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Protect your bike

Each year, over 8,000 motorcycles are stolen in Australia. Owners of on and off-road motorbikes, all terrain vehicles, scooters and mini bikes are falling victim to the crime every day. Motorcycles are particularly difficult to protect due to their ease of portability, the high demand for parts and poor identification. Explore this page to find out where motorcycle theft is occurring and what you can do to reduce your risk.

The facts

  • Despite accounting for just 4 per cent of registrations, motorcycle thefts now amount to 1 in 6 of all stolen vehicles in Australia.
  • Newer model motorcycles are more often the target of theft with 1 in 4 stolen less than four years of age.
  • Sales of on-road motorcycles have been steadily increasing over the last five years, where sales of scooters and off-road bikes have fallen. Despite this scooters make up the highest proportion of thefts, followed by off-road dirt bikes.
  • Motorcycles with an engine capacity of 50cc or less (such as scooters and mini bikes) are the top theft target, closely followed by motorcycles with an engine capacity of between 201 and 250 cc.
  • 2 in 3 motorcycles are stolen from the home.
  • 1 in 6 motorcycle theft victims have previously been a victim of theft.
  • Over half of motorcycles stolen are not recovered.

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What can you do?

Park wisely
  • When commuting, park in well lit areas and use designated motorcycle parking areas and anchorage points where possible.
  • Research shows that 2 in 3 motorcycles are stolen from residential locations. When at home, try to park behind lockable gates or in a locked garage and, importantly, secure your bike by locking it to an immovable object or anchorage.
  • Use a motorcycle cover to conceal your bike – few will risk blind theft.

Secure your bike

  • Make sure your motorcycle is insured.
  • Always secure your motorcycle using the steering lock.
  • Also use a manual locking device such as a disc lock, U-Lock or chain and padlock. A high tensile chain and matching security lock through the rear wheel or frame of the bike and secured to railings or a convenient lamp post will deter an opportunistic thief.
  • Invest in a good alarm to go with your lock – don’t let your bike go quietly.
  • Consider installing an engine immobiliser to ensure the bike cannot be driven away.
  • Be sure to record the motorcycle’s VIN - a 17 digit number that uniquely identifies that bike – so that if your bike does happen to be stolen, you can report it to police. Doing so you will increase the chances of your motorcycle being recovered in the case of it being stolen.

Purchase smartly
  • Be sure to consider security features when purchasing your motorcycle. Ask your dealer what sort of security the manufacturer has adopted to help you make an informed decision. The NMVTRC supports the application of VIN-based microdots at manufacture. Yamaha and KTM motorcycles are both adopters of this technology.
  • If buying from a private seller conduct a PPSR check to ensure the vehicle is not under finance, or listed as stolen or written-off. Visit ppsr.gov.au for more information.



What's your theft risk?

See which areas are commonly targeted using our interactive map of motorcycle theft suburb clusters across Australia.

Open Motorcycle cluster map JPG

Off-road motorcycles

Over 50 per cent of total motorcycle sales are of off-road bikes, and less than half of these bikes are registered. This makes theft of off-road motorbikes particularly problematic as they are not affected by the registration inspection practices that have been developed for registered vehicles. However, there are still precautions you can take to reduce your risk of theft and improve the chances of your bike being recovered:
  • Where possible, store the bike in a locked garage or behind lockable gates.
  • Most will still have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)—a 17 digit number that uniquely identifies that bike. The VIN is usually located on the frame and is also recorded on the ‘contract of sale’ paperwork you will receive upon purchasing the motorcycle. It is important to record the VIN and keep it in a safe place so you can include it any reported theft to police - doing so you will increase the chances of your motorcycle being recovered. When purchasing a motorcycle second-hand be sure to find out the VIN from the owner if you cannot locate it on the bike.

Reports and useful links

Motorcycle security: Survey of theft victims in South Australia (December 2015)
This report summarises a motorcycle theft victim survey that assessed owner awareness of theft issues, the use of security practises and security behaviour changes after theft.

Motorcycle Summit Paper (August 2008)
In 2008 the NMVTRC hosted a national motorcycle theft summit in response to rising motorcycle theft numbers and an increased proportion of total thefts. The event brought together key stakeholder and agency groups to discuss a range of strategies, with the intention of developing a pragmatic and workable action plan to combat motorcycle theft.

More information:

Spokes - Motorcycle safety information.
IAG Motorcycle Research - Research into the factors that affect the risks associated with motorcycle insurance.