It’s fair to say that the so-called ‘Moped enabled crime’ epidemic is pretty much out of control in London.
All the mainstream media channels have highlighted it over the last few weeks, putting it firmly in the spotlight. The knock on effect of all this coverage is that it won’t stop at being a London based crime; soon towns and cities across the country will be suffering from copycat attacks, if they aren’t already. So what can we do to protect ourselves and our machines?
- We shouldn’t be made to feel vulnerable when we’re riding but it’s worth being on your guard at all times. Keep your eyes peeled for odd behaviour from other scooter riders and be aware of what and who is around you. Are you being followed?
- Most of the video footage and reports of attacks in London have been carried out by the pillion rider, often in casual/sports clothing. Pay particular attention to scooters with a pillion passenger. Especially if the rider and passenger are wearing ‘street’ clothing rather than dedicated riding clobber.
- If you feel like you’re under threat try not to panic, most other scooter riders will just be going about their daily business so you may just be being paranoid. Ride sensibly towards a busier area, police station, garage or high street. The more people around you the better.
- Most large towns and cities have areas that aren’t really very inviting to an outsider. Try to stay away from dodgy areas if at all possible. It’s better to go a couple of miles out of your way to avoid a known trouble hot spot.
- If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked don’t risk your life for the sake of your scooter. Although, if you have a chance to take the keys out of the ignition and throw them away from you, or hit the kill switch there’s a chance that the attackers will panic and just ride away leaving your machine.
The bike thieves are brazen enough to use hand-held grinders, drills and bolt croppers in the dead of night, or in broad daylight. If you regularly park your scooter outside, in town or out of sight then you risk being targeted by organised or opportunist thieves. The Met’s new anti-theft campaign states “The more visible the security, the less visible your scooter is to thieves.” It’s good advice so here are a few ideas to help you safeguard your scooter.
- Use a simple bike cover, “It’s only a cover” you may say but a bike cover instantly hides your machine. A hidden machine is less enticing to a thief; they can’t tell if it’s a preferred model unless they lift the cover. Be sure to use a cover that fits your scooter though, fasten it securely and make sure they can’t see identifiable parts sticking out, like wheels, mudguard or an engine.
- A disc lock is easy to carry, simple to use and stops a scooter having the steering lock snapped and being pushed away. Not all disc locks will fit through scooter wheels though, so if possible either try before you buy or get recommendations. The new Oxford XA5 ScootLock does fit through most scooter wheels though (even 10”) and also has a built in alarm.
- Chain it up, don’t rely on a disc lock alone or your scooter could quickly be lifted into a van. Use a good quality Thatcham approved chain and fasten it around an immovable object and a solid part of the scooter.
- Security is a bit like the scissor, paper stone game. A disc lock is ok but use it in conjunction with a chain, a chain is a good deterrent but with the right tools they can be cut quite quickly. A battery powered drill and angle grinder can beat both. Make it harder for them by keeping the chain away from the floor if possible, or as close to the immovable object as you can so it’s harder to get in to cut. The more security devices you use the less of a target you become.
- Park sensibly, if your scooter is going to be out of sight try and park it in a busy area. The more people around it the better. A quiet side street or car park is a great place for a thief to go to work without being disturbed.
- We’re all creatures of habit, we’ll sit on the same table in a restaurant, use the same locker at the gym, park in the same spot every day. The local toe rags will quickly suss out what time your scooter arrives and leaves. Try to vary it if at all possible and use rule one – cover it up.
Although the crime figures for ’Moped enabled crime’ are shocking and quite worrying for us riders, don’t let it put you off. Use some common sense, decent security and ride defensively and you will certainly lessen your chances of becoming a growing part of the statistics.