Category Archives: THINK! Cycle safety

Bike thefts – reducing your chances of becoming a victim

On average across the UK, a bicycle is stolen every 60 seconds. In the St Ives area, between two and three are stolen on average every week.

We have recently analysed reports of bicycle thefts in the St Ives and Ramsey area over the last three years and come up with some interesting results:

Where are bikes stolen from?Where are bikes stolen from






On which days are bikes most stolen?Which days


count of time




At what times are bikes most stolen?






Were the bikes locked?Count of locked








Bike theft facts (St Ives and Ramsey data):

  • Roughly 40% of bike thefts are from people’s homes (including gardens and garden sheds)
  • Bike thefts occur most at the beginning of the week
  • Bike thefts occur most at night or in the evening
  • In over a third of cases, bikes were not locked when they were stolen

Protecting your bike

You should always lock your bike whenever you leave it unattended, both at home and at your destination:

  • Lock your bike to a cycle rack, post, or another immovable object. It’s always best to use two different types of lock – this makes it harder to steal as the thief needs different tools for each lock. Police recommend a good quality ‘D’ lock together with a robust chain and padlock
  • Choose a busy, well-lit area, with lots of passers-by, rather than a quiet, dark corner. Ideally, use designated bike parking facilities or choose an area with CCTV coverage
  • Lock your bike tightly so that it cannot easily be moved and make sure the two locks catch the bike frame as well as both wheels and the solid object you are locking it to.
  • Take with you any items that can be removed without tools such as wheels, lights, pump, saddle etc
  • Don’t leave your bike in the same place every day

Are your locks up to the job?

Use the best quality locks that you can afford, taking into account the value of the bike. It really is not sensible to use a cheap £5 lock on a bicycle worth several hundred pounds or more. You should expect to spend at least £30 or £40 on a good quality ‘D’ lock that cannot easily be sawn through or cut off with bolt-croppers. You can also obtain a lock with a built-in audible alarm for about £30.

Register your bike

If you register your bike, you stand a much better chance of getting it back if it is ever lost or stolen. You can register your bike and other property free of charge at Immobilise. It only takes a couple of minutes and all you need is your bicycle model, make and frame number.

You will find the frame number either:

  • On the bottom of the frame, underneath the pedals, or
  • On the frame near the handle-bars, or
  • On the frame where the seat-post fits, or
  • On the frame towards the back wheel

(Other bicycle registration services are also available, such as Bike Register)

Mark your bike

You should mark your postcode onto the frame of your bike in two separate locations, one of which should be hidden. The police occasionally run ‘bike days’ when they will do this for you for free – keep an eye on social media sites for notifications. Alternatively, you can do it for yourself with a stencil kit that can be bought for a few pounds. The kit comes with a warning sticker to fix to the bike frame, which is itself an excellent deterrent to potential thieves.

Ultra-violet (UV) marking kits are also available – these allow you to place marks on the frame which are invisible under normal lighting conditions and only become visible when illuminated with UV light.

There is also a device called a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag available which you attach to your bike by inserting it into the tube of the frame beneath the seat and is virtually impossible to remove. The tag contains a unique electronic identification number which can be ‘read’ by the electronic scanners used by the police. The unique number is logged on your bicycle Registration Account along with the rest of your details.

Perhaps the ultimate anti-theft device for your bike is an invisible GPS Tracker. This can be fitted inside the handle-bars of the bike and you activate it whenever you leave your bike unattended. It interacts with an app on your mobile phone and allows you to pinpoint your bike’s location to within a few metres.

Technology is constantly developing and new security, marking and tracking devices are constantly being developed. Keep an eye on the specialist bicycle magazines and web-sites for the latest innovations!

Buying second hand

Unfortunately, there is a thriving black-market in the sale of stolen bicycles. If you are looking to buy a second-hand bike, don’t be conned – look for the signs that indicate that something may be wrong:

  • Do the seller and the bike go together? You should ideally meet the seller face-to-face, preferably at their house or place of work, and ask yourself whether they seem genuine.
  • Do the parts match? Thieves will often damage a bike to make it easier to steal. Does the front wheel match from the back? Is the frame number missing or are there any signs it has been interfered with? Has the bike been re-sprayed? These are all indicators that something is wrong.
  • Does the seller have proof of purchase? Are there any receipts, manuals, guarantees or insurance documents?
  • Are there any security markings on the frame? In addition to the frame number, there may be a postcode marking or RFID security tag on the bike. If any of these are damaged, or if the information doesn’t match that of the seller, warning bells should ring in your mind.
  • Be very suspicious of an unexpected bargain – it may just be too good to be true.

Useful links

Here are some links to web-sites that provide advice and guidance on safeguarding your bike:
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Bicycle security – tips for securing your pride and joy or your summer toy

Matt Lauch is a PCSO from the Peterborough Volume Crime Team. He investigates crimes ranging from criminal damage to assault. Part of his role is to deliver crime prevention messages. Here he provides us with some top tips for securing bicycles.

For many, the summer months are a great time for people to dust off their bikes, pump up the tyres and oil up the chains before venturing off on a leisurely trip in the city or the local countryside.

We often see an increase in cycling for leisure due to the better weather.

This can bring some problems. Cycles are a target for thieves, they can simply seem to disappear off the face of the earth, never to be seen by their owner again.

Cycles are often stripped down for parts or sold on elsewhere, with more expensive bikes being a prime target. Police do recover many cycles and often catch the thieves but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of a theft of your cycle.

No matter where you go, you should always keep your cycle locked and secure in a good location and preferably use a strong Sold Secure Gold Rated D-Lock.

Country parks, where cycles are often used, can be a target location for the cycle thief. Along with caravan and camping parks. Just because an area looks and feels safe, does not mean a cycle thief won’t pay a visit to take a bike or two.

Sheds are also a prime target. Making your shed as secure as possible will slow down a thief. Consider shed alarms and securing any windows. Securing any bikes inside with strong D-Locks and cables, attached to a secure ground bolt or heavy item like a lawnmower, will certainly cause problems for a thief.

Consider recording your cycle details – this will help if your cycle is stolen. Take a photo of the it and any distinguishing features. Record the frame number which is underneath the bike, down by the pedals. This will help police with their enquiries.

Registering your cycle on a website such as or will help you keep a record of your details. You can also record other valuables on immobilise too.

Top tips:

  • Invest in a Sold Secure Gold Rated D-Lock
  • Mark your bicycle with a registration pack or simply mark the frame where you would be able to describe and recognise the mark if found
  • Use a fitted helmet and front and rear lights. It is just as important to secure your bicycle as it is to be safe when riding

Check out our bike security video




A message from Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hopkins about cycle safety

As a keen cyclist I enjoy the outdoors. I get to do something I really enjoy, meet up with friends and it keeps me fit too!

Cycle safety is really important and we all need to consider not just our own safety but the safety of other roads users.

As a cyclist my safety tips are:

  • Avoid busy ‘A’ roads
  • Always anticipate the potential for not being seen at junctions
  • Make eye contact when you can
  • Be courteous and ride considerately
  • Always, always wear a helmet

Staying safe should not restrict your enjoyment of cycling, it’s just about being sensible.

We have lots more information on our website.


What happens when a cyclist is seriously injured on our roads?

Hi All,

East Anglian Air Ambulance here we want to share some information with you about cycle accidents.

When an emergency 999 call comes through to the critical care desk, the team will assess whether it requires specialist skills of the East Anglian Air Ambulance crew.

Our critical care paramedics receive special training for this role, and are then included in a rota to man the CCD desk, day and night.

Many of the calls they receive involved cyclists, so it is important to assess the situation quickly and see what medical help is needed.

If the East Anglian Air Ambulance is needed, they will be called on the red phone at the base and will then prepare the helicopter and equipment for take-off. If the incident is close by, then the crew may go out in the rapid response vehicle which allows them to get to the scene quickly.

When assessing a patient who has been involved in a cycling accident, a major factor to consider is speed.

The speed of the cyclist can make a big difference to the type of injuries. If the cyclist has been in an accident involving a car, then the team will take into consideration the speed that the car was travelling at the time.

One of the most common injuries for a cyclist is a head injury. It is vital to be wearing a helmet when riding your bike to minimise any damage in the event of an accident.

Although head injuries are common, a patient can suffer any type of trauma injury from the impact of a crash.

By looking after yourself, and your bike when riding, you can minimise the chances of being involved in a serious accident that requires the service of EAAA.

For more information go to

Why not share this with your friends and family.

A message from East Anglian Air Ambulance on bike safety

Hi All,

East Anglian Air Ambulance and Cambridgeshire Constabulary have worked together to come up with a set of safety tips to help raise awareness of cycle safety.

Did you know that more than 18,000 people cycle to work in Cambridge?  People are choosing to use their bikes more and the trend is increasing across East Anglia.

We all need to work together, extra cyclists mean that staying safe and being visible is more important when out on the roads.

Tips for cycle safety 

  • Watch out for cars and lorries with blind spots states that ‘your number one goal should be to avoid getting hit by a car.’ Although it seems obvious, sharing the road with other road users can be difficult for both cyclists and car users alike.

There are many small roads that aren’t always visible until the last moment, so if you are in an area where cars may pull out, slow down and give yourself enough time to stop. Always expect the unexpected.

  • Get a headlight

You may not think that you ride at night but as the days get shorter and it starts to get darker as we are all leaving work, your journeys may become more dangerous.

It is important to make yourself visible to everyone else on the road and being seen in the dark with a headlight is one of the safest ways to do this. Don’t’ worry about fashion, your safety is more important!

  • Look after your bike

Just like a car, your bike needs looking after. Before you set off on a journey check your tyres for any damage and that the tyres are fully inflated.

Your brakes are the most important thing on a bike so make sure they are in full working order, especially as the weather gets wetter.

  • Invest in a helmet

The most important piece of cycling kit is often forgotten when trying to look stylish on a bike. A helmet is vital and could save your life so it is essential to wear one.

Invest in a good quality helmet that fits you properly, if the helmet doesn’t fit it won’t offer you the right protection.

Do you know a cyclist? Why not share this on your Facebook page so they can view it too.

For more information visit