Line of three bikes locked to hoops on the edge of a footpath, with the middle bike locked by a d-lock through the frame and wheel.
Keeping bikes safe against rising thefts

A surge in post-Christmas bike thefts seems like a new tradition in Tasmania, so how do you keep your new and old bikes protected from theft?

Tasmania Police statistics for the past few years show a steady increase in thefts with a blip in the trend due to the COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions keeping more people at home. This financial year is on track to be the highest theft year for the past 6 years.

Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Adrian Bodnar said there had been a recent increase in thefts statewide.

“Police have received several reports from bike owners, particularly at campgrounds and caravan parks, in relation to bikes being stolen,” he said.

“Bike owners are encouraged to keep their bikes secure, and never left unattended, particularly in a public place.

Stealing offences where the property was a bike

Hobart City Councillor Ryan Posselt recently requested information about bike thefts from the Aquatic Centre after he noticed a cut chain link on the ground.

Tasmania Police informed the City of Hobart in early December 2023 that there had been 10 attempted and successful thefts over only 4–5 weeks.

In response, the City has adjusted its CCTV for better coverage, put up signs letting thieves know the cameras are operating, installed a monitor showing the camera footage at the front desk and are sending staff on patrols around the area.

It says there has been a reduction in theft reports since these moves were made.

E-bikes are a target

The Hobart building Bicycle Network is in had an attempted break in this month when thieves used an angle grinder to cut the mesh on a security gate. When Tasmania Police attended officers said e-bikes had increasingly become a target for thieves and they had been dealing with increased thefts in a few inner Hobart suburbs.

As well as the usual steps to reduce theft risk, people with e-bikes may want to remove the battery and take it with them if they are in public or store it away from the bike at home. 

What can you do to reduce the risk?

All bike owners can try to reduce their risk by following a few standard steps, although with electric angle grinders even these steps are becoming less effective.

  1. Always lock your bike using a D-lock – these are the best locks as they need angle grinders to cut them rather than bolt cutters. Some companies are now advertising “angle grinder resistant” D-locks which can be cut but only after several blade and battery changes, e.g. Hiplok and Litelok.
  2. When locking your bike lock the frame and wheel at the same time, this protects your wheel from being stolen but also makes it harder to cut the lock.
  3. Lock your bike at home, even if it’s in a locked garage or shed.
  4. In public try to lock your bike in a place with a lot of foot traffic.
  5. Don’t leave your bike on your car unlocked or with just a cable lock.
  6. If you put a tracker on your bike make sure it’s hidden inside the frame or other parts so it can’t be easily removed.
  7. Register your bike on sites like and Having your serial number recorded and photos of the bike can help recover it from secondhand dealers and websites. Tasmania Police also have direct links to Bikelinc on their portable devices so can check bikes they come across during other investigations.

What businesses and government can do

There are secure public bike parking options on the market but Tasmania has provided very few options.

Other states have networks of secure bike cages at train stations (similar to the Public Transport Victoria's 145 Parkiteer facilities operated by Bicycle Network), which are easily accessed by app or swipe card.  A few Tasmanian councils have bike cages and lockers in car parks, which allow riders to bring your their own padlocks or register for a code.

The Tasmanian Government has set up a few bike cages at the new park-and-rides in Hobart but they are yet to get a security system.

Bicycle Network is calling for a system that allows riders to register details on an app or use a swipe card to access secure bike parking docks, lockers or facilities, similar to the Parkiteer network in Victoria. Ideally, this would be applicable across parking owned by local or state government, or private businesses.  


Main image: Egor Myznik