Reducing Motorcycle Theft

Source: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council Inc.

Statistical Summary of Motorcycle Theft

The dynamics of motorcycle theft are quite distinct from the theft of other passenger vehicles. Six-thousand, one-hundred and sixty (6,160) motorcycles were reported stolen in Australia during 2001, accounting for 5 per cent of total vehicle thefts. Fewer than 30 per cent of stolen motorcycles were recovered.

While registered bikes accounted for more than half of reported motorcycle thefts, they recorded a substantially higher recovery rate (36%) than unregistered bikes (19%).

Late model motorcycles were more likely to be stolen than their older counterparts and bikes manufactured by Honda and Yamaha accounted for over half of reported thefts. Harley Davidson recorded a particularly low recovery rate of 15 per cent and BMW recorded a high rate of recovery at 62 per cent, although both recorded favourably low theft rates compared to other makes.

Over 10 per cent of reported motorcycle thefts were a result of a multiple theft incident where more than one motorcycle was stolen at the same time

Some conclusions
1. Motorcycles are a desirable target for professional thieves because of:

    a. their relative ease of theft due to their comparatively small size and weight;
    b. the lack of registration requirements for off-road bikes; and
    c. the absence of a means by which individual motorcycles can be identified once their identification plates are removed or the motorcycle is broken up for parts.

2. The methods by which motorcycles are stolen suggest that physical prevention solutions (such as engine immobilisers) have a limited impact on theft and that solutions that address the ease at which motorcycles can be illicitly recycled (such as systems of identification) are more likely to be effective.

3. Motorcycle owners have indicated a willingness to pay extra for a motorcycle to guarantee its recovery if stolen and prosecution of the thief – the potential outcomes of an effective system of identification.

4. While most riders observe secure practices to protect their motorcycles from theft, some consider theft as inevitable believing that if a thief wants their bike they will get it. This apathy may provide a barrier to improving security practices amongst owners and introducing new theft prevention technologies.

5. Motorcycle owners, manufacturers and the courts are believed by riders and dealers as having the greatest contribution to make in the reduction of motorcycle theft.

Motorcycle Theft in Australia

Source: Motorcycle Theft in Australia – July 2002 Report Prepared by Siobhan Sheridan, Project Officer, NMVTRC

Motorcycle theft and recovery, Australia, 2001

Motorcycle theft and recovery, Australia, 2001

Theft and recovery by manufacturer, Australia, 2001

Theft and recovery by manufacturer, Australia, 2001