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How to solve bicycle theft in big cities?

Updated: May 6

We have the answer: With the connected bicycle!


Bicycle theft costs society hundreds of millions of euros every year. According to new research roughly 200´000 bicycles are stolen in the US per year and 90´000 in UK with a recovery rate of only 5%.


In our new and connected IoT world, solutions are starting to show positive effects focusing on prevention and tracking through connected e-bikes.


Many countries and cities in Europe have turned their roads into cyclist-friendly spaces and electric bikes have also been adopted in masse. In 2019, a record number of more than 420,000 new e-bikes were sold in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the popularity of e-bikes also has a downside. Due to their high price, they are a popular target for thieves. While the number of thefts of normal bicycles has decreased over the years, many more e-bikes are stolen. Here, too, another problem arises: When a person wants to protect himself from the financial damage of theft, he has to pay an insurance company, which can be costly depending on the country.


Beyond a preventive approach


In addition to petty or opportunistic theft, professional gangs take a large number of expensive bicycles from one country to another, i.e., usually when a high-end bicycle is stolen, its parts are sold in different countries or the bicycle is taken to other countries. Victims often only report the theft because they are required to do so by their insurer, while insurers are beginning to reconsider the viability of bicycle theft insurance.


There is another impact of bicycle theft: the emotional impact. Victims lose a symbolic object with which they have built a relationship in order to transport themselves more healthily in their daily lives, and many people invest large sums of money to optimize the functioning of their bicycle. After a theft, people are left with emotional responses of stress, and many of them then decide to buy much cheaper bicycles, a fact that also affects the industry.


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What to do


Local governments give bicyclists some partial solutions, such as investment in secure and monitored bike shelters, the use of decoy bikes, and an appeal to the public to use better quality or even multiple locks. But the researchers also see a crucial role for technical aids, such as tracking and tracing systems that make use of the IoT.


The value of IoT for theft prevention and the recovery of stolen e-bikes has already been amply demonstrated.


The most concrete benefit of connected bikes is the fact that they can be easily tracked when stolen. The IoT tracking solution allows users to report directly from the app at the touch of a button if their bike has been stolen or even moved. In some cities this is connected to security companies that immediately start working to locate the stolen bike. This drastically shortens the time between theft and location, which increases the recovery rate.


As a connected bicycle is easier to locate, this has a preventive effect, as the risk is significantly higher for the offender. Successfully locating a single stolen bicycle could jeopardize the thief's entire "business". Therefore, a visibly connected bicycle, e.g., with a sticker, will be less attractive to thieves.


In short, connected bicycles can be a crucial weapon in the battle against bicycle theft. At Extheria we are part of this change, offering IOT solutions to protect your goods and assets wherever they are. Do you have any questions? Please do not hesitate to contact us.



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