Figures released by the Government today, after a question from Conservative Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson MP, show that on average 52 bikes every day are stolen in London. The full Government answer can be found on Hansard here, with a break-down by London borough.
LondonUnlocked suspects that these figures do not even touch the true level of bike theft in our capital. If people do not register their bikes as stolen, or if the figures were not properly collated between boroughs, these figures will be off the mark. The Governments own figures suggest that only 36% of bike related crimes are reported to the police. Indeed, if you look at the Government's laughable attempts to count the homeless, these figures really must be taken with a pinch of salt.
Nonetheless, these figures raise an important point - what is the Mayor doing to cut down on bike theft? To stop unnecessary and polluting car journeys there must be the incentive to travel by another form of transport. With the costs of a new bike averaging £400 there is a major disincentive for someone to cycle from place to place if 30% of the bikes on the road are stolen every year. When one London borough is offering an incentive of £100 towards a bike if you quit driving it is necessary for the same deterrent and protection from theft afforded to cars to be offered to the alternative.
This is a topic which needs serious consideration. Given the successes of the Mayor's recent cycling schemes in the capital it only makes sense for there to be a joined-up policy which covers policing, transport planning, and borough parking provisions.