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Stealing a bicycle is pretty much the perfect crime; most are easy to pinch, difficult to trace and a breeze to sell on. Datatag UV etching for bicycles can’t prevent cycle crime, but it does a good job of creating a headache for thieves.

Professional thieves like to steal property that’s difficult to trace and easy to dispose of - it’s the reason that bicycle theft is rife in urban areas. Datatag makes a bicycle much easier to identify, thereby reducing its desirability to thieves. Crucially, the system also makes it easier for the police to secure a conviction - both at the roadside and once a bike has been stripped into parts.

How does it work?

The Datatag UV Stealth PRO system includes a four etches to permanently mark your frame and forks and a series of micro dots to mark components.

The etches feature a unique code that is visible only when illuminated by a UV torch of the kind carried as standard by British police. The micro dots also include the code and can be glued to every valuable component using a clear, UV glue.

The great advantage of the Datatag system over conventional registration scheme is that the police can check a bicycle at the roadside in seconds. Furthermore, if a person is found in possession of a large number of bicycle parts and the circumstances are suspicious, at present there is little way of determining if they are stolen goods let alone securing a convection. UV and micro dot technology enable the police to bring a prosecution and stolen bicycles and parts to be reunited with their owners.

UV etching is of particular use to owners of carbon frames because these are often sold with a frame number sticker, which are easy to remove by thieves.

Protect yourself from bicycle cannibals

Thieves who strip handlebars, saddles and wheels can be described as bike cannibals. As cycle locks have become more robust, this type of thief has taken to pinching shifters, handlebars and even saddles before selling them through online auction sites.

The trouble is, it’s hardly practicable or desirable to remove valuable parts from your bike. The prudent approach is to get cycle insurance from a provider that protects against the theft of parts, including quick release saddles and wheels. ETA cycle insurance covers against the theft of quick release parts as standard and does not require that they be secured - as long as the frame of the bike is locked then all parts are covered.

  • Invest as much as you can afford in your lock and learn to use it properly - insurers specify that it needs to secure the bike frame for good reason. Don’t worry too much about getting the lock around the wheels or other bike parts as a good insurance policy will cover them against theft whether they are locked or not
  • Bike thieves might have the equipment to cut through padlocks and silently remove shed door hinges, but they are unlikely to expect to encounter an alarm One of the most simple and cost effective ways of scaring away bike thieves is to fit a shop bell to the inside of your shed or on the back of the door that leads to your side return if that’s where you store your bike. Alternatively, and for a more high-tech approach, a battery-powered motion sensor alarm can be situated to cover the front door, back door, garage, shed or outbuildings and costs from less than £5 on eBay
  • Motion-activated security lights are cheap and easy to install and thieves don’t like them at all
  • Make life difficult for thieves - use a UV etching system to help end the trade in stolen bicycle parts

Environmentally friendly cycle insurance

On the face of it, one cycle insurance policy is much like another, but the devil is the detail. How much excess you will be charged is just one of the things that varies wildly between providers. Another is so called ‘new-for-old’ replacement - many insurers use this term, but if your bicycle is more than a few years old, devalue it severely. This means you are left out of pocket when you come to replace it. Read our insider guide to cycle insurance.

We cover the theft of bicycle parts (including quick release wheels and saddles) as standard and with a low standard excess of 5% (minimum £25). We offer a new-for-old for life - however old the bike, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model. Furthermore, every cycle insurance policy you buy from us helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future.

For 25 years we have been providing straightforward, affordable bicycle insurance. Whether you use your bike to commute, shop, race or amble in the park, ETA Cycle Insurance has you covered. We never devalue bikes no matter their age, allow you to buy your replacement bike wherever you like, replace stolen quick release components and handle claims in-house.

The Good Shopping Guide voted us Britain’s most ethical insurance company 2015.

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