Insurance cover for bicycles

Cameron bike theft may herald mountain of crime

6 May 2009

Cycle cover and security more important than ever, says AA Insurance

The second theft in a year of David Cameron's bike comes as the UK approaches a potential "Himalayan peak" in cycle theft, reinforcing the need to make sure your contents insurance covers bicycles away from the home, says AA Insurance.

The Tory leader's bike was today stolen from near his home, where it was reportedly chained to railings, less than 10 months after he got it back from a previous theft.

Simon Douglas, Director of AA Insurance, says it is unclear whether Mr Cameron's bike would be covered by his home contents insurance. He could claim for it if his policy extended to personal belongings outside the home.

Insurers would need to be satisfied that the Tory leader had taken adequate security precautions to prevent theft.

Simon Douglas adds: "Mr Cameron has done the right thing by reporting this crime to Police. Many cycle thefts go unreported, but doing so is essential for any insurance claim. While we sympathise with his well-publicised plight, hundreds of cyclists fall victim to theft every day.

"We could see a Himalayan peak in cycle theft this summer as the recession makes the bike an ever more sought-after item. This episode reinforces the need to check your insurance to make sure your bike is included. Make sure your bike is adequately covered and adequately secured."

June to October is consistently the busiest period for cycle theft, according to the Home Office's British Crime Survey. This, combined with a recession-induced surge in bike sales1, mean Summer 2009 is set to be a bumper season for thieves.


1Bike retailers reported a 48 per cent increase in sales from February to March. March sales showed an overall like-for-like growth of 22.6 per cent compared with March 2008. (Source: ActSmart cycle retailers survey, March 2009)

  • According to the British Crime Survey around 300,000 bikes are stolen every year in England and Wales and only 5 per cent are returned
  • According to research group Design Against Crime at the University of the Arts London, 17 per cent of cyclists have bikes stolen: of these 24 per cent stop cycling and 66 per cent cycle less often
  • In London, the peak period for theft is between 12:00 to 16:59 hrs with an average 3.7 offences per hour. 37 per cent of all bike thefts happen in this 5 hour period. (Metropolitan Police, Theft/Taking of Pedal Cycles, Overview May 2005)
  • Of a sample of 238 cycle thefts in Camden between January 2005 and March 2005, 72 per cent of stolen bikes were locked to railings or signposts. Only 15 per cent were stolen from purpose- built cycle racks. (Camden Borough, Pedal Bike Theft, July 2005)

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7 May 2009