Transport for London (TfL) has rolled out a new scheme to crack down on bike theft in London, as a surge in cycling throughout the capital has coincided with a rise in thefts.
TfL will today launch a partnership with British cycling retailer Halfords to encourage Londoners to safely and securely lock up their bikes and reduce the risk of theft.
From today, everyone who completes TfL’s online Cycle Skills course will receive a 15 per cent discount on Halfords’ own brand locks, lights and helmets.
The transport body is also urging cyclists to register their bikes online, after an Opinium survey found that almost half of London bike owners have not done so.
It comes as London has seen a surge in cycling during the pandemic, with popular routes notching a 200 per cent increase in cycle trips as the public continues to avoid public transport.
Halfords has reported a 60 per cent year-on-year increase in sales of new bikes since the start of the coronavirus crisis, while Santander Cycles reported a 20 per cent hike in customers.
However, the fresh cycling popularity has also led to a spike in bike thefts. Between April and September this year, reports of bike theft almost trebled, with 3,079 cycles reported stolen in September — up from 2,004 in September 2019.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m determined to do all I can to ensure a green recovery for our city by building on Londoners’ record-breaking demand for cycling over the past few months.
“I know how distressing it can be when a bike is stolen. As well as doing all we can to address the scourge of bike theft, I urge Londoners to register their bike and invest in a good quality lock to minimise the risk of theft.”
He added: “I continue to work closely with Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Service to help ensure the risk of crime doesn’t deter people from cycling.”
Gary Taylor, acting chief superintendent from the Metropolitan Police’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “Frustratingly, bicycles still remain a popular target for opportunistic thieves and the Met is committed to working closely with TfL to educate Londoners about the risks and the best measures we can take to prevent crime.
“This includes encouraging cyclists to use designated cycle parking spaces, investing in good quality locks and registering your bike with Bike Register. We welcome this initiative and look forward to continue working closely to improve cycle security and safety throughout the capital.”