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BICYCLE THEFT ON THE RISE AS 1.8 MILLION BRITS PURCHASED A BIKE DURING LOCKDOWN

BICYCLE THEFT ON THE RISE AS 1.8 MILLION BRITS PURCHASED A BIKE DURING LOCKDOWN

Published: 17/07/2020
  • Coronavirus lockdown has inspired almost two million* cyclists to purchase a bicycle
  • One in 10 (11%) bike owners have seen a significant increase in bike theft in their area since March
  • One fifth (22%) of cyclists have had their bike stolen in the past
  • More than half (52%) of UK cyclists are uninsured despite a spike in bike crime during the lockdown

10 July 2020 – The number of cyclists on the roads has increased significantly since the Covid-19 lockdown began. Research from comparethemarket.com reveals that 1.8 million* adults have purchased a new bicycle since measures were introduced in March. However, while bike sales have increased, so too have levels of theft. According to the research, more than one in 10 (11%) bike owners report noticing an increase in bike theft in their area since lockdown began. The same proportion (11%) describe bike theft in their area as ‘high’, a figure which jumps to 24% in London.
 
Despite high levels of bike crime, the nation’s growing population of cyclists is significantly underinsured. More than half (52%) of cyclists admit that they do not have insurance cover for their bikes, even though one fifth (22%) have had their bicycle stolen in the past.
 
These figures are particularly worrying as cyclists say they paid an average of £300 for their bike, with nearly one in 10 (9%) spending between £500 and £1,000. One of the best ways to protect expensive bikes is under your contents insurance policy, however comparethemarket.com’s research indicates that only one third (33% )of cyclists have this type of cover.
 
Younger demographics are the least likely to purchase insurance, as nearly three quarters (74%) of those aged 18 to 24 admit that they have not taken out a policy for their bike. Despite this, their age group is the most aware of bike crime taking place in their region.  Almost one fifth (19%) of 18-24 year olds describe bike theft in their area as ‘high’ - more than any other age group surveyed.
 
The research further reveals regional disparities affecting both levels of insurance and theft. Welsh cyclists come out on top as the nation’s least insured cyclists (65%), followed closely by Londoners, of whom two thirds (60%) of bike owners are uninsured.
 
However, Welsh cyclists report low levels of bike theft in their region, which may explain levels of underinsurance across Wales. The majority (72%) of Welsh cyclists describe bike crime as non-existent to average in their area, while London’s cyclists are more aware of the risks they face when leaving their bike uninsured, with one quarter (24%) expressly stating that theft is ‘high’ – the greatest percentage across all regions.
One in seven (14%) admit that organising contents insurance is ‘too much hassle’. Nearly two fifths (39%) choose not to insure their bike as it is stored indoors, while 15% trust that their lock acts as sufficient protection.

Region % of Uninsured Cyclists Awareness of Bike Theft*
Wales 65% Non-Existent to average
London 60% Average to high
South East 56% Low to average
South West 56% Low to average
East Midlands 54% Low to average
Northern Ireland 52% Non-Existent to Low
West Midlands 49% Low to average
Scotland 46% Low to average
Eastern 45% Low to average
North West 44% Low to average
Yorkshire & Humberside 42% Low to average
North East 41% Low to average

Chris King, Head of Home Insurance at comparethemarket.com, commented:

“The lockdown measures have inspired a wave of new riders to take up cycling. Whilst this is great for health and environmental reasons, bicycles have become the new prized commodity for thieves. People do not always think to cover expensive items such as bikes against theft, despite the more expensive models costing thousands of pounds and often taking months to save up for.
 
“Bicycles are often covered by contents insurance, however it is important to check your terms and conditions carefully as they will tell you the exact, sometimes specific, conditions under which your bike is covered or whether bikes are excluded from your policy entirely.
 
“If you are reliant on your bike, or paid a significant price for it, it is important that you do not fall foul to these loopholes and shop around for a more comprehensive policy online.  Should you wish to remain with your current contents insurance provider but extend your policy to cover your bike, you can also contact your insurer directly to discuss your options.”

ENDS

Findings taken from a survey of 2068 UK adults conducted by Populus between 15th – 17th May 2020
 
*UK adult population according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/bulletins/annualmidyearpopulationestimates/mid2019
  - 52,673,433 UK adults, of which 38% own bicycles, according to comparethemarket,com research – equating to 20,015,904 (20 million UK cyclists)
  - 9% of the 20,015,904 UK cyclists purchased their bike after the Covid-19 lockdown was announced – equating to 1,801,431(around 1.8 million)

*Levels of bike crime indicated in the table are representative of perceived levels of theft according to survey respondents
 
Notes to editors:

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