How I Lost my BMW Motorcycle
I’ve been riding motorbikes almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. My father, god rest his soul, was a keen motorcyclist and my grandfather was a despatch rider in World War II. So you could say that I have motorcycling in my DNA. I’ve owned a variety of motorbikes but last year I treated myself to a wonderful BMW 1200GS Rallye. I had to wait some time to get the bike after putting my name on a waiting list at my nearest BMW dealership, but it was worth the wait. What a motorbike! It was everything I’d ever wanted from a motorbike. Note that I am speaking in the past tense.
The reason I am using the past tense is that I no longer have this wonderful machine because it was stolen. Not only was it stolen but my insurance company have refused to pay up because, they say, I had not taken adequate security precautions. Here’s the story.
I live on the outskirts of a busy city in a building that is part of what was once a very active and busy ranch. Times have moved on and the ranch has stopped all agricultural work, which mainly involved livestock such as horses and cattle. I keep my motorbikes sheltered under what some refer to as a Linhay. This is an open fronted lean-to shed which doesn’t have lockable doors. My children call it the bike shed. My motorbikes are each individually secured with a chain and disc padlock which is threaded through the rear wheels, the motorbike frame and then through an immovable shackle that is attached to an ancient iron stake that is driven deep into the ground. Because my BMW was new and I wanted to keep it in pristine condition I would cover it with a motorbike cover, just to keep the dust off and prevent the sun from affecting the paint work. My motorbikes are stored at the rear of my property and can’t be seen from the main road.
Having grown up in the area where I live, my family and our affinity with motorbikes is well known. I am a member of two local motorcycling clubs. One is dedicated to road bikes and road riding and the other is all about off road. We meet several times a year, hold motorcycle shows and rallies and often engage in fundraising for local charities and good causes. So many people in the local area new about my wonderful new motorbike which was a subject of interest for many of my biker friends.
Around 6 weeks after I’d taken delivery of my wonderful new BMW I got up for work one morning to find that my lovely new motorbike had disappeared from the bike shed. My two other motorbikes (both road bikes) were still there and still tethered to the ground stake with their security chains. But my BWW was gone.
Looking at the security chain I could see that it had been cut. It had not been sawed through, it had been cropped with bolt-croppers which appeared to have easily cut through the steel chain links. The disc padlock was still in place and the severed chain was still attached to the ground stake shackle. It looked very much like the thieve new exactly what they wanted, had come equipped to overcome my motorbike security and had carried out the theft while me and my family were asleep.
I immediately called our local police force, who were very helpful and supportive. But they did tell me that there had been a spate of such robberies which appeared to be targeting very specific, high-end motorcycles which they suspected were being stolen either to fulfil specific orders or were being broken down and sold as parts. They told me that the security which I had in place at my home was not untypical of many bikers, but their advice was that it was not really adequate. And this was the response I received from my insurance company when I contacted them about the theft. Both the police and my insurance provider told me that the chain I had used to secure my bike to the ground stake was not of high enough quality and they listed a number of additional security precautions that they said I should have in place to deter and prevent theft.
Use a Protector Security Chain
Both the police and my insurance company told me that I should be using an approved protector security chain that is bolt-cropper proof. These chains use high-grade steel which undergoes specialist heat treatment ensuring that every chain link is consistently strong and resistant to cutting. They actually recommended using two of uncroppable these security chains, along with disc padlocks, which is expensive, but nowhere near as costly as losing an expensive motorbike without the recompense of insurance.
Additional Security Precautions
The also advised me that I should:
- Lock my motorbikes away in a secure garage or shed, rather than the open lean-to that I had been using.
- Setup motion-sensitive light and CCTV system that will record movement and activity around where I store my bikes.
- Invisibly mark my motorbikes and their key parts with an invisible marker and then put some stickers on the bikes to tell would-be thieves that the bike is market up as this acts as a serious deterrant.
- Consider installing a cut-out system on each of my bike with hidden switches that only I know about.
Find Our What Your Insurance Company Needs
This theft has been a costly lesson to me and my family. I failed to implement adequate security at my home and I am now paying the price. If I had bothered to ask my insurance company what I needed to do in order to be compliant with their security standards at least I would be able to make a valid claim, if the bike had been stolen. But the chances are that if I had followed the advice they and the police have provided since the theft then I would not be in this position now. So my recommendation to all my biker brothers and sisters is to be secure, find out what your insurance provider recommends and invest in the best security you possibly can. People will often scrimp on security, as I did. This is a false economy as the cost of failed security can be astronomical. Think about this when you are looking at your own security, your motorcycle locks, chains, ground anchors, garages, etc. Don’t be a fool like me and make certain that thieves cannot easily steal your treasured motorcycles.