Overland to Japan

 London to Japan Overland

  

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How to Keep Your Motorcycle Safe at Home

 

How to keep your motorcycle safe at home is a problem not to be underestimated. More motorcycles go missing at their own home than while traveling. Here are some surprising statistics: 

 

  • 25% of stolen motorcycles will be found again, with the majority of them having suffered major damage.
  • About half of motorcycle riders do not regularly lock their vehicles.
  • 82% of stolen motorcycles are removed from the owner's home.
  • 60% of stolen motorcycles are used for spare parts and therefore are never recovered.
  • Motorcycles theft rate is 50% higher than cars.
  • A locked motorcycle can be successfully removed in less than a minute.
  • 95% of motorcycle theft victims never thought it could have happened to them.
  • 100% of motorcycle theft victims could have prevented the theft simply by following the advice on this page. 

 

Wheel and chain of stolen motorcycleNot all thieves aim to steal from travelers; actually most of them totally ignore travelers. Even though the tips on the Safety page are mostly related to traveling bikes, they can also be applied to people who use their bikes for commuting and mainly in their hometown.

On top of that I have some advice specifically tailored to home bikers. As usual, the best thing to do is to think out of the box. Think at how many ways your bike could be stolen and try to hinder these methods.

A thief who wants to remove your bike will either plan on driving it away from its location or to hoist it and sort out the locks at his own place. 

Thieves gangs usually act with a van or a pick-up truck and in more than one person, so what can you do to prevent them from lifting your bike onto a vehicle?

Remember that they will not necessarily want to eventually ride your bike: they might just be after the parts, so in this case a GPS locator will only bring you to the rubbish bin containing the expensive GPS tracker.

 

 

 
 
  1. The very best thing is always to prevent them from taking it, so whenever you can, nail it to the ground!

  2. When parking your bike, put it next to a wall and not in the middle of a garage. This makes it much more difficult to use large tools.
     
  3. Even in your home garage use a floor anchor, so that they will not be able to lift it away onto a van.

  4. Install an alarm in your home garage, or a dummy alarm bell or box outside of it; believe it or not this is enough to turn away some of them.
     
  5. Put a "beware of the dog" sign; most thieves will not even go near properties with dogs.

  6. Get yourself a fake barking dog alarm. People are much more scared of dogs than you might think.
     
  7. Block your garage door with a car if you can. It makes things a lot more difficult and they might just give up.
     
  8. Know your neighbors and be friendly with them. One day, one of the, might call the police if they see someone hanging around your bike. If they don't know you, then they also don't know that nobody else is supposed to hang around your bike.
     
  9. Never leave your helmet attached to the bike: you are giving a potential thief the helmet to ride it away.
     
  10. Use a small padlock attached to the chain in a concealed place. If they have managed to break the main lock and turn on the engine, they will have used up all of their time and patience and when they will be thrown off the bike, they won't have time to investigate what it was and chances are your bike will be there waiting for you. It's nothing and it might just save your investment when everything else has failed.
     
  11. If you buy spare parts from a local motorcycle dealer, don't have them delivered to your home; this will make a specialized person (the delivery boy) aware of what's where.

  12. Build a non standard cut off switch. Virtually nobody will know how to override it. You could even do something as simple as removing the main fuse; they will go mad trying to think what sort of technological alarm you are using.
     
  13. Some keys have numbers engraved on them. These numbers can be used to cut copies of the key. Make a note of them and file them off.
     
  14. Improvised thieves have decreased in recent years, leaving the market to the professionals who only steal to order. They search for the bike they want and then they follow it to see where it's parked, either during the day or night. After knowing the location, they can study how to tackle that particular bike and come back with the proper tools or van if necessary. Therefore before arriving at home or at work, check your rear mirrors and see if anyone is following you. If someone appears to be following you, then don't go home or to your workplace yet... get rid of them first. There is no reason to be paranoid, but this is a good habit, as police evidence suggests that bikes are being followed, at least in the UK.

  15. Even if less common, bike hijackers do exist. A great thing to have in these situations is a wireless cut off system that works either automatically when you separate from the bike, or by remote control. To my knowledge nothing of this sort exists, but you can have it build by a cool electrician. Picture this: you are being forced off your bike and the thief skids away only to find himself 10 meters ahead sitting on a dead motorcycle. Chances are he won't even realize it was you who triggered it.

  16. More and more thieves are stealing vehicles by braking into homes and getting the keys, so never leave your keys in an easy to find place, like hanging them on the wall next to the entrance door.

  17. Using a motorcycle tracking system is always a good idea, provided you can afford one.