How to stop your bike being stolen this summer

A thief stealing a bike - stock photo
It's likely 10,000 bikes are stolen in Aotearoa every year, says Gabriel Gati of Bike Auckland. Photo credit: Getty Images

From Nights on RNZ

It's 5pm Friday evening. Finished work for the day, you head outside to where you parked your bike up.

But... there's nothing there. Nothing except the $10 lock you picked up at Kmart, sliced in two.

It's likely 10,000 bikes are stolen in Aotearoa every year, says Gabriel Gati of Bike Auckland.

To prevent yours from being one of them, don't be cheap when choosing a lock, he told Nights.

"Professional thieves have vans and they just go around towns and in two minutes, with a cheap lock, they snip through it. You can almost do it with scissors or the cheapest bolt-cutters and you're away," Gati said.

"One of the key things that we really encourage people to do is to use a high-quality lock which is hard to cut through. A U- lock which is solid metal is a really good start."

Secondly, lock up your bike to something solid - ideally a bike park.

"If you lock it to one of those white poles, those can be pulled up out of the ground in two seconds - you can just literally lift them. And so, your bike's gone before you know it.

"Make sure you lock your bike to something solid which is concreted into the ground."

Gati recommends all Kiwi cyclists register their bikes - for free - on the 529 Garage website.

"You register your bike on the site with your serial number and your contact details, and if the police or a member of the community pick up the stolen bike, and they run the serial number or the shield ID through the 529 database, it will pop up with your contact details."

The bike registry proved effective in Wellington recently, he said.

"A professional gang of thieves had stolen a lot of stuff, including minibikes, dozens and dozens of bikes and the police found them in these containers. The first bikes to be returned were the ones with 529 [security] shields because it was like a five-minute job.

"It's a lot more [thefts] than the police reports show - it's a big number."

As bikes evolve and become more expensive, they're more often the target of thieves.

"Bikes cover the whole value range, from $500 up to $20,000. Some road bikes are more than lots of cars."

E-bikes, because they are so expensive, require the best security measures, he said.

"[E-bikes] are way more of a target for thieves. Please get a great-quality lock, lock it to something solid, and register it on 529. Those three things will save so much pain for you."