motorcycle theft: facts, stats, and prevention

Consider this your official motorcycle theft awareness center. We'll bring you up to speed on crucial info — from the most-targeted models to savvy tips aimed at keeping unwanted mitts off your handlebars.

the unique issue of motorcycle theft

What exactly makes motorcycles so stealable? For one thing, compared to cars, motorcycles are lacking in anti-theft technology and thieves have a much easier time cracking their locks. Many models also feature remote-starting devices (now banned in some states, including California) that let bike-jackers turn on the ignition without even bothering with a lock.

Thieves also tend to be attracted to motorcycles because many are powerful, high-performance vehicles that offer both a thrill factor and profit from the sale of whole bikes or stripped parts. Many motorcyclists also add aftermarket enhancements to their rides, making them that much more valuable to thieves.

All of this adds up to one serious theft issue. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), over 45,000 motorcycles were stolen in 2013. And even though that's a 1.5 percent decline from the previous year, it's still more than enough to make you think twice before you leave your bike unattended.

motorcycle theft statistics

The more you know about the tendencies of bike thieves, the better you can stay one step ahead. Here are some key motorcycle theft facts, courtesy of the NICB.

5 most-stolen motorcycles

  1. Honda
  2. Yamaha
  3. Suzuki
  4. Kawasaki
  5. Harley-Davidson

Not surprisingly, the strongest bait for bike theft are powerful models with street-racing capabilities and profitable parts. Be particularly cautious if you ride a Honda — nearly 1 out of every 5 motorcycles stolen is a Honda.

3 months with highest theft risk

  1. July
  2. August
  3. September

3 months with lowest theft risk

  1. February
  2. December
  3. March

Just like you, bike thieves are most comfortable when it's warm out. Make extra sure to take security precautions once summer hits.

5 states with the most motorcycle thefts

  1. California
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. North Carolina
  5. Indiana

While part of this is only logical — of course states like California and Texas have lots of thefts; they have more registered motorcycles than most other states — again some of it can be chalked up to weather. There's more time for thieves to work in comfort in warm states.

preventing motorcycle theft

The stolen-motorcycle recovery rate is quite low: only about 30 percent, compared with roughly 60 percent for cars. So nipping theft in the bud is all the more crucial.

Here are some methods to try:

  • Lock your ignition (the majority of thefts happen when the ignition is turned off but not locked)
  • Lock your motorcycle to a stationary, immovable object
  • Lock the forks and disc brakes
  • Install a motorcycle alarm
  • If group riding, park bikes together
  • If garage parking, hide your bike behind a car or large object
  • Check on your motorcycle periodically
  • Make sure locks are wrapped as tightly as possible; slack provides room for thieves to chisel away
  • Install a hidden "kill" switch
  • If selling your motorcycle, don't let unknown buyers go for solo test rides (they may not come back)

theft protection through comprehensive coverage

Many motorcycle models are now worth well over $20,000. In other words, you don't want to worry about replacing it all on your own. And with comprehensive coverage, you don't have to.

Comprehensive can help pay to replace your motorcycle if it's stolen and help keep theft from wreaking havoc on your wallet. Grab a free motorcycle insurance quote today to start planning your coverage.

Most-stolen vehicles
Car drivers need insightful stats, too. Check out which 4-wheeled rides thieves like to target.

Motorcycle insurance 101
Find out which motorcycle coverages make sense for your cherished chopper.

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