Increase in Bike Thefts Relating to COVID-19 Bicycle Shortages

22 Jul 2020

With the spread of COVID-19, more people are riding bikes to get around instead of other means of transportation like buses, subways, and ridesharing like Ubers. Some are likely trying to maintain social distancing, while others just want something to do to get them out of the house on a beautiful day.

Unfortunately, many of them are finding out the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a bike shortage.

Fear of public transit, fitness junkies not having access to their favorite gyms, and families bored out of their minds indoors and wanting to get outside for some fresh air and exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic have created this rapid increase in bike sales.

Since the virus swept across the country in March, consumers have been scrambling for bikes for exercise, transportation, and recreation. And, this resulted in a national bike shortage. Warehouses are empty so bicycles can’t be delivered.

And, because of the high demand for bikes out there, and the shortage of bikes in stores, it only makes sense that now people will have to start worrying about bike theft.

Preventing Bike Theft

So what can people do to prevent bike theft? Here are some ways:

  1. Use a Bike Lock

Strive to make your bicycle the hardest one on the rack to steal. Consider a U-lock and a heavy duty cable or two U-locks if you live in a large city and want to keep your bike secure.

  1. Choose Bike Storing Location Wisely

Carefully choose the location of where you store your bike when not using it. You want to balance out visibility with protection. If you choose a location that’s out-of-the-way and secluded, your bike will be less noticeable, but it also gives thieves a better location to steal your bike without being noticed.

A good balance of visibility and seclusion is a commercial parking garage where there will still be people passing by it or garage staff may be patrolling it.

  1. Get GPS Tracking for Bikes

While the most sophisticated bikes come with immobilizers and alarms, experienced thieves can easily deactivate them. Other bikes simply have no alarms or tracking mechanisms. So, if this is your case, you may want to invest in a GPS tracker for your bike.

Some benefits of GPS tracking for bikes are:

  • The device is small in size. It doesn’t require a lot of effort to install
  • It’s highly efficient
  • It can provide information like latitude, longitude and the bike’s speed in real-time
  1. Theft-Proof Your Bike’s Components

Followed by the wheels and the frame, your bike’s components can represent substantial value and thieves often target them. It’s way too common to walk by a bike that’s missing it’s seat, stem, handlebars and other components that are easily accessible.

One way of preventing theft of the components is to replace the hex bolts that lock them in place with security bolts like a Hexlox system. The anti-theft wheel skewers and bolts will often require a key to loosen or “unlock” them, similar to the lock-nuts you’ll see on car wheels.

While there’s still the small risk of experienced thieves to have some type of workaround tool to steal your bike, the chances are slim and adding extra protection will usually leave thieves looking for easier targets.


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