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.
@StolenRide Managed to get the footage of when the bike was stolen. It happened around 9pm, still in broad daylight and with people around @VirginActiveUK Islington Angel. pic.twitter.com/jRHiVoELasJune 4, 2021
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.
@StolenRide Stolen Cannondale Quick Disc 5 2019. Bike was taken between 8-10pm on 2nd June in front of Virgin Active gym Islington at 33 Goswell Rd, London EC1V 7DG. The lock was found cut down around 10pm after the bike being parked to a Sheffield stand. pic.twitter.com/HHnEH9LpunJune 3, 2021
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.”
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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