Cyclists in New York City are the most likely in the US to fall victims to thieves. That's according to a new report which lists the top black spots for bike theft in the States. Lock maker Kryptonite put out the list and, unsurprisingly, big cities feature heavily.
One Brooklyn woman recently had her cycle stolen after thieves apparently drove into the metal hoop she had locked her bike to. The hoop had been bolted to the pavement, but couldn't withstand the force of the vehicle, which knocked it out of the concrete. Stephanie Hugh, told The Brooklyn Paper it was the first time she'd used the stand to lock up her Voodoo Hoodoo cycle. She is now calling on the city to make sure its thousands of bike stands are strong enough to survive such tactics.
The worst places for bike theft in the US, according to Kryptonite are
1. New York
5. San Jose
6. San Francisco tied with Los Angeles
9. San Diego tied with Portland, Oregon and Washington DC.
What Kryptonite haven't revealed is how they drew up the list. Company marketing manager Donna Tocci described it on the firm's own blog as compiled from "stats from communities and from our own guarantee program". They say some of the info comes from FBI research. But beyond that they're not clear.
Britain not far behind
In the UK, thieves have kept pace with a massive increase in cycle commuting in the past decade.
A separate study by Halifax Home Insurance claims a bike is stolen every 71 seconds in the UK and says bike theft has risen 10 per cent in the last year alone. The company says some 440,000 bikes were swiped in 2006. Although, like Kryptonite, it's not clear where it's getting all its figures from.
Its top ten listed central London as the worst place for theft, closely followed by Kingston-upon-Thames, and the student cities of Cambridge, Bristol, York and Oxford. In London, cycling has jumped by 83 per cent since 2000. But with the soaring popularity has come an improved efficiency among bike thieves.
One Islington cycle commuter, who did not want to be named, told Bikeradar.com he had seen thieves use angle grinders to remove an entire set of railings used by cyclists. The railings were then lifted onto the back of a truck with bicycles locked to them still attached.
The whole process took just a few minutes, he estimated.
Bristol cyclist Tom Morgan, 25, says bike thieves won't deter him from cycling. "I have had four bikes stolen - three in the past two years," he said. "My last one, a very basic mountain bike, was locked up in a secure bike shed near my home. I had removed the front wheel and used two locks - but it still got nicked within 24 hours of me leaving it there.
"I have never bothered claiming any of them on insurance because they are barely worth more than the excess you have to pay. It's a ridiculous situation but I won't give up on cycling - I just hope the lot who keep taking mine, fall off and bruise their knees."
In York, the city is stepping up the fight against cycle theft. In June, council chiefs approved a £100,000 scheme to provide secure parking at a dedicated building in the city centre. Cyclists will pay £1 to store their bike each day, and will also have access to showers, lockers, and an onsite repair centre and shop. However, with only 100 spaces available, it remains to be seen whether the facility will be able to meet demand.
The project was dreamt up by local charity Bike Rescue, which refurbishes unwanted cycles. Bike Rescue is expected to apply for funding from the National Lottery and other sources and the city council has said it will match up to £50,000 of the total cost.
Last year North Yorkshire police had 1,409 bikes reported stolen in the city - almost four a day.
The other UK bike theft hotspots on Halifax' list were Richmond and Twickenham in South West London, Brighton, Portsmouth and Nottingham.