A survey on bike theft in Europe

Around 90% of cyclists who experienced bike theft had locked their bike. A next-level security system is needed.

Nextscape Inc., who announced AlterLock, took a survey of bike thefts in the UK, Netherlands, and Germany.
The subject of the investigation was a total of 1500 cyclists in those three countries.
The research results provided useful insight on the circumstances of bike theft in European countries.

Survey overview

  • Subject: Cyclists who ride a road bike at least once a week.
  • Period: Feb. 2021
  • Method: Online questionnaire
  • Number of valid responses: 1500

Respondent profile:

  • Gender – Male: 823, Female: 677
  • Age – 10-19 years old: 84, 20-29 years old: 350, 30-39 years old: 365, 40-49 years old: 264, 50-59 years old: 230, over 60 years old: 207
  • Cycling experience – Less than 1 year: 225, 1-3 years: 225, 3-5 years: 210, 5 years: 895
  • Frequency of riding – 1 or 2 times per week: 399, over 3 times per week: 623, everyday: 478

Survey results

Are you anxious about bike theft?

About 80% of the subjects answered feeling anxiety about bike theft. Around 20% of the subjects answered that the purpose of their rides is for training or races. So, those who answered not anxious at all might be included in such ride purpose. We hope every cyclist can enjoy their ride without such anxiety.

What kind of precautions do you usually take to prevent bike theft?

This survey was taken by road bike users. So, precautions such as the use of lightweight locks like cable locks or keeping the bike indoors might be more common than the use of other heavy locks.

Previous bike theft experience

Have you ever been a victim of bike theft, including bike parts?

More than half of cyclists have experienced bike theft in their life. Analyzing the data by country, 47% of cyclists in the UK, 64% in the Netherlands, and 65% in Germany have experienced bike theft. Compared to over 4 years ago, the number is 130% higher. This data does not include people who stopped riding a bike after having theirs stolen. If such people were to be accounted for, there might be more who experienced bike theft.

What was stolen?

Around 70% have experienced bike theft. Also, we must be careful about accessories.

Where did you encounter the theft?

How long had you been away from your bike?

Most of the cases happened outside. But 26% experienced theft inside home grounds. It is better to lock bikes just as one would when parking in public. The figure dramatically increases in the cases over 5 minutes.

Was your bike locked?

This is the most interesting point. Around 90% of cyclists who experienced bike theft had locked their bike. Recently, there are some high security locks in the market. But most locks are easy to break for thieves with commercial tools even if the bike has multiple locks. We believe next-level anti-bike solutions are needed.

Did you report the incident to the police?

Did you request information? (Please select all that applies.)

Did you find the bike or parts?

Over 73% could not find their bikes. But around 30% succeeded in finding their bikes. Reporting the theft to the police and requesting information via SNS and Internet seem to work for finding bikes.

Please tell us the circumstances of finding your bike.

In this survey, we were able to know the percentage of cyclists who had been the victim of theft, the circumstances of the theft, and their subsequent actions.
We hope that this information will help cyclists to better understand how to prevent theft and what to do if they do experience theft.
AlterLock will continue to provide information on bike theft prevention and work to reduce the number of theft victims through its products and services.