Skip to content

England’s bike theft hotspots

Keeping fit and saving on transport costs are just two of the reasons behind the reported 47% surge in weekday cycling trips in England since March 2022. Cycling is a cost-effective and environmentally conscious way to get from A to B, but with 72,445 predicted cases of bike theft taking place in England in 2022, many cyclists remain at risk of losing their main method of transportation.

We’ve carried out research into reported bike theft statistics from 2015 to 2021, to reveal whether this type of crime is becoming more prevalent. The research has also allowed us to predict which location’s cyclists are the most and least at risk of having their bikes stolen in 2022.

London, Thames Valley, and Greater Manchester are England’s biggest bike theft hotspots

Based on data from previous years, we predict that cyclists in London will make 22,818 reports of bike theft in 2022, making it the most at risk of all locations researched. Transport for London revealed that the number of cyclists on London roads has risen by almost 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels, bringing with it a heightened risk of theft.

Thames Valley follows in second place with a predicted 4,460 bike thefts in 2022, and Greater Manchester ranks third with an estimated 4,354 bike thefts.

The table below shows the top ten locations where cyclists are most at risk of having their bikes stolen.

Rank

Location Bike theft probability score (out of ten) Predicted bike thefts in 2022**
1 London 5.4 22,818
2 Thames Valley 3.8 4,460
3 Greater Manchester 2.8 4,354
4 Cambridgeshire 10.0 3,458
5 Avon and Somerset 3.3 2,598
6 Sussex 2.9 2,304
7 Hampshire 3.8 2,150
8 West Midlands 1.0 1,997
9 West Yorkshire 1.8 1,773
10 Northumbria 2.6 1,654

**Predictions based on bike theft data from 2015 to 2021.

At the other end of the scale, cyclists in Cumbria are the least at risk of having their bikes stolen with a total of just 169 thefts predicted for 2022. Warwickshire is slightly more at risk with 372 estimated thefts, and Durham follows close behind with 374.

The table below shows the top ten locations where cyclists are least at risk of having their bikes stolen.

Rank

Location Bike theft probability score (out of ten) Predicted bike thefts in 2022**
1 Cumbria 1.0 169
2 Warwickshire 1.6 372
3 Durham 1.7 374
4 Devon and Cornwall 1.0 522
5 Suffolk 1.8 530
6 Cleveland 2.3 542
7 Gloucestershire 2.2 569
8 Wiltshire 2.5 572
9 Northamptonshire 2.0 632
10 Lancashire 1.9 769

**Predictions based on bike theft data from 2015 to 2021.

Which location have bike theft rates risen the most?

Leicestershire saw the largest increase in bike thefts over the past few years, with police reports rising by 23% between 2020 and 2021. Wiltshire ranks second, with the number of bikes stolen rising by 14% within the same time period, and Humberside, South Yorkshire and Merseyside follow with each location seeing an increase of 12%. 

The table below shows the top five locations that experienced the biggest increase in bike theft between 2020 and 2021.

Rank County Increase of bicycle theft cases from 2020 to 2021 (%) Predicted bicycle theft cases in 2022**
1 Leicestershire 23% 1,466
2 Wiltshire 14% 572
3 Humberside 12% 1,315
3 South Yorkshire 12% 936
4 Merseyside 12% 1,556
5 Norfolk 11% 859

**Predictions based on bike theft data from 2015 to 2021.

Expert tips for keeping your bike safe

With an estimated 71,541 cases of bike theft expected to take place across England in 2023, it’s crucial that cyclists do everything in their power to prevent their bikes from being stolen. Here are a few things cyclists can to do keep them secure:

  • Always double lock: Invest in a couple of high-quality locks to slow potential thieves down and make your bike less of a target.
  • Think carefully about where you park. Only ever secure your bike to something that can’t be moved, cut through, or broken.
  • Register with the National Cycle Database. If your bike is ever stolen and the police recover it, they’ll know straight away that it belongs to you.

Having your bike stolen isn’t just frustrating – it’s expensive, too. In fact, the average value of bicycles listed on home insurance policies across the UK is £1,084, so they’re definitely worth protecting. One of the best ways to do this is by taking out an insurance policy.

Here are five questions you should ask to make sure you find the right policy for you:

  • Is it already covered in your home insurance policy? While some providers will cover bikes as standard, some contents insurance policies only cover items when they're in your home, not while they're away from it. If yours does cover your bicycle while you’re out and about, have a look at the policy’s terms to see whether you need to declare it or if there are any conditions you need to meet.
  • What kind of cover do you need? You’ll likely need cover for when you’re out and about on your bike, as well as when it’s parked up at home, so make sure the policy applies in both situations, as they differ between providers. You should also think about whether you need cover for theft, vandalism, accidents, or all three.
  • What will you receive if you claim? Some policies have a limit on the amount they’ll pay out. It also varies from insurer to insurer whether you’ll be provided with a like-for-like replacement, or offered money to buy a new one yourself.
  • What level of security are cyclists responsible for providing when insuring a bicycle? To ensure your bicycle is covered if you need to claim you should check the security requirements with the insurer as these differ between policies. If you haven’t taken the necessary precautions to secure your bike, your insurance provider might refuse a payout.
  • What’s the excess of claiming for a stolen bike? The excess amount varies between insurance providers and is another aspect that should be considered when looking into insuring your bike, as it should be an amount that you can reasonably afford to pay, otherwise you won’t be able to claim.

Methodology

To calculate the English locations most at risk of bike theft we looked at the following metrics:

  • The number of police recorded crimes, percentage change from the previous year and rate per 1,000 population by offence group, firearms, knife and sharp instrument, fraud and anti-social behaviour offences by Police Force Area
  • Data is per year of January to December, all data available from 2015 to 2021.
  • Locations and corresponding crime numbers are separated by police force rather than strictly geographical location/city
  • Population for each area covered by the police force
  • To calculate predicted bike theft cases in 2022, we analysed police data from 2015 to 2021 and used a prediction trend formula.
  • Bike theft probability score was calculated by ranking the average number of reported bike theft cases per 1,000 people in each English county location in 2020 and 2021.