Unfortunately, bicycle thefts are part of everyday life in the city. Almost all of us have been shocked to discover that our beloved bike is no longer on the street corner where we had parked it. But what happens next? What can and should you do if your bike has been stolen? We'll tell you and give you tips on how you can prevent theft in the future.
My bike was stolen – what now?
Have you just noticed that your bicycle or e-bike has been stolen? Then it is important that you act immediately. The longer you wait, the less likely it is to get your bike back. Report the theft to the police and file a report. To do this, you need as much information as possible about your bike. If you have a bike passport that contains all the important features of your bike such as brand, model and frame number, all the better. A recent photo of your bike can also help identify it. This step is important because the police report is considered proof of the theft and the police begin the search.
Find a stolen bike: This is where you should look!
You can also take action yourself and search for your stolen bike. If you have a GPS tracker attached to your bike, you can determine the location of your bike and report it to the police. However, GPS trackers are often quickly removed by thieves. The Airbell is ideal for counteracting this. You can hide an AirTag inside the doorbell so that it is not visible from the outside.
As a rule, bicycle thieves try to get rid of the stolen goods as quickly as possible. So search flea markets, public places and bicycle parking spaces in your area for your bike. If you find it, inform the police immediately. Avoid direct confrontation with the alleged thieves. It is better to leave this step to the officers so as not to escalate the situation. You can prove that the bike is yours with a bike pass or purchase contract. The local lost property office is often forgotten during the search. Maybe someone just “borrowed” your bike and left it somewhere else. A visit can definitely be worth it.
You can also browse online exchanges for used goods such as eBay Classifieds or Vinted for your bike. In this case, too, instead of accusing the seller online, you inform the police. Conflicts over chat messages can quickly lead to the seller deleting their profile and no longer being found. In addition to online marketplaces, you can report your bike as stolen on platforms like radklau.org . People can check out bikes on this and similar sites. For example, if you want to buy a used bike on eBay, you can find out whether the bike is stolen and, if so, inform the actual owner.
Will insurance pay if my bike is stolen?
After you report the theft to the police, you can inform your insurance company about the incident. Please note that not every insurance policy will cover damage in the event of theft.
Household contents insurance can only cover the loss of your bicycle if you have taken out a corresponding additional agreement for bicycle theft. In contrast, liability insurance does not cover damage or theft of your own bike. Liability insurance only covers damage that you cause to others or to other people's property. If you have special bicycle insurance for your bike, inform the insurance provider about the incident and file a claim for compensation. However, the insurance usually only covers the current value of your bike or provides a replacement. It's best to find out about the best insurance for your bicycle or e-bike before a possible theft.
Prevention is the best protection: This is how you protect your bike from thieves
Dozens of bicycles and e-bikes are stolen every day in Germany. According to police crime statistics, 233,584 bicycles were reported stolen nationwide in 2021 alone . To prevent theft, you can take the following preventive measures. We have a few tips for you:
Connecting instead of closing
Don't just lock your bike to itself, chain it to a firmly anchored object using a lock. This can be a garden fence, a tree, a street lamp or a gutter. This means your bike can't just be carried away.
Two is Better
Don't rely on a single lock. Secure your bike with at least two locks and ideally choose different lock systems to make it difficult for potential thieves. A fixed U-lock and a chain lock are suitable for most bicycles.
Uniqueness pays off
Unusual and special bikes are harder to sell after they are stolen and are therefore often unusable for thieves. If you want to protect your bike, you can make it a unique item that stands out from the crowd.
Security through coding
In many places it is possible to code your bike. An individual code is engraved, embossed or glued onto the bike. With this code, a bicycle can be immediately assigned to the owner by the police and dealers. Coding serves as effective protection against theft and is carried out by bicycle dealers, the local ADFC and sometimes by the local police themselves. Depending on the provider, the costs for coding are between 15 and 20 euros.
Keep your eyes open when parking
Avoid dark corners or streets that are difficult to see when looking for a suitable place to park your bike. Even in closed rooms, you should secure your bike just as you would on the street. The bike is often stolen from the basement, so make it as difficult as possible for the thieves.
Create a bike pass
A bike pass contains all the important information about your beloved bike. From the brand to the model to the frame number. In the event of theft, you can use the pass to give the police a detailed picture of your bike.
It feels like a punch in the gut when you find out your bike has been stolen. But don't give up hope, because your search can end successfully and bring you back your bike.