Cameron Bike Theft Marks Crime Rise

Harold Macmillan (Prime Minister from 1957 to '63) famously urged the nation to get 'on your bike' – and the term has settled into public consciousness ever since. And his would-be successor, David Cameron, would like to do just that – but his bike was recently stolen for the second time.

This has prompted AA Insurance to warn that bike theft has become one of the most common causes for domestic burglary insurance claims and could reach a 'mountain bike theft peak' over coming months.

Contents covered?

David Cameron's bike was in fact, chained to railings at his home when it was stolen showing that thieves are deliberately targeting such bikes using cutting equipment.

Nikki Saunders, AA Home Insurance Manager, says that protecting against such determined thieves is difficult. But she says: "Bikes are covered by AA Home Insurance but you should store them securely such as in a locked shed or garage.

"Even more important, make sure that your insurance is extended to your property away from home, so that it is covered if someone else gets 'on your bike' while it's at work for instance."

Saunders adds: "Mr Cameron did the right thing by reporting the theft of his bike to the 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.

Sought after

"We could see a mountain of cycle thefts 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, and keep a note of the frame number (either just beneath the saddle or under the pedal hub)."

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 sales*, mean summer 2009 is set to be a bumper season for thieves.

Find out more about AA Home Insurance and extending your cover to include property outside the home, or why not get a quote.

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Cycle theft facts

  • 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% of cyclists have bikes stolen: of these 24% stop cycling and 66% 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 (where David Cameron lives) between January 2005 and March 2005, 72% of stolen bikes were locked to railings or signposts. Only 15% were stolen from purpose- built cycle racks. (Camden Borough, Pedal Bike Theft, July 2005).

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