Cars and Vehicles
July 1, 2023
Crime Prevention
10 tips to protect your bike from thieves

10 tips to protect your bike from thieves

There are 3 easy steps to protect your bike from being stolen – use a good quality D-lock, lock it up properly, and make it identifiable and trackable.

Around 6,000 bikes are stolen each year in Victoria, mostly from streets and footpaths, train stations, car parks and front yards. Here are our top 10 tips to help make your bike less attractive to potential thieves and reduce the risk of It being stolen. 

1. Use a strong D-lock

A high-quality hardened steel D-lock (also known as a U-lock) is the best way to secure your bike. Buy the best D-lock you can afford, preferably one with a parabolic shank design that requires both sides of the shank to be cut to break the lock. These locks are much harder for thieves to cut into without a heavy-duty cutting tool. Avoid cable locks, most chain locks or cheap D-locks as they are easier to cut.

2. Lock your bike to a fixed object

Your bike is only as secure as the object you’re locking it to. Lock it to a fixed, immoveable object that can’t be broken or moved. Look for a dedicated bike rack cemented into the ground or street furniture or a sturdy rail or pole. Don’t lock it to something that it can be lifted over, such as a sign post. Give the object a quick “wobble test” first to make sure it’s firmly in the ground. 

3. Secure both the frame and wheels

Make sure to lock one wheel and the bike frame to a fixed object using a D-lock. It’s good to have a second D-lock so you can secure the other wheel and frame to the object as well. If the anchor point isn’t long enough for this, use your second D-Lock to secure your other wheel and frame together. Ensure the lock is tightly secured around the frame and object you're locking it to, so there’s no slack. Before you leave, double check you’ve correctly secured your bike.

4. Choose a safe location to park in public

Whenever possible, lock your bike in a well-lit, highly visible area where there are lots of other bikes and people around. Thieves are less likely to target bikes in busy locations where they can be easily seen. Use designated bike parking areas as they tend to be more secure than random poles and fences. 

If you regularly take the train, consider using Parkiteer bike cages which are located at more than 130 stations. They’re a secure and free locked cage area that’s restricted to registered users.

Register with Parkiteer

5. Take your bike indoors if you can

Whenever possible, keep your bike inside your home or office, in a locked shed or garage, or securely attached to a solid fixture behind locked gates. If you live in an apartment building that doesn’t have secure bike parking, consider keeping your bike inside your apartment if you’re allowed to. If you have to leave it in a storage cage, make sure the cage is lined and has a heavy duty lock. 

6. Make your bike easy to identify and trace

Engrave the letter “V” and your drivers’ licence number (or another unique identifier) on the frame, apply data dots or attach GPS trackers. If your bike is stolen, this can make it easier for police to recover your bike and return it to you. 

7. Register your bike on BikeVAULT

Register your bike on BikeVAULT – a free service, supported by Neighbourhood Watch Victoria. You can record your bike’s make, model, colour and serial number and even upload photos of it. 

If your bike is nicked you can mark it as stolen, which not only makes it harder for thieves to on-sell but will help BikeVAULT’s spotters try to find it on online marketplaces. It also makes it easier to provide your bike’s details to police when reporting the theft. It’s always handy to take lots of photos of your bike from all angles, especially any identifying marks or stickers.

Register with BikeVAULT

8. Take extra security precautions

Always lock your bike, even if it’s parked in your garage or on your balcony or if you’re only leaving it unattended for a short period. You should also always remove any easily detachable and valuable accessories, such as lights, bike computers, helmets and saddlebags and take them with you. 

Consider replacing the quick release mechanisms or regular bolts on your seat and wheels with special security bolts to prevent thieves from “bike stripping”. Security bolts are much harder for thieves to remove quickly.

9. Invest in smart bike security

Smart technology options are starting to become available in bike security, with tech features such as keyless Bluetooth locking mechanisms, distress alarms, motion sensors and GPS tracking in the event your bike gets stolen. If you can afford them, they can provide extra peace of mind, especially if you own a top-range bike. 

10. Stay vigilant and report suspicious activity

Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity near bike racks or bike parking areas to police or security staff. It's important to help create a safer environment for all cyclists.

If your bike is stolen

Report it to the Police Assistance Line by calling 131 444 or making an online report. Tell them: 

  • where and when it was parked
  • your bike’s make, model, year and colour
  • the serial number on your bike (usually found on the frame near the pedals)
  • whether it has any identifiable marks or features

If you have your bike registered on BikeVAULT, mark it as stolen.

Search for your bike on resale websites like Gumtree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace: odds are the thief will quickly try to sell your bike. If you find it listed, don’t approach the seller yourself, call police or BikeVAULT for advice and support. 

If your bike is insured, contact your insurer.

Get Police Assistance

For all emergencies and immediate Police assistance
Call: 000
To report non-urgent crimes or events 24 hours a day
Call: 131 444
To report information about a crime contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000

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