Square One: Bike Thefts Rise in Cities Across Canada

August 11, 2016

The total number of bike thefts in six major cities across Canada increased 31 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to home insurer Square One.

Edmonton had the greatest year-over-year increase in bike theft, with thefts more than doubling. Bucking the trend, bike theft in Montreal dropped by nearly eight percent year-over-year. Figures for each of the cities surveyed are provided below.

Reported bike thefts per Canadian city (CNW Group/Square One Insurance Services Inc.)
Reported bike thefts per Canadian city (CNW Group/Square One Insurance Services Inc.)

More important than the absolute number of bike thefts is the per capita occurrence of bike thefts, or the number of thefts occurring per 100,000 residents. Vancouver continues to experience the highest rate of bike thefts at 513 thefts per capita. By comparison, Montreal has the lowest rate of bike thefts at 111 thefts per capita. Statistics for other major Canadian cities is shown below.

Bike theft is common and rising in most major Canadian cities because the crime can be committed in a short period of time, reducing the risk for the thief. In addition, bicycles are easy to transport and can be sold to unknowing vendors or individuals in the same day.

Edward Collins, a Vancouver resident, fell victim to bike theft and vandalism in January when both his and his wife’s bicycles were stolen from their apartment locked storage unit.

“The thief had somehow ripped the metal bracket off the wall and then proceeded to vandalize my bike and steal the wheels and some other things off it,” says Collins. “I am not sure why he didn’t just take the whole bike, because he left the frame there all bent and buckled.”

Collins’ bicycle cost nearly $2,500, but meant much more than that to him.

“My bike was made for me by a close friend,” says Collins. “It’s a tough emotional impact because of what it meant to me; I saved up for so long to buy that bike but now it’s just gone. I also no longer had the option to ride to work.”

Although his bicycle was destroyed, Collins was able to purchase a new bike after he submitted an insurance claim through his home insurance provider.

“Consistent with what most police departments across Canada are reporting, we are seeing an increasing number of stolen bicycle claims,” says Daniel Mirkovic, president at Square One Insurance. “We predict the rate of stolen bicycles will continue to increase as bicycle lanes become more popular and more bikes are on the road.”

Bike thefts generally peak during the months of August and September, so Canadians are urged to take necessary precautions to avoid falling victim to bike thieves.

On average, bicycles are returned to their rightful owner less than 13 percent of the time. Most home insurance providers automatically include $1,000 of protection for bicycles. For bicycles over that amount, you must insure them separately. Others, like Square One, let you decide how much coverage you need for bicycles and only require that you insure them separately if their value is over $3,000.

Source: Square One

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