Is your bike safe? Tips and guidance to ensure your bike's security

Monday 11 March 2024 -


Authorities within the UK work tirelessly to reduce bike crime and have used property marking for many operations across the country to tackle cycle theft. 

Property marking not only reduces instances of cycle theft, but also enables cyclists to be returned with their bikes after they have been stolen. Through operational methods including working closely with second-hand cycle shops to make sure bicycles are not registered as stolen before they buy and sell cycles. 

We encourage all cycle retailers to play their part in the fight against bike crime and register all new bikes they sell and encourage cyclists to property mark and register their bicycle to aid the process of a safe return home in the instance it gets stolen. (article) 

All about bicycle theft 

Bicycle theft is an undetected, major issue within the United Kingdom. Although over 77,000 bicycles were reported stolen in 2022/23¹, 71% of bike theft victims do not report their crime to the police at all.² 

On top of this, 90% of police cases for the reported bicycle thefts in 2022/23 were closed without a suspect being identified, and only 1.7% of these crimes resulted in someone being charged.² Due to the statistics presented, it’s more important than ever to properly protect your bicycle.  

Bicycles are the main form of transportation for many, and theft of these vehicles can severely impact everyday lives. Not to mention, replacing bicycles can be a costly expense. Keeping your bicycle safe is important, and the BSIA can offer advice on the most effective ways to protect your bicycle.  

Keeping your bicycle safe 

There are a few simple steps that you can take to keep your bicycle safe. Double locking your bike will slow thieves down and make your bike less of a target. Try to lock your bike in a designated area that is monitored by CCTV, and always choose somewhere that is well lit. 

More than half of bicycles are stolen from owner’s property.³ If you’re storing your bike at home, try to keep it inside the house. If you are storing your bike in a shed or a garage, try to use a floor lock or wall-mounted lock for extra protection. Alarm systems are great for deterring thieves, so consider purchasing one of these if storing your bicycle out of the home.  

Selectamark are a trusted supplier of the BSIA, hosting the national cycle database BikeRegister. Entering the relevant information about your bicycle onto BikeRegister means your vehicle will be identifiable to every police force within the UK, and BikeRegister also offer Mark & Protect Kits to deter thieves. 

Taking photographs of your bike, especially any distinguishing marks or features, will also help in the identification and recovery process – should your bicycle get stolen. These images will enable you to identify the bike as yours, should it be found.  

Bicycle specific insurance does exist – but some household policies may also include bike insurance. Look at the small print to see if you quantify. Once you have insurance, write down plenty of details about your bicycle, including how it is normally locked up with photography, the frame number, and if you can, the receipt from your bike purchase or new parts.  

By far, the most protective way to keep your bicycle safe is to use property marking. Whether it’s overt or covert, these methods will not only deter theft, but also keep your bike detectable should it get stolen.  

Property marking: what is it?  

Property marking is an effective way to protect bicycles and other valuables, making them less attractive to thieves by both reducing the potential of sale and deterring thieves due to its traceability. There are two types of property marking: overt and covert.  

Overt property marking can come in the form of permanent markers, use of tamper evident labels, engraving or use of chemical etching kit. Tamper evident labels and chemical etching kits are the police preferred way of overt property marking. 

One of our trusted members Retainaguard offers a cycle protection kit that meets police preferred specifications. This overt property marking kit enables cyclists to permanently etch a code and phone number to bikes with a tamper evident label. Alongside reducing attraction to thieves, these labels enable stolen bicycles to be returned to owners, if the bike is recovered.  

Covert property marking comes several different forms, such as UV pens, DNA marking, chemical marking, microdots and property tagging. Covert property marking is almost impossible to remove. 

The BSIA member DeterTech’s SmartWater® is a recommended covert property marking method. With their SmartTrace® forensic marking packs, UK households can mark their property with just a drop of forensic liquid. This liquid has a unique combination of elements, is invisible to the naked eye and can be detected by law enforcement under a UV light.  

How can we help? 

The BSIA have a dedicated Asset and Property Marking section (APM), aiming to increase awareness about property marking methods and raising the profile of this security industry sector to maximise property marking usage. 

The BSIA and its APM members strive to improve bicycle theft rates and help cyclists recover stolen property. Marking your bike is simple and effective - but the most important thing is to choose to property mark with a trusted supplier. Our BSIA members represent excellence within the private security industry and are held to the highest quality standards. 

If you’re looking for a trusted property marking supplier,?visit our APM members page to find out more.