Bicycle safety and security

As in any other part of the country, North Yorkshire and the City of York suffer from bicycle theft - both from street locations and from houses and out-buildings.


We work hard with agencies and the public to reduce bicycle crime and to promote security. This includes talking to schools, workforces and individuals to ensure cycle users understand the principals of prevention and how to report a theft if one occurs.

From analysing details of reported incidents, the main area of concern is how users either leave cycles unlocked or use inadequate locks. The cycles are also left in inappropriate areas such as unlit streets, out of sight, around the corners of buildings or simply dumped on a pavement. These are all places criminals look for and know about.

Basic safety advice

Basic security advice

  • When buying a bike, budget for security.
  • If you are not riding your bike - Lock it -
    - Fasten it (through the frame) to something solid.
    - If you have to lock your bike in a public place, find somewhere, where there is good natural surveillance. (where there are lots of people to keep an eye on it. Thieves don't like being watched)
    - If possible, keep your bike locked up in a locked shed.
    - Never leave your bike unlocked and unattended.
  • Take out insurance, either by extending your home contents insurance or through a separate policy. Cycling organisations and bike shops may offer specialist cover. Do this at the time of purchasing the bike, otherwise you may not get around to it.
  • Record and register your bike.
    - Register your bicycle model, make and frame number. This assists the police in returning recovered bikes to their rightful owners. Contact your local police station for further advice.
    - Take a clear, colour photograph of your bike and make a written record of its description, including any unique features, so that you can report it accurately if stolen.
  • Security mark the bicycle. A number of proprietary marking and tagging systems are available. To be effective a security marking must:
    - be clearly visible - advertise that the bike is security marked or tagged. For example, attaching a clearly visible label is a simple option.
    - be secure - for example, by using a tamper-resistant label, etching, etc, or an inaccessible electronic device.
    - be placed in at least two separate locations, preferably on or in the frame. At least one of these locations should not be clearly visible.
    - give clear information via the visible mark (label, etching, etc) that will quickly allow police to identify the method of security marking or tagging (and where applicable the registration company), and through this identify the owner. Crime Prevention Officers or security marking companies can advise if you are not sure what information to include.

York bike safety courses 2016

York Learning at City of York Council are offering a number of bike safety courses in 2016, covering essential checks and repairs, and maintenance. Find out more.

Secure cycle parking

There are designated areas within the towns and cities of North Yorkshire which offer secure parking for cycles. These can be found at train stations, multi-storey car parks and in main shopping areas.

A number of local authorities publish details of cycle lockers and other forms of secure parking, including Harrogate Borough Council.


There are many different products on the market and price is not necessarily a reliable indicator of quality. The most important factor is how long the product can resist attack.

To guard against the opportunist thief you need a product that has resisted attack for one minute. To guard against the determined thief you need a product that has resisted attack for three minutes. To guard against the dedicated thief you need a product that has resisted attack for five minutes.

Hardened steel D-shaped locks are recommended as the minimum standard. It is worth spending proportionately more on a lock for a more expensive bike.

The Cycle Passport

The Cycle Passport is designed for the cycle owner to record all aspects of the bike and also allows a photo to be attached. This is then stored in a safe place and should only be used in case the cycle is stolen. It will help the officer to gain a full description and help identify the cycle if recovered. The information can also be passed on to local cycle stores in case the offender tries to sell on the bike.

pdf icon Download your Cycle Passport now. [261kb]

Know your bike

Just in case the worst does happen, make sure you are able to describe your bike properly to police.

Further information

You can get more advice on keeping your bicycle safe from Immobilise and the Home Office, or from Safer York Partnership's Operation Spoke.

Cycling safety

Here are out top ten tips on keeping safe whilst cycling.

  • Always wear a cycling helmet.
  • Keep your bike in good working order. Repairs are best done at home rather than on the road.
  • Always look like you know where you are going.
  • Dress to be seen and to be safe. Remember to wear a safety helmet.
  • Make sure your lights are in good working order and that your reflectors and lights are clean.
  • Mirrors can be helpful and a loud bell or horn is great in emergencies.
  • Obey the rules of the road and make sure you are aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid short-cuts even if you are in a hurry. Never cycle anywhere that you would not be comfortable walking.
  • Don't be afraid to pedal hard out of or around potential trouble.
  • When you leave your bike, secure it (through the frame) to something substantial where it can be seen by others.

enjoy your ride

We have seen a spate of cyclist accidents in the Dales, one of these cyclists has sustained life-changing disabling injuries after a collision with a car.

  • Dales roads can be quiet - but still approach every bend as if there is a car about to come around the corner, and KEEP LEFT.
  • Check the condition of your brakes - they need to be well maintained to bring you to a complete stop on a steep hill at speed. Your life may depend on them.
  • Know your limits and don't ride beyond your capability - some of the descents are sustained, can suddenly become narrow, and bends can unexpectedly tighten up putting you onto the wrong side of the road.
  • Slow down if you can't see right through the corner.
  • Many corners are covered with loose grit where you can lose control, risking road rash if you fall off, collisions with stone walls or other traffic.
  • When riding, allow following traffic to pass you at suitable points - help avoid a build-up of driver frustration which may lead to impatient overtaking putting you at risk.
  • Do not leave gel wrappers along the road.
  • Wear a helmet for safety, and carry enough kit to help you deal with changing weather.
  • Keep your bike, vehicle and belongings secure at all times - please don't make it easy for opportunistic criminals.

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