he number of bikes being stolen in London has almost trebled since the start of the covid pandemic, it was revealed today.
Figures from the Met police showed there were 3,079 bikes reported stolen in September – a 50 per cent rise on the 2,004 in same month a year earlier.
The total – which is likely to be considerable underestimate due to many thefts not being reported to police – is almost three times higher than the 1,069 in April.
Transport for London published the figures today as it launched a partnership with Halfords offering 15 per cent off the firm’s own-brand bike locks.
The offer, which can also be used to buy lights and helmets, is open to people who complete TfL’s online cycle skills course.
Halfords says there has been a 60 per cent year-on-year increase in sales of new bikes since the start of the pandemic.
Londoners were asked to avoid public transport and encouraged to walk or cycle, and TfL says the number of bike journeys is up 20 per cent overall – and up to 200 per cent on certain routes.
There are fears that many new bike owners are unaware how to keep their bike safe. Two good-quality locks, one a D-lock, are recommended, in addition to having the cycle security marked and registered with BikeRegister. It is important to secure both wheels and lock the frame to a bike stand or immovable object.
A number of NHS workers have been among the recent bike theft victims – adding to their difficulty in caring for sick Londoners.
A survey of London cyclists for Halfords found only half were using a robust lock and 47 per cent did not have a security marking, which can help police return a recovered bike to its owner.
Acting Chief Superintendent Gary Taylor, from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “Frustratingly, bicycles still remain a popular target for opportunistic thieves and the Met is committed to working closely with TfL to educate Londoners about the risks and the best measures we can take to prevent crime.
“This includes encouraging cyclists to use designated cycle parking spaces, investing in good quality locks and registering your bike with Bike Register. We welcome this initiative and look forward to continue working closely to improve cycle security and safety throughout the capital.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan said he wanted to ensure the risk of crime did not deter Londoners from cycling. “I know how distressing it can be when a bike is stolen,” he said.
Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing operations and security at TfL, said: “As cycling continues to boom in popularity, bike theft is unfortunately also on the rise.”