The Scoop

London hire bike thefts rise following scheme expansion

Adam Bienkov | Tuesday 28 May, 2013 15:32

143 of London’s hire bikes have been reported stolen since the scheme was first launched three years ago, new figures have revealed.

The rate of missing bikes has increased fivefold since the scheme was expanded eastwards last year.

104 bikes were reported stolen in the past year. By contrast, just 15 bikes went missing in the first year of the scheme’s operation.

Transport for London said today that the majority of bikes have since been recovered:

“Of the 143 bikes reported stolen since the scheme start [sic] 117 have been recovered and 26 remain missing. This equates to 82% of all cycles
reported stolen being recovered. More than 21 million journeys have been
made on Barclays Cycle Hire bikes, meaning there are more than 800,000
hires per missing bike.”

The relatively low number of reported thefts, contrasts very favourably with other bike hire schemes.

In Paris around 8000 bikes went missing by the time London’s scheme launched in 2010.

TfL believe that the decision to make bank card rentals compulsory, and not provide locks for the bikes has significantly reduced thefts.

Others have suggested that the heavy-duty weight and branding on the bikes could also have been a factor.

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Adam Bienkov

About this writer

Adam Bienkov

Adam is a reporter for You can find links to his other work at

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