In the U.S., a motorcycle is stolen every 7.5 minutes. In 2005, 70,613 bikes were stolen, according to figures released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. In financial terms, motorcycle owners and insurance companies burdened a loss of $434 million in stolen motorcycles and components.
Just as you take loss prevention precautions in your store, it is critical that riders take action to ensure the security of their two-wheeled investments. “You have put more money into your bike than your insurance company will pay back,” Kryptonite’s marketing manager Donna Tucci reminds riders. “A lot of people put more into their motorcycle like custom pieces, chrome, paint jobs and accessories that insurance does not pay for. There’s also the sentimental value that is priceless.”
In addition to coaching your customers on a common sense approach to bike security, there’s a growing range of theft-prevention products that you should be stocking in your store.
If your customer’s heard the staggering theft stats we’ve shared with you, they’re sure to crave a little extra protection. There are some simple steps you can outline to help them increase their level of vigilance without spending a dime.
• Remind riders to lock their ignitions. A high number of thefts occur when a bike’s ignition has been turned off, but has not been locked.
• While we all want to show off our ride, leaving it parked in the driveway, even in daylight hours, may make a bike a target for theft. Riders should store their bikes in a locked garage whenever possible.
• For over-nighters and for those who don’t have the luxury of indoor parking, recommend that they park their bike in a well-lit area and, if possible, position it in the line of sight of a motel’s security camera or the local neighborhood watch sign.
• Riders should keep registration and insurance information on their person when riding, but should never leave them or the unit’s title in saddlebags when away from the bike.
• Keep a digital photo file for each of your customers recording the unit and any aftermarket add-ons, making the bike easier to recover should a theft occur.
While these precautions can help minimize risks, an unprotected bike is a much easier target than a unit that is secured with a lock. “The thief is always going to take the path of least resistance,” says Tucci. “An ignition lock doesn’t prevent roll away and lift away theft.”
Riders should take care to lock their bike to a substantial immovable object to maximize security. There are a ton of lock options available for you to stock in your store. Know the level of theft in your area and familiarize yourself with the differing levels of protection riders in your area will need.
Kryptonite offers a wide range of locks to fit riders’ needs including the Evolution Series 4 seen here. The Evolution scores a nine on the company’s 12-point security scale, making it fit for high risk areas. The 14mm hardened MAX-Performance steel shackle resists cutting and leverage attacks, and the double deadbolt locking mechanism has extensive holding power. It also gets a reinforced anti-drill/pull cylinder protection system. Kryptonite also offers a Key Safe program that let’s riders register their locks. That way if they lose their keys, they can quickly and easily get replacements. It’s a great idea to register them at your store before they walk out your door.
$750 may sound like quite the premium price, but Tucci assures dealers that they are delivering a premium product. “Kryptonite is the innovator of the motorcycle security industry, we created it, and we have been a leader in the segment for 30-plus years.”
The folks over at the Trimax Corporation have also got a lock on the motorcycle security market. They’ve recently introduced the TCL75 and TCL65 models (see here top right) that provide users with more security by immobilizing and chocking their bikes and trailers. The exclusive patent-pending chocking and locking design has a unique adjusting clamp with a built-in chock that allows the locking device to fit most tire applications. “The TCL75 and TCL65 Deluxe Chock Lock is the perfect choice for anyone looking for extra security with added flexibility and versatility,” says Philip Wyers, president of the Trimax Corporation. “We’re excited to hit the market with a one-of-a-kind, innovative product that will provide our customers with a secure peace of mind.”
There’s nothing like the blaring klaxon of an alarm to draw some attention, and while most of us see their screams as a nuisance, the attention they draw can combat crime. Today’s alarms offer a lot more than blaring decibels. The newest innovation from Scorpio, the SR-i900R, integrates two-way FM communication with the convenience of radio frequency identification technology (RFID). The system detects when the remote transceiver is nearby and will communicate via RFID to automatically arm or disarm the system. It monitors the motorcycle’s battery condition and warns riders if there is a problem. The SR-i900R also offers a built-in Dual Axis Accelerometer for detecting impact or inclination, a hermetically sealed module that meets OEM standards, and an integrated 120dB siren. Riders can also opt for a programmable perimeter sensor with “Warn Away” to detect motion around the bike, an internal back-up battery to ensure operation of the siren and paging in case wires are cut or otherwise circumvented, and anti-hijack/ ignition, which disables the unit to prevent hotwiring or remotely disabling the bike in case of a hijack situation.
We also really like the newest from Bully, which integrates a lock and an alarm. The Bully Alarm Lock with Pager is not only a visual theft deterrent, but it will actually page the rider if someone tries to cut the hoop. It comes with its own long-range pager and is a real value at just $149.95.
While all of these efforts will minimize the risk of theft, top-notch thieves are always working to crack even the best lines of security. “The professional thief is going to take your motorcycle if they want it,” warns LoJack senior director of corporate communications Paul McMahon. “It’s important to be able to retrieve it.”
Chances are you’ve heard of LoJack — the company is in the news on nearly a monthly basis being hailed by local municipalities as helping them retrieve stolen goods. One key benefit to the LoJack recovery system is that the product is directly integrated with police tracking computers that are installed in police vehicles, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The product is based on LoJack’s radio frequency technology, which is effective even if the bike is in a garage, steel container or surrounded by dense foliage. We can’t show you LoJack in the pages of MPN, because it’s covert — thieves don’t know it’s there, that’s what makes it so effective. “As a bike owner and former police officer, I can speak on multiple levels about the enormity of the problem of motorcycle theft,” says D.J. Thompson, LoJack law enforcement liaison. “It’s a very serious problem that’s growing rapidly. To keep your bike safe, you need more than just theft deterrents — you need something that ensures you’ll get your bike back if it is stolen — and that’s LoJack For Motorcycles. In my opinion, it’s the only way to truly protect your bike.”
Insurance companies tend to agree with Thompson and are encouraging riders to opt for the service by providing them with policy discounts and/or waivers of deductibles for motorcycle owners who purchase LoJack For Motorcycles. Specifically, LoJack has partnered with GEICO, Progressive, Foremost Insurance Group and Rider Insurance. “We’re pleased to establish and broaden these important relationships as they benefit both consumers who can protect their valuable bikes from theft and insurance companies that can help reduce the costs associated with theft,” says Ronald V. Waters, LoJack’s president and COO. “With motorcycle theft rates rising over the last five years and riding becoming increasingly popular, it is more critical than ever that bike owners do everything possible to protect their motorcycles from theft. These deductible waivers and discounts make it that much more attractive to arm motorcycles with LoJack’s proven recovery system.”
If you help your customer implement a combination of these security precautions, you can substantially decrease the chance of theft and increase the chances of recovery. Your dealership can also act as one last line of defense. You know that digital picture file I asked you to start with an updated photo of your customer’s bike and all of its upgrades? Encourage riders to report stolen bikes to you right after they call the cops. You can create a missing bike report and post it on your store’s current events board creating a whole community of watchdogs. That missing bike poster will also work to help you market security products in your store, because most riders aren’t thinking about theft until it’s too late. It’s up to you to give them the tools to take their bike out of crime’s way.