These days bike theft is a multi-million pound crime industry, with thieves stealing a cycle, on average, every five minutes and only 5% ever being recovered. Now bike owners can fight back by installing a mobile tracking device that tells owners when their cycle is being stolen and where it is heading.
The problem with bike theft is the ease with which bikes are often stolen and the fact that most don’t have any particular identifying features on them. Who knows where your bike has gone after a quick coat of paint from a hardware store, a few bright stickers. Until now that is.
One of the latest security tracking devices is disguised as a rear light that actually works. It contains a tracking device, battery and SIM card. The tracking device, once switched on, automatically sends you a text message to tell you that your bike has been stolen and you are then able to track it using a simple GPS map program from the internet, such as Google Earth.
Once the tracker has been activated it immediately updates you as to the progress of your stolen bike, giving an indication of direction and if it remains stationary for more than a couple of minutes. One of the problems that can arise is if you forget to switch the device off and someone accidentally bumps it, the tracker will keep sending you text messages to alert you of the non-existent theft.
The camouflage is the perfect disguise as it looks exactly like a rear light and even functions as one. Its flaws, however, are due to its exposed position but plans are underway for devices that can be concealed beneath the seat or within the bike’s tube framework. Although this again will pose problems when it comes to changing the battery. There could also be slight difficulties in identifying the exact location in multi occupancy buildings but technological developments are bound to narrow the odds of finding your stolen bike.
However, at present these are not coming in cheap but all in all, the price of this technology against the loss of an expensive mountain bicycle seems worth the price. And like all technological innovations the price of these security-tracking devices should come down over time. The average cost of bikes, according to the Environment Transport Association, is £850 so this useful little device should go some way in reducing bike crime and helping to raise recovery figures.