Bike Crime: Londons big issue
"Its OK, its not as bad as where you come from. Just don't leave it out at night." These were the words of Cape Town bike legend Kyle as he walked me through the dos and dont's of bike hire (see upcoming post on Triumph Scrambler in Cape Town). South Africa is a country known for its crime, a shame as it is a beautiful country. It rivals England in road rage charts and other major SA cities have a terrible epidemic of car jacking. Cape Town is notoriously safer than most places in this country and its bike crime is significantly less than European bike crime powerhouse London. Outside of the Cape Town city centre people can leave their bikes unlocked outside their house. In Cape Town if a bike is to be nicked it needs to be in an accessible area, minimal security and left overnight. Basic and easy to avoid. There are no thefts to order, no following a rider home, no attacks, there is no market for it other than joy riding.
In other countries riders are able to own their bikes with little fear of theft for a variety of different reasons. For example in Italy, bikes are left parked in the street with minimal security, nothing is taken as there is no lust to have. No one owns mega superbikes as they are unaffordable for the most part of the biker population. If you are Italian and lucky enough to own one you probably have a nice garage to hide it in. There is no theft to order crime, everyone appreciates everyones assets you are more likely to be stopped by a stranger to take a picture than to have a spanner waved at your face.
London is a very wealthy city and one of the most expensive in the world to live in, as the wealth increases there will be more and more scrotes coming into the city risking jail time in order to make a few quid from your bike. It is now impossible to own a bike if you live in the city. The large wealth divide is amplified in London and with such a concentration of bikes a result is the terrible contagion of bike crime. It is so unfair that riders feel that they are unable to own the bike of their dreams in fear of it being robbed. Their success is shackled by criminals lust (and possibly need) for money, the same lust that the owner used to work hard enough to be able to buy their own bike. Now someone sees an opportunity to make money by taking it away from them. "They re insured" people say, yes, but that will probably be the last time they will be insured. Insurance isn't the only thing, the feeling of violation that goes with being a victim of crime, the fear, the loss and the despair. Its quantifiably more pain and hurt inflicted on the victim than just the inconvenience of a missing mode of transport. I know, my RC8 was targeted and taken in 2013.
Crime will never go away, for as long as there is supply there will be demand. Brexit may have an impact on the ease of export and import, the higher cost of living will leave Londoners even shorter of cash, although bikes are the more affordable, effective and most fun mode of transport, but that is it. The law needs to change about criminals abandoning crash helmets as surely once you commit a crime, you can no longer be supported by law. The law on bike crime in general needs specific support and councils should provide safer parking of the people who live and work in the area. Of course every biker needs to take the relevant precautions with Datatag, alarms, locks, trackers and vigilance. As part of the vigilance make sure you follow the below social media account and use the hashtags so everyone can spread the details of any suspicious c words and their activities.
We can fight without fighting. Biker community is always strong and we can fight this crime and help each other and the authorities make our streets safer so we can enjoy the freedom that bikes provide.