Effective motorcycle safety
In general, motorcycle owners put more love and care in their machines.
than car or truck owners. That “love and care” translates directly into
hundreds of dollars spent on customizations and maintenance. Unfortunately, between
Each year between 30,000 and 50,000 bicycles are stolen in the United States alone (according to
robbery rates from 2000 to 2005). And to think, many of these robberies could have
it has been prevented with a little common sense and security.
Common sense This should go without saying, but don’t leave the keys in
The ignition or the engine running when you’re not on the bike! Never leave your
bike in a dimly lit and hard-to-see location. Put the bike in your closed garage when
they are home.
Locks and chains One item that every bicycle owner should buy is a
U-lock or chain that anyone can easily detect, day or night. It is a requirement-
have, unless it is so large that it is impossible to carry it with you. Simply wrapping
your chain through one wheel and your bike frame is not enough, you have to
Mount the bike on a sturdy pole or bracket mounted on concrete. If the bike is not
mounted on a stationary object, a thief could simply pack his bike into a truck and
Electronic alarms Most modern bikes (larger than a scooter) have some
form of factory immobilization that prevents accidental theft, but such immobilizers
It alone won’t stop a determined thief. Therefore, it is better to consider an electronic
security system, often called an “alarm”. A good alarm system does more than
make noise, it has a circuit that prevents false shots, adds secondary points of
immobilization, and a loud siren sounds only when a threat to your bike is real.
Some have digital tilt sensors, crash sensors, and other sensors that activate the system.
in action. An excellent electronic alarm from Japan is the CYCLONE 866F:
http://www.kiramek.com. The Japanese manufacturer of Cyclone also offers a
location system that alerts you instantly when a threat occurs. The system is also
It claims to be very low power consumption, eliminating the worry of battery draining.
Bi-directional location alarms During the last 3 years, some electronic alarms
They have started to include two-way pagers. These systems allow you to control the
alarm and receive threat notification. Unfortunately, the battery life of many
These two-way pagers are limited to about 1 month, and pagers
they can be easily broken with a simple drop from your trouser pocket. Bidirectional
The systems can also drain a bike’s battery quickly unless you ride it daily. Even so, for
For some people, the convenience aspect may outweigh the negatives of some bikes.
Monitoring systems Starting in 2005, some companies have launched GPS
Bicycle tracking systems that allow a stolen bicycle to be traced. While crawling
systems have merits over other types of security, there are three important
Disadvantages to be aware of: (1) depletion of bicycle battery, (2) service area
(follow-up) coverage and (3) monthly cost.
Most tracking systems require you to pay not only for the product itself, but also
each and every month to keep the “service contract” alive. The long-term cost of
Tracking systems can leave a bad taste in the mouth of the average bike owner.
Think about how much you pay per month (phone bill, mobile phone,
Internet etc) and you can see why adding another subscription is expensive
LoJack is a manufacturer of tracking systems that does not charge monthly fees,
but their least expensive bike system costs $ 595 and traceability is limited to
coverage area of wireless towers installed by LoJack and some police stations. Ounce
your “protected” LoJack vehicle leaves the coverage area, is off the map and is not
traceable. Of course, LoJack will refund the price of the product, but that refund
it does not replace your bike. That rebate also doesn’t cover any special installation fees.
you could have paid or any insurance deductible you might have.
conclusion Use a layered approach to security. Common sense dictates
that you put your bike in a place that is not an obvious target for thieves. You
then you need a chain or U-lock to prevent casual theft. And lastly, even if your bike
has a factory immobilizer, the addition of an electronic alarm or a tracking system
Act as a major deterrent to theft.