Bicycle theft - how to avoid the pitfalls?
Unfortunately, bicycle theft is a common occurrence in Holland. Every year, hundreds of thousands of bicycles are stolen. Here are some top tips from the Dutch police how you can avoid your bike from going missing. And just to be on the safe side, you might want to check whether your insurance covers your bike.
Top tips from the police for preventing bicycle theft
- Lock your bicycle at all times
- Use certified locks
- Use at least 2 locks and secure your bicycle to a solid object
- Choose a safe location
- Never leave any valuables on your bicycle
Lock your bicycle at all times
Whether you’re just popping into a shop or enjoying refreshments on a terrace, leaving your bicycle unlocked is never an option. Anybody might grab your bike and cycle off and rest assured: somebody will.
Use certified locks
Some locks can be broken open in seconds with just a screwdriver. Make sure you use certified thief-proof locks. These take longer to break open. Are they not available at home? All bicycle shops in Holland sell them. They don’t come cheap, but it’s worth the investment.
Use at least 2 locks and secure your bike to a solid object
Having more than one lock to open will discourage any potential bike thief. A second chain or cable lock will also allow you to secure your bike frame to a solid object, such as a bike rack or a lamp post, so nobody can just lift up your bicycle and walk off.
Chain your bicycle frame to a solid object. Never chain just your front wheel to something - it’s fairly easy to unscrew the front wheel and take away the rest of your bicycle.
Thieves use heavy tools to cut through locks. The higher you secure your lock, the better. Keeping your lock off the ground makes it harder to cut it open, as it makes it impossible to use the ground for leverage.
Choose a safe location
You’ll have to use your common sense on this one. Look carefully where you park your bicycle: vandalised bikes and broken locks are never a good sign. Train stations and places where thieves are not likely to be disturbed are also not the best places to leave your bike. In big cities bicycle theft is more common than in the country, so be extra careful.
In city centres and at most (larger) train stations there are guarded bike parking facilities where you can leave your bike for a small fee. Read more on: Bicycle parking.
Never leave any valuables on your bicycle
It's pretty obvious that leaving valuables, such as your money and passport or your GPS on your bike, is never going to be a good idea. But also your water bottle, bicycle pump and even your bicycle bags are tempting objects for thieves. Technically they might not be classed as valuables, but it's a big nuisance if these essentials go missing.
If you’re coming to Holland for a holiday, do check whether your travel insurance covers not only your luggage, but also your bike. If your bike does get stolen, you need to report this to the police. Chances that your bicycle will be found are low, but it is necessary for insurance purposes.
If you’re an expat living in Holland, you might want to get a separate insurance for your bike. As a rule, Dutch travel insurances have limited coverage for bicycles.