Unfortunately a bicycle is a desired item for ‘spur of the moment’ thieves or the professional. It is almost impossible to stop the latter but good locks can deter the former.

When leaving a bicycle unattended it is always advsed to lock it to a permanent structure or cycle stand in a well-used and properly lit area where it is visible to passing pedestrians.

There are more than 550 cycle stand spaces in Bedford town centre (click here for a map of their locations), 630 at the railway station and more than 3,000 at other public/private locations on which to secure a bicycle.

Use a good quality lock that matches the value of your bicycle. If necessary use two different types - a D-lock as well as a flexible one.

Lock It or Lose It

Thread it through the frame and at least one wheel if using one lock and secure it to the cycle stand, railing or other immovable object.

Remove and take with you quick release valuables such as lights, pumps and panniers.

Ensure your cycle is easily identifiable. Make a note of model, frame number, colour and any accessories. Also photograph it and have the underside of the frame marked with a post code.

Insure your cycle and if it is stolen report it immediately to the Police.

There are a number of schemes where you can register your bicycle on a website but one recommended is Immobilise.

Bedfordshire Police regularly organise events where you can get your cycle marked and receive crime reduction advice.

A leaflet can be downloaded on how to keep your bike safe.

Bike Stands St Paul's South

Bike Stands - St Paul's Square South

Bike Stands

Please note that the most common bike stand used is the 'Sheffield' type as shown in the illustration at the top of the page. There are other types, many are 'not fit for purpose' types in which only the front wheel can be secured allowing the rest of the bicycle to be easily removed and if knocked has the potential to buckle the wheel. The Bedford Borough Council's cycle parking guidance document can be seen here.

Bike Thefts - Bedford Borough

2020 gave a similar level of bike thefts to 2019 (455 versus 443). The top five hot spots were the Town Centre (109), Harpur (46), Midland Road West (41), Cauldwell (38) and Kingsbrook (32).

Bike Theft Graph

The number of bicycle thefts in England and Wales fell to 88.3 thousand in 2019/20 (April to March), compared with 98.3 thousand in the previous reporting year, and over 100 thousand in the year before that. Bicycle thefts in England and Wales peaked at 115.9 thousand in 2011/12 during the provided time period.

National surveys have claimed that up to 71% of victims do not report a theft so the true number of bikes stolen during 2020 in Bedford Borough could be as high as 1569 and for the year upto March 2020 in England and Wales 304,500.

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Further Reading

Comprehensive articles on bike security can be downloaded from:

Cycling UK,
British Cycling,
Direct Line
Neighbourhood Watch and
Barriers Direct.

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