In our last MCC monthly meeting, Geoff Hughes from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC), gave an insightful presentation on motorcycle theft.   Mr Hughes outlined the statistics behind motorcycle theft and some things we can do to protect our own motorcycle.

We thought it important to talk to Mr Hughes again to help all riders protect their vehicle.

What are the trends with motorcycle theft?

GH: In general, all vehicle crime is 60% lower than it was in 2001.

We have found that motorcycle theft trends do fluctuate up and down. In the last 12 months, it has fallen by 3%. We suspect this fall is because COVID-19 lockdown provides would-be thieves less opportunity. This general decline is also across all vehicle thefts – a fall of 60,000 vehicle thefts in the financial year 2020.

In the past year, NSW saw 1909 motorcycles stolen or 21% of all motorcycle thefts nationally.

However, we may have a challenge ahead.  There is a link between economic status and property crime.  We are expecting to see property crime soar due to deteriorating economic and social conditions as an outcome of the pandemic.

Why are motorcycles stolen?

GH: There are 2 streams of motorcycle theft, with generally a 50/50 split between them –

The first being motorcycle theft for short-term use. That is, stolen and recovered soon after.

The second is the profit-motivated thefts. This is where the motorcycle is never recovered. The parts market is driving this demand and thus the motivation for theft for parts – where we see the value in motorcycle parts far exceeding the value of the motorcycle itself.

Dirt bike theft is at a steady 3% of all motorcycle stolen. With off-road vehicles, the stolen bikes are often kept and ridden by the thief!

Where are motorcycles stolen from?

GH: Two out of three motorcycle thefts are from the home, with 17% stolen from the street and 7% from a business.

What can motorcyclists do to protect their motorcycle from theft?

GH: Riders need to take a layered approach to securing their vehicle.

Firstly, hide the bike out of sight – a garage, shed, down the side of the house is best or behind a locked gate.

Secondly, secure the bike to a physical anchor point. Use a chain, disc lock or an alarm switch. Most bike thefts occur without using a key or starting the bike.

If you do need to park your motorcycle on the street, use a generic bike cover instead of a branded cover over your bike. This simple change can make a huge difference.

Most importantly, riders should record the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of their motorcycle, especially for unregistered off-road bikes.  This unique number helps in identifying the owner when recovering the bike.

Scooters are becoming more and more popular, how should we secure them?

GH: Yes, scooter theft is too easy. They are light and one person can lift the scooter into the back of a van or the tray of a ute. For this reason, always secure scooters to an anchor point.

The NMVTRC are working to get more anchor points installed in metro parking areas for this very reason.

A scooter riders’ utilitarian view of their vehicle, makes it hard to communicate the need for them to secure their bike.

What are the NMVTRC doing to help motorcyclists keep their bike secure?

GH: We need to redevelop the message for riders to secure their motorcycles. We also want to provide riders with more resources to protect their vehicle.

Our mini website, protectyourbike.com.au outlines the specific ways motorcyclists can secure their bike.

This website has a range of resources and tips to help protect your motorcycle and best practices.  It even has geospatial mapping so riders can see the suburbs with the most motorcycle theft.

Our research has found that 36% of riders did not return to riding after they had had their bike stolen.  We don’t know why – whether this is because of the cost to replace the bike or the experience.

We are planning a survey to go out to motorcyclists to delve into this further. The team want to know more about the motorcyclist experience. There are many different kinds of riders who look at their motorcycle in different ways. We have the HOG riders in their 50s, the weekend warriors and the scooter riders who use it to ride to work.

We want to know what riders do to protect their vehicle.  For those involved in a theft of their vehicle, what was the experience like.

If we can understand the motorcyclist experiences, we can help them protect their vehicles better.

Thank you, Geoff, for your time.

We will inform our members when the NMVTRC survey will be available.

And for those riders who drive a car as well, did you know that 7 out of 10 cars stolen are with their own keys, so –

POP keys out of sight

LOCK all doors and windows and make sure everyone in the family is doing the same.

STOP sneak theft.

Do you have any other tips you can share with other motorcyclists of how you keep your motorcycle safe? We would love to hear them. Send your tip to secretary@mccofnsw.org.au or contact us here.