More than 110,000 bicycles have been stolen during the coronavirus pandemic after a surge in new cyclists fuelled by the Government’s measures, a study shows.
Figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests show that 32,700 bikes were reported stolen to police forces across the UK between April and August.
But the actual number could be as high as 112,600 – equivalent to more than 300 a day – as 71 per cent of bike owners do not report them as stolen.
The research, from Direct Line Home Insurance, reveals more than £5 billion has been spent on bikes since the start of lockdown, with 14.5 million acquired in the last seven months.
However, that has also fuelled a spike in thefts, accounting for 10 per cent of all crimes reported in London. The average claim for a bike now stands at £800, an increase of 27 per cent since 2019 (the video below shows CTTV footage of NHS workers’ bikes stolen by suspected thieves).
Dan Simson, the head of Direct Line Home Insurance, said: "Bikes can be expensive and often catch the eye of thieves when left unattended, especially if not well secured.
"With so many now relying heavily on their two wheels for travel and exercise, we would recommend investing in a strong D lock to deter thieves as well as having home insurance with cover for personal possessions away from home included to reduce the risk of being hit with a hefty bill to get you back on the road.”
The research suggested Britons are now collectively cycling 16 million more miles every week, taking the total UK weekly miles ridden past one billion.
This increase is being fuelled by commuters, who are now riding an average 7.3 miles per week – an increase of 28 per cent compared to before lockdown and accounting for around one seventh of all miles cycled on a weekly basis.
Other popular reasons for cycling such as exercise (up four per cent) and leisure (up two per cent) have also increased since lockdown, although visiting friends and family has fallen (down five per cent).