Lock up your motorcycle tonight. Tomorrow is August 1, and according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s report on motorcycle theft and recovery, August is the month with the highest number of reported motorcycle thefts across the nation.
And if you live in Indiana, the news gets worse: Indiana ranked seventh in the nation for most motorcycle thefts in 2016.
We know few (if any) motorcyclists will actually put their bike away for the month, and we sincerely hope no Hoosiers consider moving to one of the 43 states with fewer motorcycle thefts than us, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard the NICB’s latest report altogether. In fact, the report contains many interesting and useful statistics about motorcycle theft.
Motorcycle Theft in the United States
In 2016, there were 46,467 motorcycles stolen in the United States. That’s a 2 percent increase from 2015—and that’s not because there are more motorcycles on the road. In fact, there was a 2.1 percent decrease in motorcycles sold in the U.S. between 2015 and 2016.
But it does make sense that more motorcycle thefts occur when more motorcycles are actually on the road. Thefts nearly doubled from the first quarter of the year (January-March) to the third quarter (July-September) and peaked in August at 5,251 thefts in 2016. February is the safest month with only 2,547 reported as stolen.
And yes, it is true that Indiana is seventh in the nation for motorcycle thefts. In 2016, 1,397 motorcycles were stolen in our state.
However, California leads the nation with a whopping 7,506 motorcycles stolen in 2016. And Vermont comes in last with just 24 motorcycles thefts.
The type of motorcycle you have affects your risk of theft as well. In 2016, the most frequently stolen motorcycle was made by Honda. 9,052 Honda motorcycles were stolen in the United States last year. Motorcycles made by Yamaha came second, and Suzuki motorcycles came third.
Motorcycle Recovery in the United States
But the numbers tell a different story when it comes to recovery of stolen motorcycles.
From January 2016 to February 28, 2017, 40 percent of motorcycles stolen in 2016 were recovered and returned to their owners. That’s a 4 percent increase—a total of 613 motorcycles more—compared to the amount recovered in 2015.
The highest month for recoveries? August, with 2,174 motorcycles recovered. January ranked the lowest with 508 motorcycles recovered.
And even though Indiana is seventh in motorcycle theft, our state is sixth in the nation for motorcycle recoveries, with 590 motorcycles recovered last year. California again leads the nation with 3,359 motorcycles recovered, and Vermont comes in last with 7 recoveries.
And the type of motorcycle you ride affects your likelihood of recovery as well. Honda motorcycles have a 42 percent rate of recovery, with Yamaha at 39 percent and Suzuki at 38.
How to Prevent Motorcycle Theft
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation gives excellent tips for preventing motorcycle theft, including:
LOCK: Lock your ignition and remove the key. Be sure to also lock the forks or disk brakes with locks that have easily visible tags (e.g., large, brightly colored). Lock motorcycles together if you’re riding with friends, and lock your bike to an object that cannot be moved or easily dismantled if riding alone.
ALARM: If you can, consider adding an alarm to your motorcycle.
VIEW: Try to keep your motorcycle within your view and/or the view of the authorities, and out of sight of anyone else. For example, try to park your bike within the view of an outdoor security camera if you’re staying the night somewhere while traveling. If you can’t, try to get a room with a view of the parking lot so you can keep an eye on your bike. If you’re parking in a garage, try to block your motorcycle with other vehicles.
IDENTIFY: Give your motorcycle a unique marking, and take pictures of your motorcycle for reference. This will make it easier for authorities to recover your bike if it’s stolen.
Help from an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The NICB’s report on motorcycle theft is interesting and conflicting. August is the worst month for theft—but the best month for recovery. Hondas are the most likely to be stolen—and the most likely to be found.
Most motorcyclists know you have to tune out the statistics in order to enjoy the ride. After all, it’s difficult to hit the road after you hear that July is the month with the most motorcycle fatalities, or that there were 108 motorcycle fatalities in Indiana in 2015.
Fear shouldn’t stop motorcyclists from enjoying the ride. But it should encourage us all to take extra care and follow all recommended safety precautions to keep motorcyclists safe.
But sometimes, no matter how safely you try to ride, the statistics catch up with you, and someone else’s reckless driving results in your injury in a motorcycle accident. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free case review.