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7 Important Tips for Motorcycle Theft Prevention in Singapore and Malaysia

Motorcycles are such a great way to get around. You don’t have to put down the insane costs of a car (especially with crazy COE prices), and finding parking isn’t so much of a headache as it is with a car either.

The downside? Motorcycles also tend to be easier to steal. And unfortunately, there are always some opportunistic thieves waiting to take advantage of any momentary lapse of security.

In this article, we’ll explore 7 essential tips for motorcycle theft prevention that can help you keep your prized possession secure, so that you can keep on riding!

Why Motorcycles Are So Easy to Steal

About 1,000 motorcycle theft incidents are reported yearly in Singapore, and that’s just the figure that gets reported. Here are some reasons why motorcycles get stolen:

  • Motorcycles are more portable than cars, and thieves can easily lift a stolen motorcycle into a van or lorry and manage a quick getaway.
  • Motorcycles are usually parked in open areas instead of more secure parking facilities, so theft deterrence isn’t so much of a factor.
  • By default, most motorcycles do not come with comprehensive security features or anti-theft systems that are standard in most cars.
  • Older motorcycles can be more vulnerable to theft as they tend to be easier to start up or hotwire.
  • Stealing a motorcycle tends to attract less attention from passersby than stealing a car, so people don’t really pay attention to someone fiddling with their (presumably) own motorcycle.

7 Motorcycle Theft Prevention Tips

Knowing how easy it could be for someone to take off with an unsecured motorcycle, what can we do to ensure that your motorcycle is fully secured to deter thieves? Here are 7 ways to protect your motorcycle:

1. Choose Strategic Parking Locations

The Singapore Police Force encourages all motorcycle owners to “park in well-lit areas.” Bike thieves favour darkness where they can work unnoticed.

Parking in crowded areas that are highly visible to the public means that more people will witness a theft happening, and that can discourage bike theft attempts.

Where possible, look for designated motorcycle parking lots, especially those equipped with security cameras. Such spaces are more monitored than simply parking on the roadside, for example.

2. Pay Extra for Security

It can be very tempting to forgo paid covered or underground parking in favour of free parking areas. However, the risks associated with leaving your motorcycle in open spaces far outweigh the initial savings. 

Designated parking facilities provide these advantages:

  • They shield your motorcycle from prying eyes and opportunistic thieves 
  • They are often equipped with surveillance cameras or have security personnel, which serve as deterrents against theft.
  • Security cameras have an additional advantage that, should your motorcycle be stolen, the police can access the footage to hopefully find and retrieve your motorcycle.
  • Many multi-storey or underground car parks have controlled access points, which limits the people entering and also the number of possible exits. 

With these advantages, it can be prudent to make that small investment of paying parking fees for secure motorcycle parking. Besides, you can’t really put a price on peace of mind.

Safety in groups: Always opt for designated motorcycle parking spaces, especially those that are monitored by security cameras.

3. Activate Multiple Anti-Theft Locks

That popular adage of “Less is more” does not apply here. When it comes to preventing motorcycle theft, more locks is more!

Each lock on its own offers only one layer of security, and is best used in combination with other locks for comprehensive motorcycle theft prevention. 

Layering multiple security devices significantly reduces the likelihood of theft, as potential thieves would have to overcome multiple obstacles to steal the motorcycle.

Consider using at least two or more locks in addition to your motorcycle’s built-in locks. Here are some anti-theft locks to consider to up your motorcycle security:

Motorcycle Locks

These locks are usually something you activate or equip to your motorcycle itself to keep it secure. They do not, however, prevent someone from simply carrying your motorcycle away or lifting it into another vehicle and making off with it.

  • Steering Lock, or Ignition Lock

Most motorcycles come with a built-in lock. This alone is not enough and should always be coupled with additional locks. But still, don’t forget to at least lock the ignition or steering.

Locking your motorcycle’s built-in lock should be something you’re already doing each time you walk away from your motorcycle.

  • Handlebar Lock

These lock the brake lever or clutch lever to the handlebar grip. When engaged, the lock prevents the handlebars from being turned, rendering the motorcycle unrideable.

  • Disc Lock, or Disc Brake Lock

These lock onto the brake disc, preventing the wheel from turning. Disc locks with alarms that activate if the motorbike is tampered with are an additional level of security.

Disc locks secure the disc brakes and can come in straightforward key-lock versions or even alarm and smart versions.

External Locks

These locks secure your motorcycle to a fixed object, such as a lamppost, pole, railing, bike rack, or bike parking stands. This makes it more challenging for thieves to simply carry your motorcycle away.

  • Chain Lock

Chain locks are exactly as the name suggests — a thick, heavy-duty metal chain, and a padlock system. Chains are versatile which allow you to secure your motorcycle to various fixed objects. If the length allows, you can even secure it twice around a pole, for example, for additional security.

Sometimes even the sheer visibility of a thick, sturdy chain wrapped around your motorcycle can act as a powerful deterrent. Invest in a high quality, durable chain lock made with hardened steel, and opt for thick chain links that are resistant against simple cutting tools. Chain links that are smaller than 10mm are simply not worth considering at all.  

Chain locks are heavy to drag around, but thick enough, they provide more insurance against a thief trying to cut through the links.

  • U-Lock, or Shackle Lock

U-locks are simply a U-shaped bent metal bar connected to a straight crossbar where there is usually some type of locking mechanism.

These can also secure your motorcycle to some kind of fixed object such as railing or bike rack, however, they offer less versatility than chain locks as they are limited by its shape, size and inflexibility. The one area they do win over chain locks is how much lighter and more portable they are, giving you more incentive to actually carry one around and use it.  

Just as with chain locks, look for hardened steel construction to prevent sawing attempts by thieves.

Some U-locks come with a number combination lock instead of a key padlock. In such cases, try not to use easy combinations such as 1234 or leaving it at 0000. 

U-locks are handy to carry around but offer less flexibility than chain or cable locks due to their rigid form.

  • Cable Lock

Cable locks are simply a flexible steel cable with a padlock. The benefits of using cable locks is definitely how much more lightweight and easy to carry they are. However, they are definitely not as secure as chain locks or U-locks for primary motorcycle security. They can be a good option for securing your helmet and other accessories to your motorcycle though.

Cable locks are lightweight and handy but do not offer as much security as chain locks do.

4. Use an Alarm System

An anti-theft alarm system serves as an active layer of security, alerting you and others to potential motorbike theft attempts.

Many disc locks or even U-locks or chain locks can come with alarm systems that engage when they are tampered with. An alarm going off can startle thieves and deter them from proceeding with the theft, especially if it is drawing attention to what they are doing in a public space.

This kind of loud alert can also attract the attention of any passersby who might witness the theft taking place. Hopefully they will report the incident, leading to quicker police response. Even if they do not, the fact that the theft is being publicly witnessed by people may essentially stop the thief from continuing with it.

If you’re going to purchase an alarm system, make sure to get one that is a reliable brand from a credible company. Not only will this increase the likelihood of it actually working when it’s needed to, but sometimes even just advertising the security of your motorcycle being protected by a well-known security brand can help to deter thieves, or at least point them in the direction of other, less-secure motorcycles to steal (unfortunately).

There are also tilt and shock sensors which can trigger an alarm if your motorcycle experiences a significant shock, such as an attempt to lift or move the bike; and hidden kill switch alarms which disable a motorcycle’s ignition system if an unauthorised attempt to start the bike is detected. Choose which alarm system works best for you — or opt for a combination for additional security measures.

5. Get a Smart Lock or GPS Tracker

Right now, technology really gives us the leg up on improving motorcycle security. Many smart locks these days can be controlled simply via a smartphone app. 

They often come with features like proximity alerts and tamper alerts. If someone tries to break your lock or move your motorcycle forcefully, for example, the smart lock sends a notification immediately to your phone. This allows you to respond swiftly to thwart the potential bike theft while it is still happening.

Geofencing is another feature some smart locks offer. With this, you can set specific geographical boundaries, and if your motorcycle moves outside of these boundaries without your authorization, the smart lock sends an alert to your phone.

Some smart locks even allow remote monitoring and real-time GPS tracking, so you can be assured that the thief will not get far before the police will be onto their exact location to retrieve your motorcycle.

6. Cultivate Self-Discipline

We can talk all day about the types of locks, alarms and GPS tracking systems you can implement, but preventing motorcycle theft boils down to whether or not you discipline yourself to actually activate them.

The fact that the Singapore Police Force reminds the public to “remove the ignition key and lock the motorcycle whenever it is left unattended,” means that there are still motorcycle riders doing this and leaving their motorcycles unlocked, even if just for a moment. 

It’s true that Singapore is a safer environment than most, but as the SPF also likes to remind us: Low crime doesn’t mean no crime. 

Staying alert and vigilant is really of utmost importance when it comes to keeping your two-wheeler secure. Disciplining yourself to spend those extra five minutes securing your vehicle each time will beat the headache and hassle of losing it, dealing with the police, insurance claims, and the possibility of never getting it back. 

Practise Additional Motorcycle Theft Prevention Measures in Malaysia

Motorcycles are more commonly stolen in other countries than in Singapore. The Vehicle Theft Reduction Council of Malaysia reported that one motor vehicle is stolen every 75 minutes in Malaysia, and almost 75% are motorcycles.

In addition to all the security measures discussed above, here are some extra crime prevention measures to pay attention to when riding and parking your motorcycle in Malaysia:

  • Don’t leave spare keys in your motorcycle box; always keep them on your person.
  • When choosing accommodation in Malaysia, choose those with dedicated motorcycle parking or monitored security, even if you have to spend a little bit more.
  • Make sure to turn alarm systems on whenever you’re away from your motorbike — and set these alarms to a loud setting.
  • If you’re travelling with friends, use heavy-duty chain locks to secure two or more bikes together.
  • When leaving your bike, take your helmet, GPS and other valuables with you. Don’t leave anything in plain sight that might tempt thieves.
  • Always use a combination of multiple locks, and even a motorcycle cover which you can secure at both ends. In some cases, even a simple motorcycle cover can be an extra layer of protection and hassle for a bike thief.
  • Make sure that your motorcycle is properly insured for travel in Malaysia and carry all documentation with you, or have your policy information readily available on your smartphone.

Securing two or more motorbikes together with chain locks can help dissuade theft.

Get the Right Motorcycle Insurance

Just because your motorcycle hasn’t been stolen before doesn’t mean that it won’t get stolen today, unfortunately. Implementing all these tips in this article will help keep your bike from being stolen, but in the event that it happens, it’s important to know that you got the correct motorcycle insurance and that you’re properly covered. 

One crucial point to note is this: A Third Party Only (TPO) motorcycle insurance policy with any insurance company covers you for third-party liabilities only. This basic level of motorcycle insurance does not cover theft, or fire.

So it’s crucial that you are covered specifically for motorcycle theft by choosing Third Party Fire and Theft (TPFT) coverage, or a Full Comprehensive motorcycle insurance policy.

TPFT and Full Comprehensive motorcycle insurance will provide you with coverage against theft whether you’re riding in Singapore, West Malaysia, or even Southern Thailand. So if you enjoy taking your bike on long rides on the open road in our neighbouring countries, then you should definitely make sure you’re choosing the right motorcycle insurance for your travels.

To find out what’s the best choice for your needs, feel free to call us at 6665 5555, or drop us a line here. Our DirectAsia agents will be happy to explain the various coverage options to ensure you — and your motorcycle — are effectively protected, no matter where you’re riding.