TfL and Mayor partner with Halfords to tackle bike theft

Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new collaboration with Halfords to encourage Londoners to safely and securely lock up their bikes and reduce the risk of theft.

From today, everyone who completes TfL’s online Cycle Skills course will receive 15% off Halfords’ own brand locks, as well as lights and helmets.

Despite fewer journeys being made across the city overall, cycling is up by 20%, with Santander Cycles use up by 20% too. On some routes, there has been a 200% increase in cycle trips. Halfords has reported a 60% year-on-year increase in sales of new bikes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While sales continue to surge, bike theft is being increasingly reported across the capital. Between April and September this year, reports of bike theft almost trebled, with 3,079 cycles reported stolen in September – up from 2,004 in September 2019.

An Opinium survey of 691 current London bike owners commissioned by Halfords found that 47% have not marked or registered their bike. While seven in ten respondents said they use a bike lock, only 50.5% are using a more robust secure lock.

Londoners are reminded to use two locks of gold ‘Sold Secure’ standard – ensuring one is a D-lock – to secure both the bike’s frame and wheels to a stand at recognised cycle parking facilities. Where possible, parking should be well-lit and covered by CCTV.

Londoners are also advised to use a DIY bike marking kit to get their bike registered to the BikeRegister secure online national database, which all UK police forces have access to. Bike marking kits protect your bike by permanently and chemically etching a unique BikeRegister ID into the coating of your bike’s frame. The etching is visible blue, leaving a neat unique mark which does not affect the frame’s integrity and is an effective deterrent to bike thieves.

Since May, TfL has installed 1,540 new cycle parking spaces across London, focused around busy areas like high streets and transport hubs. This builds on the 150,000 on-street cycle parking spaces available across London and more than 20,000 cycle parking spaces at stations across London. Many free spaces are near the station entrances or in our station car parks.

Londoners who have had their bikes stolen are encouraged to contact the police.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m determined to do all I can to ensure a green recovery for our city by building on Londoners’ record-breaking demand for cycling over the past few months. I am proud that we are rapidly rolling out more space for walking and cycling and upgrading cycle routes to make them safer.

“I know how distressing it can be when a bike is stolen. As well as doing all we can to address the scourge of bike theft, I urge Londoners to register their bike and invest in a good quality lock to minimise the risk of theft. I continue to work closely with Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Service to help ensure the risk of crime doesn’t deter people from cycling.”

Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing operations and security at TfL, added: “This year, we’ve seen thousands more people discover the health and environmental benefits of getting around London by bike. As cycling continues to boom in popularity, however, bike theft is unfortunately also on the rise. It’s therefore crucial for Londoners to do all they can to minimise the risk of their bike being stolen.

“We’re encouraging Londoners to get their bikes visibly security marked and registered and to invest in a good quality lock to keep them safe. Our new collaboration with Halfords will ensure that bike locks are even more affordable to all those who complete our online Cycle Skills course.”

Graham Stapleton, chief executive of Halfords, said: “We are delighted to partner with TfL in support of our mission to get more Londoners cycling, as a healthy and green way to travel around the capital. Our partnership will encourage people to brush up on their cycling skills, make sure their bikes are more secure, and learn more about the Cycle2Work scheme.

“Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a huge rise in cycling, with sales of bikes up 60% on last year. Yet research we have commissioned has shown that almost one in ten Londoners are not using any of the most commonplace bike security measures, despite figures showing theft is on the rise. Taking security measures like good-quality locks and registering your bike on a national database can make a huge difference in protecting your bicycle.

“We want as many people as possible to be able to get back on a bike and our campaign with TfL, alongside initiatives such as Halfords free 32-point bike check, aims to do just that.”

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