Insurer’s warning as bike thefts still on the rise since start of pandemic

The warning comes as a cyclist has shared CCTV of a bike thief using an angle grinder in broad daylight

An insurer has issued a warning to cyclists as bike thefts have continue to rise since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Home and car insurer Admiral has revealed that bike thefts increased by 66 per cent from March 2020 to February 2021, compared to the same period in the previous year.  

The announcement came just as one cyclist shared how he became the victim of a bike thief, releasing CCTV footage of the perpetrator using an angle grinder in broad daylight to break the lock on his Cannondale machine. 

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Twitter user Andrei Cosmin Mogos said his Cannondale Quick Disc 5 was taken between 8pm to 10pm on June second, from outside the Virgin Active gym in Islington, north London. 

The CCTV footage shows the thief pulling an angle grinder from his back, cutting off the thick D-lock and then fleeing on the bike.

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According to Admiral, London has the highest number of bike thefts, followed by Edinburgh, Bristol and Southampton. 

Head of Household underwriting at Admiral, David Fowkes, said: “Since lockdown restrictions were first introduced back in March 2020, thousands of people bought bikes for exercise or just for a safe way to get around, and the popularity of having two wheels to get around has continued into this year. 

“But as several retailers have reported a spike in bike sales, our data suggests it’s also resulted in a boom in the number of bicycle thefts taking place too. In fact, in the first few weeks after lockdown restrictions were put in place, we saw a spike in the number of bike theft claims, and sadly this figure has continued to rise.

“When you consider that other theft claims have fallen as a result of people staying at home, that figure has shot up at an alarming rate. 

“Thieves are opportunists and will be looking at and seizing the chance to take advantage of easier targets. Unfortunately, budding cycling enthusiasts around the country might be the exact sort of opportunity they are looking for.”

>>> Video shows would-be bike thieves attempting to steal bikes in broad daylight 

Admiral compiled its data by analysing the number of claims for bicycle thefts. 

The average value of claims for stolen bikes since the start of the pandemic is £580, the insurer said, but some claims have been much higher.  

Fowkes added: “As the spring and summer months start to bring warmer weather, we could see even more people purchasing bikes to get around in a bid to avoid public transport, and this could result in a further spike of bike thefts. So, whether you are a cycling veteran or have just bought your first bike, it pays to be vigilant and step up your bike security in order to deter thieves."

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.