Revealed: the UK’s biggest motorbike theft hotspots – are you at risk?

Man in black mask stealing motorcycle

Greater London has been named as the biggest hotspot for motorbike thefts in the UK, with a ratio of approximately 8.5 thefts for every 1,000 registered bikes in 2022. This suggests that the capital is one of the least safe places to own a bike.

Nottinghamshire and the West Midlands complete the top three biggest hotspots, with ratios of 5.42 and 4.95 thefts for every 1,000 registered bikes, respectively. Yorkshire also seems to be a large hotspot overall, with the West and the South appearing in the top five, indicating that bike owners should remain vigilant in these areas.

The study, conducted by Go.Compare Bike Insurance, used data from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out which UK police forces report the highest number of bike thefts, helping riders identify the riskiest locations.

The top 10 bike theft hotspots, and the number of thefts per thousand registered bikes in each area, are below:

  1. Greater London – 8.5
  2. Nottinghamshire – 5.42
  3. West Midlands – 4.95
  4. West Yorkshire – 3.95
  5. South Yorkshire – 3.53
  6. Bedfordshire – 3.28
  7. Lancashire – 2.83
  8. Hertfordshire – 2.57
  9. Northumbria – 2.02
  10. Essex – 1.99

Meanwhile, the police forces with the lowest number of bike thefts were Dyfed-Powys, in Wales, and Gloucestershire. Both reported no bike thefts in 2022 (of the models included in the study). Other locations with a bike theft ratio below one included Suffolk, North Wales, and Norfolk.

The insurance comparison site also found that bike theft numbers increased for over half (54%) of police forces across the UK between 2019 and 2022. Greater London, the biggest hotspot in both years, saw a worrying 32% increase in bike thefts, indicating that the problem is only worsening.

Other areas that experienced a rise in thefts include the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North West. In fact, all police forces in these locations saw an increase in reported bike thefts.

Wales, on the other hand, enjoyed a decrease in thefts across all its police forces. The remaining regions in the study had a mix of increasing and decreasing theft numbers across its forces.

Tom Banks, motoring expert at Go.Compare, said: “Motorbikes are often a more vulnerable target for thieves due to the ease with which they can be carried away, meaning riders need to be particularly wary of theft. Taking the right precautions and ensuring they have the correct insurance coverage is essential.

“Learning about which locations see the most thefts is also valuable for taking further safety measures, and our insights can hopefully help bike riders avoid an unfortunate situation. It’s astounding to see how high the theft ratio is in London compared to other areas of the UK, especially given that it has increased over the years.

“In the worst-case scenario of having your bike stolen, it’s important to contact the police without delay and file a report. Once you have full details of the situation and a crime reference number, you should check your policy coverage and contact your insurance provider to start the claim process.”

A complete list of the bike theft ratios across the UK and more information on the study can be found on Go.Compare’s website.

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