You may have got a new bike for Christmas, but are you taking the vital steps to keep it? Bike theft is one of the most common crimes in Worcester. That’s why insurance is expensive and many cyclists don’t bother. So even without insurance how can you better protect your pride and joy?

Amazingly half of stolen bikes aren’t even locked. If D-locks were used on all bikes its estimated cycle theft would reduce by 50-90%. When choosing a lock look for the ‘Sold Secure’ mark. This gives Bronze, Silver or Gold ratings depending on whether a lock offers 1, 3 or 5 minutes of resistance to thieves.

Always lock your bike to an immovable, unbreakable object. The stands provided by the Council are usually the safest option. Ensure there is as little room as possible for a thief to insert a bolt cropper or crow bar. Don’t just lock the front wheel. Its easy for the thief to take the rest. Consider using a D-lock for securing the frame and rear wheel to a bike stand and a cable lock to fasten the front wheel to the frame.

Its best to lock your bike in a well lit, busy location. Never try to hide it down a dark alley. Its often the first place a thief will look.

Two-thirds of bikes are actually stolen from or near to home. Ensure your shed or garage is secure and bikes are locked to strong anchor points on the inside. If you regularly leave your bike propped up against a wall install a bolt to lock it to.

To check out whether the places you leave your bike are in high risk areas have a look at www.plumplot.co.uk.

Surprisingly most of the bikes recovered by the Police can’t be returned as they have no way of identifying the owner. That’s why bike marking and registration helps the Police to return it if found. It’s free to register your bike on www.bikeregister.com or www.immobilise.com. UV pens are another cheap way of marking a bike with your postcode.

A better, but more expensive option is to security mark your bike and prominently display stickers to warn off potential thieves. Companies offering this service include www.bikeregister.com and www.retainagroup.com.

PushBike!