There’s nothing like hitting the open road on a motorcycle, especially when the conditions are perfect. But whether you’re heading out for a long trip or just going down the block, theft is a real threat.
That’s because motorcycle parts are relatively small, are easier to reuse and have substantial resale values, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)—making bikes a lower-risk, higher-reward target than cars. In 2016, the NICB reported more than 46,000 motorcycle thefts in the U.S., an increase from 2015. No bike owner wants to be part of that statistic, of course, so follow these simple strategies to protect your ride.
Be choosy with your parking spots
According to Kylee Banton of 2Wheel, a motorcycle and outdoor recreation company, visibility plays a big role in keeping your bike safe. Never park an uncovered motorcycle out front at home; it’s far safer in a garage or shed. If you’re not riding daily, Banton recommends placing a physical barrier between the bike and the door: a lawnmower or another big item that will make the bike harder to access. No garage? Conceal your motorcycle with a bike cover and add a loose, nondescript cover on top of that to disguise the cycle’s shape.
If you’re running errands or out for a quick bite, always park in plain view. “Generally, areas with heavy foot traffic mean potential thieves are less likely to attempt to take it because of the increased risk of witnesses and getting caught,” says Banton. If you’re in a quiet area or staying overnight at a hotel, Banton recommends looking for a space within the field of view of a security camera.
Put your wheels on lockdown
The NICB recommends locking up your bike when it’s not in use, even at home. When you’re parking outdoors, Banton suggests using a chain or security cable to attach your vehicle to a fixed object, such as a street lamp or bike rack, so it’s difficult for thieves to lift. When riding with friends, you can chain your bikes together. Locks should fit tight so they’re harder to cut or chisel off.
Pump up security with anti-theft add-ons
According to the NICB, many motorcycle companies offer alarm systems similar to those on cars. While you can’t rely solely on alarms, they do offer an extra line of defense against theft. Even a sticker or label that warns of alarmed locks or a GPS tracking system can sometimes deter thieves, says Banton. You might also want to add an ignition lock or hidden kill switch as part of your arsenal. Bonus: Installing these kinds of anti-theft devices on your bike could qualify you for a discount on motorcycle insurance.
Be proactive about a theft plan
It’s important to have a theft-recovery plan in place just in case. The first step, Banton says, is keeping your registration at home and taking a copy along when you’re out with your bike. Having your papers handy helps with reporting and recovering the missing motorcycle before it ends up sold or at a chop shop. Installing a stolen-vehicle recovery device, which tracks a motorcycle using radio-frequency technology, can also improve your chances of recovery. Of course, proper motorcycle insurance is part of the equation as well, and GEICO offers motorcycle insurance that can help protect you from financial loss if someone steals your bike.
When it comes to your motorcycle, better to be safe than sorry. Get a quote today on GEICO motorcycle insurance.
By Danielle Blundell