The cost of insurance claims for stolen e-bikes almost doubled in a year
Over a million dollars worth of bicycles have been stolen in New Zealand in the past 12 months. Photo / File
More than $ 1 million worth of bicycles have been stolen in New Zealand in the past year, and e-bike insurance claims have nearly doubled in value to $ 225,000 in 12 months.
Even though the number of stolen bike claims to AA Insurance has declined over the past 12 months, the cost has jumped as thieves increasingly target e-bikes valued between $ 1,500 and $ 10,000 each. .
Aucklander’s Olivia Yates electric bike was one of them.
She walked out of a show at the Civic Theater in the CBD on June 25 to find her helmet rolling back and forth on the ground and her e-bike nowhere to be found. She had only had it for about three months.
âI parked it in front of Burger Fuel for all to see. Yet even then it wasn’t safe,â she told the Herald.
“I kind of expected it. It wasn’t until later that the frustration and inconvenience set in. Part of me knew he would end up being robbed.”
Data shows that in the 12 months ending in June, AA Insurance processed nearly $ 225,000 in stolen electric bike claims, or about 21% of the total cost of stolen bike claims.
This is almost double the cost of the previous 12 months, when claims amounted to $ 116,000 of the total $ 850,000 in stolen bicycle claims.
Yates claimed about $ 4,000 for the bike and other stolen accessories.
She said electric bikes are getting easier to replace, but much harder to find than a car.
She now makes sure not to park her new electric bike on a public road, always takes her equipment with her and uses a more secure lock.
âA lot of bikes now sell a higher end lock as standard rather than just a chain. It has a thread that runs through the middle that can’t be cut,â Yates said.
Thieves are getting more and more brazen with their theft tactics.
In one incident, a couple had their electric bikes stolen from their closed apartment.
CCTV footage showed the thieves entered the property with a key card before escaping with the two bikes valued at nearly $ 8,000, AA said in a statement.
Another thief broke through the lock around an expensive mountain bike outside a municipal building using bolt cutters. The bicycle, helmet and accessories valued at nearly $ 13,500 were stolen.
Hybrid Bikes founder in Nelson, Frank Witowski, said he made it harder for thieves to buy a charger for his bikes online. People are now required to provide proof of purchase.
âPeople like me who own a brand, they might make it harder to target thieves.
“We’ve had a lot of phone calls from people asking for the part that you normally can’t get when you steal a bike, charger.”
AA said nearly 85% of e-bikes are replaced after being stolen – compared to 45% of regular bikes – making them an attractive target for thieves.
AA said fewer people intended to drive since the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, and want to take other modes of transportation such as e-bikes, bicycles, scooters and electric scooters – almost one in five people.
AA Tips for Keeping Bicycles or E-Bikes Safe:
To deter would-be thieves, be sure to choose a well-lit, high-traffic area in which to leave your bike. If possible, bring your bike with you and lock it.
Use a cable lock to secure the front wheel to your frame, then securely lock the frame to the bike park or something stronger than your bike and lock, with a good quality d-lock or sturdy chain lock – the the best you can afford. It is not enough to block the wheels. The more locks, the better, as it will take longer for a thief to open them and risk destroying the bike in the process. This decreases the value of the bike and with it their interest.
For e-bikes, lock individual parts, such as the battery, to the bike itself.
Don’t always leave your bike in one spot, as this allows potential thieves to study your model and locking system.
For an added deterrent, install a GPS tracking device, or at least a sticker suggesting you have one.
Before leaving your bike, remove accessories such as lights, GPS, and cameras from the bike and take them with you.
Register your bike at www.snap.org.nz, a New Zealand police asset registration system called SNAP, which automatically alerts police if they find a stolen bike.