Motorcycles are highly sought after by thieves - more than 45,000 are reported stolen each year in the U.S. - but owners can do a lot to prevent their bike from being the one stolen.
A thief will always choose the low-hanging fruit; the motorcycle easiest to steal with the lowest level of risk. Taking some steps to secure your bike won't make it impossible to steal, but it could make it harder to steal than one parked next to yours, saving you from losing your bike or filing a motorcycle insurance claim.
Use Common Sense And A Motorcycle Cover
Do not assume a motorcycle is safe because it is parked in a nice neighborhood, a gated parking lot or garage. Although they might be better off those places than parked on the street, these are the places thieves love to "shop" for motorcycles to steal.
Some of the best advice from bike owners and former thieves is to use common sense: Don't park your motorcycle where no one can see it and use anti-theft devices, even if the area where it's parked is guarded in some way.
The other trick many suggest, including motorcycle insurance companies, is to always cover a motorcycle when you're not riding it. Approaching a motorcycle and looking under a cover to determine if it is worth stealing is a risk in itself to a thief. Covers are a deterrent that works from afar, before a thief even gets near your bike.
Buy A Good Chain
A bicycle chain probably won't stop an experienced thief. The only chains that might be a stumbling block for someone trying to steal a bike are ones designed with them in mind.
Motorcycle chains are typically at least 14mm thick and would required a powerful set of bolt cutters to destroy and render useless. They come with a lock that is more durable than the vast majority of locks found in retail stores, but some people opt to use them with U-locks to an added layer of security.
Lock Your Bike With A U-Lock
A standard lock or chain can be cut or destroyed then removed. A U-lock is shaped so that, when secured properly, it must be cut or damaged in two places to be removed. One cut versus two might not seem like a big difference, but it is. To a thief, that could mean at least twice as much work and time to steal a bike.
Install An Audible Alarm System
Almost every car has an audible alarm system but more motorcycles don't. Installing one is another good thief deterrent. A motorcycle doesn't have to be damaged to activate an alarm system. Some will sound if a bike is knocked over but others will go off if anyone sits on the bike or even stands it upright. Others are even more sophisticated and will active when someone other than the person in possession of the key is near it.
Consider Tracking And Disabling Devices
There are some companies that sell GPS tracking systems for motorcycles that enable owners and law enforcement to locate them. The only downside is professional thieves might be able to locate and disable the device.
Disabling devices are a good fail-safe when other anti-theft deterrents and devices fall short. Motorcycles with disabling devices will turn themselves off if tampered with or after a certain period of time without the key present.