DES PLAINES, Ill., August 31, 2020 — Millions of people will take to the road over the Labor Day weekend, by jet, train, car, and motorcycle. If you are one of the tens of thousands of motorcyclists taking advantage of the great riding weather, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) urges you to protect your motorcycle from theft.
Nearly 41,000 motorcycles were stolen in 2019, according to a new report by NICB, with most thefts occurring in warm-weather states and in the warm-weather months of July, August and September.
Motorcycle thefts have fallen 12 percent since 2016. Reported thefts totaled 46,467 in 2016, falling to 44,268 in 2017, 41,674 in 2018, and 40,380 in 2019. California was the top-ranked state with the most reported motorcycle thefts with 6,913, followed by Florida with 4,085 thefts, and Texas with 3,165 thefts.
The top five most stolen motorcycle brands include Honda (8,122), Yamaha (6,495), Harley Davidson (4,737), Suzuki (4,686), and Kawasaki (4,641).
On the flip side of motorcycle thefts is the high rate of theft recoveries. Of the 40,830 motorcycles stolen in 2019, 18,857 had been recovered, a recovery rate of 46 percent.
While motorcycle thefts are on the decline, owners must remain vigilant and take steps to prevent their motorbikes from being stolen. The NICB recommends that owners:
- Purchase motorcycles from reputable manufacturers or dealers. When purchasing from a private party, avoid custom or “assembled vehicle.”
- Take the motorcycle to a local dealership for inspection before purchasing.
- When purchasing a motorcycle from a private party, consider investing in a vehicle history report. Also, go to your local law enforcement station to make the transaction. Many law enforcement agencies have "safe areas" to complete purchases between private parties.
- When selling your bike, don’t turn over the title until the funds (check or money order) have cleared the bank.
- Use common sense; park in well-lit areas, lock your ignition, and remove your keys.
- Remove the key and lock your motorcycle even if stored in a garage. You may want to invest in additional aftermarket lock(s) and even a theft-deterrent system with tracking capabilities (e.g. GPS) for your motorcycle.
- Don’t store your title in your motorcycle’s storage compartment.
- Place unique markings on your motorcycle and take photos of them. If your bike is stolen, you can use these markings to identify your property.
Most motorcycle thefts occurred in August (4,642) and the fewest in February (1,972), which continues to reflect a weather-influenced pattern that is consistent with previous years.