What to do when your motorbike has been stolen
If you have had your motorbike stolen we have a step-by-step guide to what to do once you’ve discovered your bike is gone.
You get back to the motorcycle bay where you parked the bike this morning and it’s gone.
Worse, you come out of the house to find the garage door open and no bike inside – the most common location for bike theft, accounting for 80% of all reported thefts.
Instinctively, most of us will reach for a phone to call the police. Unless you in a very low crime area that has a surplus of police resources, very little is likely to happen from this (although you’ll need to do it very soon, to get a report number for an insurance claim). So it can wait.
Instead, follow these steps first.
First, search the local area
Before you call anyone, other than friends for help, search the local area.
It’s likely that the thieves will be long gone by the time you are aware your bike is missing, so the police have very little chance of catching them – that’s why your call won’t be a priority.
However, the thieves very often leave the bike in the area it has been stolen from. It will be tucked away somewhere it can’t be spotted easily – behind a parade of shops or on a local industrial estate.
They do this to make sure the bike doesn’t have a tracker fitted. They’ll return to get the bike in a few days – the time it normally takes a tracking company to trace a bike’s location, for the police to take any prints or other evidence, and for the owner to recover it. It happened to me once with a car – I reported it stolen, only for the car the be discovered three weeks later, four streets from my own.
So, with most of your limbs shaking with adrenaline, the first thing you should do is take a decent walk around the immediate area, up to a half mile or so and focus on any places you know would make for a good hiding place.
Many bikes are stolen by being pushed along by a second bike, normally a scooter. As this is conspicuous, thieves like to lay up the bike as quickly as possible, so it won’t be far.
Gangs that use vans sometimes also leave a bike locally, but they are more likely to start stripping the bike down in the van and they’ll quickly see wiring for a poorly-fitted tracker.
Only after you’ve checked should you start making calls
Why not call the insurance company straight away? Because if you call them to tell them the bike has gone, then you subsequently discover the bike 5 minutes away in a side alley, the insurance company still sees this as a reported theft, and you are automatically a higher risk for your next premium.
It’s grossly unfair, as they haven’t actually lost money right? But in their eyes you are now a higher risk than you were before, proven by the fact that your bike has already been stolen once.
Once you have done a sweep of the area – get your mate involved if you can to increase the chances of finding your motorbike – then make your calls.
Calling the cops
The first call should be to the police, to obviously report the crime, but more importantly to get a Crime Number or Incident Report Number. The insurance company will need to be told this number.
It pays to have your V5 Registration Document handy so that you can give accurate details about your reg number, chassis and engine numbers – all of which could be useful to the police in tracking down your bike if it reappears as part of an investigation.
Likewise, if there are any distinguishing factors on the bike, special cans, unique paintwork or anything else that could quickly identify the bike as being yours, get them on the police record.
Then call the insurer
Before you call your insurer, dig out and read your insurance policy so that you are clear on what benefits and assistance you might be due, like a replace hire bike or legal assistance.
The reputable insurers should automatically take you through the process and tell you what benefits you have under your policy. However, not all insurers and brokers are reputable, are they? So read that document and understand exactly the benefits you are due.
Set up alerts
It may surprise you to learn, but very few thieves are as thick as shit. Once they have worked out that your bike doesn’t have a tracker they’ll have it stripped for parts in hours, and unless it’s been Data-tagged, those parts will be untraceable.
Sometimes, though, a bike is more valuable being ‘ringed’ – given a new identity with sales VIN and engine numbers, and then sold on the open market.
On both eBay and Gumtree, you can set up email alerts so that every time a bike with your description is put up for sale, you’ll receive a notification. Then take a look at every new ad that you get a notification for.
Monitor the classifieds
Depending on the deal you expect to get from your insurance company, you may or may not bother with this, but you can set up saved searches on Bike Trader to make it easy to find your bike’s spec and see if something crops up. Piston Heads and other are a little bit more manual.
Post on social media
Most areas of the UK have bike groups on Facebook. Post something up and ask for it to be shared. The biking community responds quite well to these requests, because if there’s one thing we hate more than diesel on a wet corner, it’s a bike thief.
Using this can be useful in getting more eyes looking into dark corners in your local area too. If you have the cash, it might be an idea to offer up a reward – anything’s better than a total loss premium…
Also get your non-biking friends to share, as many will be local too. And don’t forget Twitter for the same reason.
Add the bike to the Stolen Motorbike Register
Biker & Bike operates the country’s first dedicated database of motorcycle thefts. You can add your bike here.
The database might help you get your bike but its main purpose is to record all theft locations and find hotspots. Once we have enough data we will work with the affected areas local councils and police to put measures in to tackle theft.
It only takes a minute but the results could affect bike theft for a long time.
Get yourself sorted:
We know it’s a hard thing to do when the panic and adrenaline is coursing, but do that walk of hope around the local area, to see if your pride and joy has been stashed somewhere.