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Almost 7,000 bicycles have been stolen across Ireland in the last 16 months

People who have their bike stolen are asked to report the theft to gardaí as soon as possible.

Image: Shutterstock/Yakiv Korol

Updated May 13th 2021, 1:19 PM

ALMOST 7,000 bicycles have been stolen across Ireland in the last 16 months, according to new figures from An Garda Síochána. 

Since January 2020 up to 23 April 2021, a total of 6,845 bicycles have been stolen, with gardaí recovering 2,139 bikes. 

Gardaí have said many of the bicycles cannot be returned to their owners as their serial numbers are not recorded. 

Of the bicycles stolen since January last year, only one in every five owners were able to provide their bicycle frame and serial number when reporting the theft to gardaí. This causes problems reuniting bikes with their owners, gardaí said. 

An Garda Síochána has the following Crime Prevention advice to help owners protect their bikes from theft:

  • Spend 10% to 20% of the value of your bike on two locks.
  • Lock your bike tightly to an immovable object.
  • Keep the lock off the ground.
  • When storing your bike at home in a shed or garage ensure it is locked to an immovable object or another heavy item i.e a lawnmower
  • Take a photo of your bike, note the serial number and email it back to yourself or store it on the cloud so you have a record of it forever.
  • Lock your bike indoors or in well-lit areas if possible.

An Garda Síochána has a number of recovered bicycles at garda stations around the country which have not yet been claimed.

Photos of bicycles which have been recovered but not yet returned to their owners are available by Division here and on An Garda Síochána’s Divisional Facebook Pages along with details for owners to claim their bike.

In their in-depth project on bike thefts – published last week – our investigative platform, Noteworthy, found that the use or threat of violence in bike and scooter thefts increased by 65% last year. 

They also conducted an analysis of theft trends over the past five years and found almost 30,000 incidents of bike theft were reported, with an average of 70% occurring in Dublin.

Today, at the launch of the ‘Lock it or Lose it’ campaign by An Garda Síochána, Fianna Fáil TD James Browne said that when faced with the threat of violence in a bike theft, personal safety is the priority. “I think your own personal safety is far more important than any piece of property,” he said.

“In that situation, there’s always a risk that if you try to engage with somebody who’s threatening violence, you can end up in a very serious situation.”

Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the Department of Justice, was also present at the launch and said Gardaí are doing a lot of surveillance work around bike theft, including working with local communities.

“We are appealing to all bicycle owners to ensure they lock their bikes as securely as possible when they are not in use,” Crime Prevention Officer in the Galway Garda Division Sergeant Michael Walsh said, as part of a Garda press statement.

“Anecdotally, more people are cycling since the start of the pandemic and this is to be welcomed. Schemes like cycle to work offer great opportunities to those taking up cycling but it does mean people are investing in more expensive bikes.” 

“Therefore, it makes sense to invest in quality locks to prevent bike theft. A good quality lock would involve spending 10% to 20% of the value of the bike on two locks. On average this would amount to €140/€150.” 

People who have their bike stolen are asked to report the theft to gardaí as soon as possible, ensuring they have their serial number to hand if they have it. 

Browne said he believed that Gardaí are equipped to tackle all kinds of bike thefts.

“There’s different types of bike thefts,” he said. “You have the opportunists, you have people who are maybe stealing it to sell one or two bikes, but then you also have that organised crime element, who’re probably targeting those high-end bikes and we suspect maybe they’re the ones using the kind of angle grinders trying to gather up those.

“The Gardaí have had significant success in recent times in terms of talking to organised crime [...] and I’ve no doubt that they have that skill set necessary to tackle, whatever the organised crime element is.”

In addition An Garda Síochána is reminding the public that cyclists are regarded as vulnerable road users and motorists need to exercise care when encountering cyclists, alone or in groups.

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“Motorists are advised to give cyclists the space to cycle safely, particularly when overtaking them,” Sergeant Walsh said. 

“Cyclists can be thrown off course by sudden gusts of wind or when having to avoid uneven road surfaces. It is equally important to check your mirrors regularly as a cyclist or other road user could be in your blind spot. Before opening the door of your ensure you check for passing cyclists,” he said. 

“Drivers should also park legally and not disrupt bicycle lanes.

“We all have a responsibility, whether as motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians to share the road in a safe and responsible manner.” 

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