With saddles shined and engines roaring, motorcycle season is officially underway all across the U.S.A., and it's poised to be another sun-soaked, smooth season for biker aficionados. But last year, the season got off to a rocky start for tens of thousands of riders, whose chassis were brazenly stolen.
A total of 46,467 motorcycles were stolen by thieves in 2016, according to the latest numbers from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. That's a 2% increase from 2015 when 45,555 motorcycles were reported as being taken away from their rightful owners.
"Highly populated states tend to see more motorcycle thefts."
Certain states were more severely affected than others – nowhere more so than in California, the U.S.' most-populated state, which also has the largest number of registered automobiles and motorcycles. Roughly 7,500 motorcycle thefts took place in the Golden State last year, NICB reported, ahead of Florida, where 4,482 motorcycles were absconded with, and Texas, where 3,692 bike thefts occurred.
Urban areas are packed with people, making them ideal gathering places for riders looking to enjoy a night out on the town or a weekend day-trip. But motorcycle thefts were also rampant in highly populated cities in 2016, with 1,209 taking place in New York City, 849 in San Diego and 818 in Las Vegas, NICB reported.
Motorcycles are massive pieces of machinery that are highly sought-after, with thieves often purloining them to ride themselves or break down piece by piece to sell the parts on the black market. But there are strategies that you can implement to keep your ride protected. The following are a few of them:
1. Park in a well-lit area
Trained professionals can make off with a motorcycle surprisingly quickly. But no matter how proficient thieves are at the process, it takes some doing – the kind that may raise red flags when hatched out in the open. Look for a parking space that's not secluded so theft-related maneuvers can be done from behind closed doors.
2. Install anti-theft locking device(s)
Motorcycle thieves have an added advantage because they don't have to break "into" a motorcycle like they would with a car. However, riders can reduce criminals' chances at success by using anti-theft devices, such as kill switches, steering locks, and disc locks. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, most thefts involve bikes that aren't secured.
Cruiser Magazine suggests riders use two different types of locks to err on the side of caution, like a cable lock as well as a disc lock. The cable keeps the motorcycle from being transported on the back of a pickup truck, for example.
3. Look around for security cameras
Security cameras are virtually everywhere: in parking lots, garages, and on street corners. Keep an eye out for these devices in your comings and goings and park in an area where a surveillance system is installed. This may not prevent thieves from their actions, but the footage could provide key clues to tracking down the guilty party.
4. Remain vigilant
There's a difference between being paranoid and being vigilant. The latter involves an attentive, alert mindset, constantly observing your surroundings to see if anything seems amiss or out of the ordinary. This is what you should aim for whenever you take your bike out for a ride. By staying on your toes, you can put your bike – and yourself – in a position that's less vulnerable.
5. Keep important documents in safe place
Motorcycle insurance is an important protection that every rider should have. When it's kept in a compartment somewhere on the bike, however, the thief has information that may lead to future run-ins, such as car theft or breaking and entering. As an alternative, keep insurance policies at home or carry it with you whenever taking the bike out for a ride.
Every car owner may not be a motorcycle rider, but just about every motorcycle owner drives an automobile. By insuring your bike with Elephant Auto Insurance, you can reduce what you pay in premiums for comprehensive coverage. Find out more about bundling here and snag some savings.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. It does not replace or modify the information contained in your insurance policy.