In the last few years, the practice of EVB has become widespread in Europe. However, even though the global market for ECVs is exploding and is now worth between 40 and 50 billion dollars, there are still obstacles to the adoption of the bicycle as the main means of travel. Amongst these obstacles, theft appears to be one of the main obstacles to the purchase and upgrading of bicycles, and one of the main reasons for not using a bicycle.
80% of European cyclists say they are worried about bicycle theft.
Bicycle theft: a scourge for the democratisation of cycling
Each year, an estimated 2.9 million bicycles are stolen in Europe according to several national studies and figures reported by local police. 900,000 bicycles are stolen in the Netherlands, 686,000 in the UK, 600,000 in Germany, 400,000 in France and 100,000 in Denmark and Belgium (source: vélo perdu).
- After a theft, only 5% of bikes are returned to their owners
- 66% of cyclists say they use their bikes less
- 25% of them even say they are giving up cycling as a means of transport
- 20% of cyclists buy a cheaper and/or second-hand bike
The impact of bicycle theft on the widespread use of bicycles is considerable. Despite numerous initiatives such as the marking of bicycles or the introduction of secure parking solutions in cities, predictions for the coming years do not indicate any reduction in the number of bicycle thefts. On the contrary, the resale attractiveness of high-value bicycles combined with the shortages of e-bikes driven by the pandemic will be the main causes of theft in the coming years. The cycle industry must offer real solutions against theft to encourage the democratisation of cycling. How to protect your electric bike from thieves?
Accessories to fight theft: an insufficient solution
Bike locks, marking, secure parking, etc. There are many devices or additionally secure components to fight theft and ensure e-bike security. Shops advise bike buyers to spend 10% of the purchase price of the bike on an anti-theft device. As a reflex, cyclists turn to classic bike locks, but this is not the only option, and without an additional device, not the most effective one. According to a 2021 Alterlock study on bicycle theft in Europe, 90% of cyclists who claim to have been a victim of bicycle theft had secured their bike with a lock.
Anti-theft solutions for e-bikes often offer cyclists relative security. It takes thieves only a few minutes to break through a traditional lock (whether a U-lock or a chain), or to force their way into a bicycle garage, and some trackers lack the accuracy and technology to foil a theft and recover a bike. Marking is compulsory in many European countries for the purchase of a new or second-hand bicycle from a professional, and in addition to allowing fast identification of the bicycles found, it plays a major role in the return of the bicycles, but does not offer all the guarantees to ensure the bike theft protection. Secure parking spaces are an interesting solution to keep your electric bicycle secure, but not yet deployed everywhere. Insurance now helps to reassure cyclists in their experience, but it represents an additional cost and may not cover all cases.
Only the connected bike or smartbike offers a complete anti-theft system from deterrence to return, to meet cyclists’ expectations and provide effective security for e-bikes.
The smartbike to fight theft effectively
Going further than the relative protection offered by a classic anti-theft device, Velco accompanies bike brands and electric bike fleet managers with technology innovation for e-bike security, allowing them to offer cyclists fundamental guarantees against theft.
Connected to the cyclist, the smartbike interacts directly with its owner via a branded or a fleet manager application providing several features:
- Instant notification in case of suspicious movement
- 104 dB sound alarm triggered automatically or manually
- A remote shutdown of the electric assistance started automatically or manually
- Geolocation: real-time tracking of the bike’s position (10m accuracy)
In addition to these functions, the cyclist can use the application to share the bike’s registration information with the police to help them to identify the bike.
the purpose of a smartbike : make it as simple as possible for cyclists thanks to innovation.
The Velco connected e-bike then becomes a faithful smart bike, offering the cyclist high-quality protection against theft, from deterrence to return of the bike, and giving the brand the ability to customise actions such as the duration and frequency of the alarm repetition. The smartbike is positioned in a high-end segment, and the functionalities embedded in the connected bike, such as a GPS tracking device, are strong arguments to seduce cyclists. One in three people say they would consider buying an AEB if they were sure it would not be stolen. Smartbikes allow their users to be fully reassured about the possibility of theft and ensure cycling safety.
The connected bike perpetuates a practice and makes it more dynamic by giving cyclists more guarantees when buying a bike and allowing brands to position themselves on a buoyant market.
What about you? Are you ready to switch to a connected e-bike?