The number of bikes stolen in Victoria is on the up, with reported thefts increasing by 81.2 per cent since 2011.
A new report by Bicycle Network reveals that Victorians reported 7,385 bikes stolen last year (20 bikes every day) up from 4,076 bikes stolen (11 per day) in 2011.
Streets and footpaths are the number one hotspot for stolen bikes, while thefts from apartment buildings and car parks are increasing rapidly. Brunswick, the city and St Kilda are Melbourne suburbs with the highest number of thefts.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said the figures highlight a lack of secure bike parking facilities that make it hard for opportunistic thieves to steal bikes.
“Thefts happen when people can’t lock their bike up in a secure or safe setting. If someone with sticky fingers sees an easy score, they’ll take it,” said Mr Richards.
“Schools, public transport stations, workplaces and shopping centres should all have dedicated bike lock-ups while bike hoops on the street should be placed in highly visible places with lots of foot traffic.”
Coronavirus lockdowns may have affected bike thefts. There has been an increase in thefts at carports, driveways and multi-dwellings, whereas thefts reported at public locations such as railway stations, shopping complexes and schools all dropped in 2020.
Only nine per cent of reported bike thefts are solved by police, however as the number of reported thefts increased each year, the number of arrests and summons issued for bicycle thefts also increased.
“The ability for bikes to be quickly dismantled and sold to a big second-hand market makes recovering stolen bikes and catching thieves difficult,” added Mr Richards.
While bike thefts are increasing, the likelihood of a bike being stolen is still low and using a proper lock can greatly reduce the risk of theft. Using a hardened D-lock that cannot be snipped apart by bolt cutters is recommended and you should always lock your bike whether you are out or at home.
If your bike is stolen you should report it immediately to police and include details about your bike’s make, model, year, colour, and serial number. You can also register your stolen bike with BikeVAULT who work to disrupt bike theft and recover stolen bikes.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.