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How to prevent motorcycle theft

Added August 25, 2021
A motorcycle cover

It can happen to any of us that ride a motorcycle. You walk out to your garage or to the last place you left the bike parked, only to find it missing. Did you park down the street, forget about lending it out, or has it been stolen? The dread creeps in, and unfortunately, a motorcycle thief may have taken your bike.

We love that motorcycles aren’t cars; traveling “cage-free” allows you to see the world in a whole new way. There’s a freedom that comes with being outside of the confines and safety of a car, but the smaller size and open nature of a motorcycle mean that it’s easier for potential thieves to get to your vehicle. 

That’s why at Harley-Davidson, we believe in taking steps to thwart any would-be thieves, and by adding a few extra layers of motorcycle security measures, you can receive insurance discounts on your motorcycle insurance.

Here are a few helpful tips that all bike owners need to know to keep their motorcycle safe. 

Camouflage your Motorcycle

Any would-be thief sees a shiny motorcycle as an easier target than stealing a car.

There are no doors to be locked, and the best that most motorcycle owners can do is engage a fork lock. While this keeps a thief from riding your motorcycle away, it doesn’t stop them from lifting your motorbike into the back of a waiting van to be disassembled later. 

If they really want your bike, they can take it. 

The best thing you can do is to keep them from seeing your bike in the first place. This is why we advocate a few different methods that will ensure your bike doesn’t become a target. 

Keep your Motorcycle Indoors

The streets are easy pickings for any would-be thieves, which is why keeping your motorcycle indoors adds an extra layer of protection to your bike. Garage-kept motorcycles are stolen at a much, much lower rate than those parked on the street or in a driveway.

If you are a motorcycle owner with a garage, consider keeping your motorcycle inside and investing in a garage security device. A garage door defender system or a security camera system will alert you to any intrusion into your space.

If you live in a big city, search for a gated parking garage specializing in motorcycle storage. Many motorcycle insurance companies (including Harley Davidson Insurance Services) may offer discounts or a lower rate for motorcycles that are stored in safer locations.

Cover your Motorcycle

Not every bike owner will have access to a private or locked garage, so the second-best step you can take is to keep your bike covered with a nondescript motorcycle cover.

A bike cover with no visible branding is even better. A cover on the street will effectively act as urban camouflage. There’s nothing about a black or grey cover that catches the eye, which will hopefully mean that a potential thief passes your bike for a flashier target.

Park in a Visible Location

Look for parking spots that are highly visible, are directly under an overhead light, or are in highly trafficked areas. The more people that are around, the less likely your motorcycle will be stolen.

Motorcycle Anti-Theft Accessories

While keeping your motorcycle out of sight from a thief is the best line of defense to prevent motorcycle theft, there are a few easy additions you can make to a motorcycle to deter bike thieves and ensure you don’t become a victim of motorcycle theft. As we said before, a determined thief is hard to stop, so the best you can do is slow them down and ensure that your motorcycle isn’t an easy target.

If you ride a Harley-Davidson, there are a few genuine security additions you can make to your motorcycle, but taking multiple measures will deter thieves and keep your bike safe.

Engage your Fork Lock

This is a system installed on almost every motorcycle where you can lock the fork in a turned position so that a stolen motorcycle cannot be ridden in a straight line. Fork locks can be overpowered but will slow down an opportunistic thief.

Use a Disc Lock

A disc lock is one of the most straightforward solutions to safeguard your motorcycle from theft. Almost every modern motorcycle uses a disc brake system. Disc brake locks slot through the holes of a disc brake and makes it impossible for a thief to ride without destroying your wheel and braking system.

Install a Motorcycle Alarm

Some higher-end motorcycles come with built-in alarm systems, but if you aren’t so lucky, you can take a few small steps to add a secondary alarm to your bike.

Many covers also come with a small anti theft device that will activate if not removed correctly.

Lock your Motorcycle to an Immovable Object

This is another method that will slow down would-be thieves.

Use a heavy-duty chain lock to secure your motorcycle to an immovable object or a ground anchor. While these can be cut through with an angle grinder or bolt cutter, they will seriously slow down a thief and potentially prevent a stolen motorcycle.

Protecting your Gear

It’s not just your motorcycle that’s in danger when you aren’t riding it. A bike thief will be happy to make off with your motorcycle helmet or other accessories. Theft prevention and keeping your gear safe is mostly about common sense:

  • If you have a GPS like a Garmin or TomTom, remember to take it off your motorcycle and keep it with your other electronics when not in use.
  • If you keep your helmet on your motorcycle, invest in a helmet lock or a top box to store it.

Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

While motorcycle theft can happen, it doesn’t have to keep you off the road.

Ensuring that your insurance has comprehensive coverage will mean that you can either recover or purchase a new motorcycle with relative ease if the worst happens.

At Harley-Davidson Insurance Services, we have comprehensive coverage with a rental reimbursement option if your motorcycle is your only form of transportation.

Call today to schedule an insurance quote with one of our agents to ensure that you can always get where you need to go.

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