NYPD arrested six people this week in connection with a string of motorcycle thefts across the New York City area. The thefts of high-end motorcycles occurred when they were hot-wired or, in some cases, simply loaded into the back of a van. The arrests were the result of a months-long investigation into the disappearance of 29 bikes across the city. The men were charged with grand larceny, conspiracy, and criminal possession of stolen property.
Whether you live in the New York or any other area of the country, you should take precautions to keep your motorcycle safe from theft. There are a number of tips you can follow to help you avoid becoming a victim.
Lock your ignition. Many thefts occur because the ignition has been turned off but not locked. And although it should go without saying, don’t forget to remove the key!
If you travel with a group, lock your motorcycles together for greater safety.
Consider adding an alarm to your motorcycle. Alarms range from about $20 up to several hundred dollars, so there is an alarm out there for any budget. Audible alarms can serve as an excellent deterrent to motorcycle theft.
Carry your registration card and insurance ID card on your person when you ride. Do not leave them with your bike. And by all means, do not leave the title with your bike. Keep it at home in a secure place like a fire-proof safe.
If you store your bike in a garage, make sure the garage door is secure and kept locked. When possible, store your bike so that it is blocked in by vehicles.
Monitor your bike. Keep an eye on your bike and monitor the area for suspicious looking individuals. If you notice someone lingering around your bike, be sure to make your presence known. They are probably simply admiring it, but it’s best not to take chances. Plus, this can be a great time to show off your bike to someone who is curious.
Find a secure object and lock your bike to it. Make sure it cannot be dismantled or maneuvered about to release the lock.
If leaving your motorcycle overnight at a hotel or motel, park in a lit area, near the front of the hotel if possible. Look for security cameras nearby and park in their view, or if staying in a motel, park outside your room and keep the curtains open.
Set your bike apart from the pack with unique markings, painting, or coloring. If it is stolen, this will make it easier for the police to identify and recover. Keep photographs of your bike on hand (or on your phone) in case you need them.
As tempting as it may be, don’t post pictures of your bike on social media. Thieves can easily determine where you live from your social media account and might then target you for theft.
If you use a trailer, keep it locked and secure at all times, and park in a well-lit area. Whenever possible, back up to a wall so that the doors cannot be opened.
When riding, be sure you aren’t being followed. You don’t have to be paranoid, but you should be aware. If you see the same vehicle behind you even after making a few turns, pull off to the side of the road and wait a few minutes for them to get well ahead of you.
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If selling your bike, never relinquish the bike to the new owners until they have given you cash or the check (or money order) has cleared. In the past, money orders were safer to accept than checks as they guaranteed the money was there, but recently scammers have learned to create fake money orders that are not legitimate.
If a prospective buyer wants to take a test drive, make sure they leave a vehicle of greater value than the bike with you. Don’t assume the buyer test-riding your gleaming Harley will come back if they left an old Chevette in your driveway. And be sure to check their driver’s license for a motorcycle endorsement before you allow them to take your bike for a ride.
Never provide the title to the new owner until the money has cleared and the transaction has settled. You can provide them a bill of sale and forward the title once the money has cleared.
Bike thefts are soaring all across the country. As bike values increase, thefts increase as well as criminals have determined they can make thousands off high-end bikes. Exercise precautions to keep your bike safe and secure so that you can ride it for years to come.
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At Kass & Moses, our team of motorcycle crash lawyers understand that your bike is one of your most prized possessions. That’s why we work so hard to help victims of motorcycle crashes recover financially. If you have been in a motorcycle crash, contact our team of experienced lawyers at 1-800-MOTORCYCLE for a free consultation.