering your bike with a non-descript cover may draw attention away from it. Parking in a well-lit, visible location is also a good idea. Some type of high-quality security device should also be considered – such as a disc lock equipped with an alarm and a chain that can be looped through the frame or rear wheel of the bike.

Here are some additional tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to help keep your motorcycle from being stolen:
• Be sure to lock your ignition and remove the key. Many bike thefts occur when the ignition is shut off, but not locked.
• Lock the forks or disc brakes. Make sure locks are wrapped as tightly as possible.
• Add an audible alarm to your motorcycle, preferably one that cannot easily be disarmed.
• Install a hidden “kill switch,” which cuts off the electricity to the motorcycle at the ignition or battery.
• If traveling with other bikes, lock bikes together.
• When traveling alone, lock your bike to a secure, stationary object such as a light pole.
• When spending the night at a hotel, locate a camera and inquire if it is in working order. Park your bike in the camera’s view. If this is not possible, park your motorcycle as close as possible to your room. Some hotels will allow you to bring the motorcycle into the room with you.
• At a public event where you must park your bike, return periodically to check on it and keep an eye out for suspicious persons in the area.
• In a parking garage, make sure your bike is locked. Shield it from the visibility of passers-by with other parked automobiles.
• Keep your bike registration and insurance card with you, but do not store the title to the motorcycle in the bike’s storage compartment or in your saddlebags. Keep the title at home.
• Uniquely mark your bike and photograph it. This may be helpful in identifying the motorcycle if it is stolen.
• Don’t give private information about yourself to people you don’t know, and if you are selling your bike, don’t let unknown buyers go for solo rides. They may just drive off and never return.

Because no single product can guarantee your bike will not be stolen, you should use a system of products and measures to minimize the risk. The key is to make it as time consuming as possible to steal your motorcycle. The more time it would take a thief to steal your bike, the greater chance he will choose another target.

Help for Ohio Motorcyclists

If you have been in a motorcycle accident anywhere in Ohio, please contact us for a free and private consultation with one of our experienced Ohio motorcycle accident attorneys.

You can reach us at all times by calling 1-888-534-4850, chatting with one of our 24-hour live chat representatives or sending us a website message.

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Preventing Your Motorcycle from Being Stolen
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Preventing Your Motorcycle from Being Stolen
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There have been over 200,000 motorcycles stolen in the US in the last 10 years. Learn more about theft and preventing your motorcycle from being stolen.
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Slater & Zurz
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