Nothing can mess up a good ride and your well being more than having your motorcycle stolen!
Motorcycle riders hit the highways, racetracks and rallies for good times, but the down side is that all these places are prime targets for motorcycle theft.
Bob Feinen, motorcycle theft and fraud specialist, has a few common sense tips for preventing motorcycle theft for new and veteran riders. Feinen, an expert in motorcycle theft investigation and fraud, has worked in the motorcycle insurance field for more than 20 years. Throughout his career, he has identified more than 300 stolen motorcycles and assisted in the recovery of more than $4 million worth of stolen motorcycle parts and accessories. He is a member of the Sturgis Police Department Motorcycle Theft Unit for the annual Sturgis Bike Rally and a member of the annual Daytona Bike Week Motorcycle Theft Unit. He is an expert in this field and offers these tips to keep your bike safe.
1. Lock your ignition: Most motorcycle theft occurs when the ignition is shut off, but not locked. Lock the forks or disk brakes with large, brightly colored tags. The bright color will remind you to unlock your bike and tell would-be motorcycle thieves that your motorcycle is protected.
If traveling with other riders, lock motorcycles together when not in use. If you are riding alone, lock your motorcycle to a secure, stationary object that can’t be easily dismantled, such as a light pole.
When traveling and spending the night at a motel, locate outdoor security cameras and park your motorcycle in the cameras’ view. If this is not possible, park your motorcycle close to your room. This allows you to hear if a thief messes with and attempts to steal your motorcycle.
2. Keep an eye on your bike: When parking at a public event, check your motorcycle periodically, especially immediately after leaving your bike, to make sure there are no suspicious individuals hanging around. Thieves need less than two minutes to steal your motorcycle. Don’t give them the opportunity.
3. Don’t store the title to your bike in the tank bag or saddlebag. The safest place for your title is at home. Keep your motorcycle registration and insurance identification card on you when you ride. Should a motorcycle theft occur, this quickly establishes you as the motorcycle owner and allows law enforcement to file a report immediately.
4. If you use a trailer to transport your bike, many of the same precautions apply. Park the trailer in a well-lit location near security cameras or in an area easily seen by restaurant, hotel or event staff. Lock the trailer doors and hitch. Secure doors by backing up to a wall, so there’s not enough room for doors to be opened. Know your trailer identification number and license plate registration.
5. Guard against theft when selling your bike: Don’t turn over the title until you can verify the check or money order is valid and clears the bank. Using fake identities has become common in motorcycle thefts. Ask the buyer for his or her name, address, date of birth and driver’s license number. Then ask to see the driver’s license and check that the information given matches the license.
Remember, it isn’t necessary that a buyer receives the title right away. A written document signed by the seller and buyer indicating price and method of payment also indicates proof of purchase. The title can be forwarded to the buyer once the check has cleared the bank. If you decide to sell your bike on consignment, do not provide a signed copy of the title to the dealership until you have received your money in full. Make sure the dealership is a reputable business before you trust them as an agent. Some dealerships with very little history have been selling motorcycles on consignment and keeping the money. When the dealership closes and files for bankruptcy, you are out a motorcycle and your money.
What’s listed here is common sense and will help some but there is constant news about motorcycle owners using all these precautions and still getting their motorcycle stolen! If motorcycle thieves want to steal your bike, they’ll get it and chances are you’ve seen the last of it unless you’re using a high performance motorcycle security system that will give you the opportunity to get it back.