How to protect your bike from theft

Bicycle locked to bike rack next to main road


Posted June 12, 2023

Bike theft from car parks, apartment blocks and driveways is on the rise – here’s how to keep your bike safe and prevent it being stolen.  
Rising health consciousness and an interest in alternative mobility is fuelling the popularity of cycling. Not only are bicycles great for commuting and exercise, but they’re also a great mode of transport for family outings and exploring regional areas.

But along with the increase in bike sales, the number of bicycle thefts reported in Victoria has increased by 81.2 per cent in the past decade.

Australia’s biggest bike-riding organisation, Bicycle Network, reports that bike thefts at car parks and apartment blocks are growing by 40.7 per cent each year. Similarly, thefts from driveways and carports are on the rise, with an average annual growth of 36.1 per cent.

Bicycle Network says that only 9 per cent of bike theft cases in Victoria are solved by police.

That means it’s important that you know how to lock your bike to prevent theft. Bikes can be easily stolen, dismantled and sold as parts.

Learn how to properly lock your bike to deter theft. Video: Robert Fearon

Tips to prevent bike theft and stolen bikes

Use a solid D-lock  

A lock should always be used to secure a bike – both at your property and in public.

A high-quality D-lock (also called a U-lock) provides more security than a chain lock or cheap D-lock because it is extremely difficult to cut with bolt cutters. 

A D-lock is also heavier than other types of locks, enabling riders to attach bicycles to fixtures such as street poles and council-installed bicycle hoops.

In addition, a coiled wire lock is useful for securing the wheels of the bike to the frame, as wheels and tyres are often the focus of thieves. 

Choose a safe location to park your bike

Bicycles on streets and footpaths are the top target for thieves, while thefts from apartment buildings and car parks are increasing, according to Bicycle Network.

Don't leave your bike unlocked out the front of your property. Keep it inside the house, in a locked shed or locked securely to a fixture behind locked gates. If you live in an apartment block that doesn't have secure bike parking, consider keeping your bike inside your apartment.

When out and about, take advantage of secure underground bike parking or storage cages at train stations. If you’re forced to park your bike on the street, choose a well-lit area.


A bike locked to a bicycle hoop

A high-quality D-lock is considered the strongest and safest type of bicycle lock. Image: Matt Harvey

Remove all valuables from the bike

When parking, remove all valuable items from the bike. This includes laptops, cameras such as GoPros, bags, pumps, lights and anything else that could make your bike a target for theft. 

Make the bike easily identifiable 

Make your bike unique and easily identifiable so that it can be returned to you if it's recovered.

This should include engraving your name or driver’s licence on the bike frame. Engrave a ‘V’ for Victoria on the bike frame, as this helps police understand that the proceeding numbers belong to a driver’s licence.   

man in green shirt fixing bicycle chain

Make your bike identifiable by engraving your licence number on the frame. Image: Getty

Record key details and photos of the bike

Keep a record of your bike’s serial number, make, model, year and colour.

If your bike does get stolen, this information could help police identify your bike if it's recovered.


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