Aviva, the insurance giant formerly known as Norwich Union, has undertaken a 'Cycle Security' project to call attention to bike theft in the UK.
The firm said that at least one third of bicycle owners in the UK have suffered bike theft in the past five years, eight per cent of which have had as many as three or more bikes go missing.
Aviva's Cycle Security project drew on the experiences of 2,000 bike owners to pinpoint key bike theft hotspots - as well as poor security practices used by cyclists. Recreating those scenarios in an undercover experiment Aviva found three out of the five bikes were stolen within five hours. One vanished in a matter of minutes (20) when left unlocked outside a shop in West London. 21 per cent of bike owners suffer this fate, according to the firm.
One bike left locked to a short parking meter outside a university was stolen in four hours. Ten per cent of bike owners see their bikes stolen outside a college or University.
Aviva research has found that two thirds of bike owners take unnecessary risks with their rides, with 13 per cent leacing it unlocked and unattended while running a brief errand, 12 per cent leaving it locked to a short post or bollard and 17 per cent leacing it unlocked but out of view.
Aviva household claims manager Ian Coull said: “Traditionally during August we see a 25 per cent increase in bike thefts as more people take to the great outdoors and make the most of good weather – the average cost of replacing a bike is around £400.
“So with the Bank Holiday approaching bike owners should be especially careful not to provide rich pickings to opportunistic thieves targeting bike hotspots and poor security methods.
“Obviously bike insurance will cover you for any theft or damage, but much better not to go through the hassle of dealing with the loss of your transport in the first place.
“And remember insurers do expect your cycle to be properly secured – and that means locked to a fixed immovable object – unlike the poor security measures used in our experiment.”