49,791 Motorcycles were stolen during 2010 according to reports by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The popularity of motorcycles has been on the rise in recent years and it’s caught the attention of thieves. A gang of 3 or 4 people can make off with a motorcycle in a matter of minutes, and the bikes can be stripped down for parts in a very short period of time after that. For these reasons it’s more important than ever to take precautions to protect your bike.
You are at especially high risk if you live in a state with year round riding weather. California, Florida, and Texas are all in the top 5 states with the most thefts. Interestingly enough, Honda is the top make to be stolen with the other Japanese powerhouses (Suzuki, Yamaha, & Kawasaki) not far behind. This is most likely because they sell a large number of sport bikes which can be resold more easily than a custom Harley Davidson for example. The more customized a motorcycle is, the higher risk factor for the thief. The lesson here is to customize your bike, make it less appealing for criminals while making it more appealing to you and other riders.
You’ve invested thousands of dollars into your motorcycle, don’t let some bad guy take it from you. The recovery rate for motorcycles is quite low, so if your bike is stolen don’t hold your breath for its return. What you should do instead is act preemptively. There are some things you can do without spending a dime to make your bike less appealing to thieves. Try to park in view of a security camera, and never park behind a big truck or other object that can hide your bike. You want it right out in plain sight. You can also spend a little bit of money and install a security system on your bike. If the bike is moved while the alarm is activated it will often times scare away a would be thief. Another piece of technological magic is the GPS locator. You can buy one of these little sweethearts and mount it to your bike. This works two-fold, it alerts you if your bike is moved without your consent, and it will also provide information to authorities to increase your chances of getting the motorcycle recovered.
I’d also like to touch on another problem caused by the criminal world, motorcycle fraud. Essentially people are selling bikes that are not authentic at a high price. For example, somebody might build a custom cruiser from cheap aftermarket parts and try to sell it as an authentic Harley Davidson. They could have a couple thousand into it and sell it for $15,000 and the buyer would be out all that money for a cheap knock off. Always ask to see the title when buying a motorcycle. Take a good look at the bike, often times you can tell the difference between authentic parts and chinese knock offs. Mostly just be aware, especially of deals that seem too good to be true!