Although theft has decreased on average since the coronavirus lockdown regime was introduced, bike theft has risen dramatically compared to this time last year

Insurer Admiral has reported a 46% increase in the number of bicycle theft claims made over the last seven weeks, while Brits have been enduring the nation-wide Covid-19 lockdown, compared to the same period in 2019.

Admiral’s claims data, recorded between 23 March and 10 May 2020, showed that 37% of the insurer’s theft claims related to stolen pedal bikes, compared to just 12% in 2019.

David Fowkes, head of household underwriting at Admiral, believes this is due to the greater availability of bikes, as individuals strive to avoid public transport amid the coronavirus crisis, and the fact that thieves could be looking for goods stored outside to steal – these could potentially be an easier target considering most families are at home for the majority of the day to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

He said: “One of the effects of the lockdown has been so many more people buying bikes for exercise or just to get around. Several cycle retailers have reported that they’ve sold out of many models, and while this is good news for the nation’s fitness, our data suggests it’s also resulted in an increase in bicycle theft.

“We’ve seen a 46% increase in the number of bicycle theft claims over the last seven weeks compared with the same period in 2019. That’s incredible when you consider that overall theft claims have fallen during the lockdown as people have stayed at home, deterring burglars.

“Unfortunately, this probably means that thieves are looking for easier targets and the rise of budding cycling enthusiasts around the country might be the opportunity they’re looking for.

“Our data shows just how more common bike theft has been during the lockdown; in the last seven weeks, 37% of the theft claims we’ve received were for stolen pedal bikes, compared with just 12% last year.

“We’re warning all cyclists, whether they’ve been cycling for years or have just bought their first bike, to be vigilant, keep an eye out for thieves and step up their bike security. With people being encouraged to avoid public transport where they can as lockdown restrictions ease, we could see a second surge in bike purchases, and consequently, bike thefts.”

Fowkes added that policyholders should ensure that their bike is covered under their home insurance policy – at Admiral, any pedal bike worth less than £350 is automatically insured within its home insurance coverage, however many bikes cost more than this and may need be added to the policy as a specified item.