The problem

Bike theft is a growing problem in Victoria.

One of the greatest joys in life is getting a new bicycle. We all remember that Christmas or birthday when we got our first set of wheels. The tag #NewBikeDay has hundreds of thousands of Instagram posts of people beaming from ear to ear with their shiny new machines.

However, one of the saddest moments in life is when you discover your bike has been stolen. It can hit you when you step out the front door on to a porch that shouldn’t be empty or when you’re left stranded at the supermarket with your helmet in one hand and groceries in the other.

If this has happened to you, you are not alone. More and more bikes are being stolen across Victoria each year, and the majority of cases are not solved. 

Bike thefts introduce a barrier to bike-friendly towns and cities. No one is going to want to purchase and ride a bike if they know it is just going to end up in the hands of thieves.
 
There are steps that we can all take to ensure that our bikes are securely parked and stored. However, we also require stronger bike policy that will assist in minimising the theft risks.   

What we know about bike thefts

1. They are on the rise

The number of bicycle thefts reported in Victoria has increased by 81.2 per cent in the past 10 years.

In 2011, just over 4,000 bikes were stolen, about 11 bicycles per day. Over 7,000 bikes were stolen in 2020, an average of 20 per day.

2. The majority of theft cases are unsolved

Only 9 per cent of bike theft cases in Victoria are solved by police. Bikes can be easily dismantled into and parts and sold quickly. This makes recovering bikes and catching the crooks difficult.

 
3. Most thefts happen in inner city suburbs, but the numbers are rising in most parts of the state 

Inner city suburbs in Melbourne pose a high bike theft risk. The five suburbs with the highest bike thefts (per 100,000 people) include Brunswick, Melbourne, St Kilda, Carlton, and Richmond. In regional Victoria, towns with high bike thefts include Shepparton, Mildura, and Wangaratta.

Unfortunately, most local government areas (LGAs) across Victoria are experiencing continuous growth in bike thefts each year, which suggests there are insufficient measures in place to prevent thefts from occurring.

 
4. Thefts at car parks and apartment blocks are steadily increasing  

There are certain locations where the number of bike thefts are becoming more frequent. Bike thefts at car parks and apartment blocks are growing by 40.7 per cent each year. Similarly, thefts at driveways and carports are on the rise, with an average annual growth of 36.1 per cent.

What you can do to prevent a theft

1. Park your bike securely

Always try to use a secure facility, such as indoor bike parking at your workplace or a Parkiteer cage at a railway station.

If you park your bike on the street, find a spot that is highly visible. Avoid leaving your bike parked on the street overnight.

2. Lock your bike

Whenever and wherever you park your bike, you should use a quality, hardened lock, one that can’t be snipped apart by bolt-cutters.

Key locks are preferable to combination locks, which can be unlocked by ‘feeling’ for the code.  

3. Record your bike’s details

Take photos of your bike and record details of its make, model, year, colour, and serial number.

You should also make your bike identifiable by engraving identification details which can help with recovery. 

Read Bicycle Network’s theft report

In response to increasing concerns about stolen bikes across Victoria, Bicycle Network undertook a detailed investigation into the common characteristics of bike theft cases in Victoria.

The results highlight that bike theft remains a poorly resolved issue across metropolitan and regional Victoria, and may worsen into the future without proper action being taken.

To mitigate the risks of bike theft, Bicycle Network have prepared the following policy recommendations for state government:

  • Provide lockable on-street and off-street bike parking facilities where people park bikes for long periods of time (workplaces, schools and shopping centers)
  • Provide incentives for multi-dwelling building developers and facility managers to install secure, purpose-built bike parking facilities with restricted access
  • Amend the Building Code of Australia to include provision and specifications for end-of-trip facilities
  • Set national guidelines for workplaces regarding the provision of fit-for-purpose bike facilities
VIEW REPORT

TAKE ACTION

Here are some simple steps you can take to address the issue of bike thefts. 

Email Minister Spence

Send an email to the Minister for Crime Prevention Natalie Hutchins regarding actions to reduce bike thefts.

Email Minister

Read our report

Bicycle Network’s theft report summarises the current state of bike thefts in Victoria.

View report

Share on social

Help spread the word about bike thefts and share this page with your friends and family.