The state of motorcycle theft in Australia and how to prevent it
This article was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated in April 2022.
Is motorcycle theft common?
In short, yes.
Approximately 9,000 motorcycles are stolen across Australia each year. And according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC)1, motorcycle thefts now account for 1 in 6 of all stolen vehicles in Australia.
Information from the NMVTRC also reveals that:
- Almost 30 per cent of stolen motorcycles are aged 5 years or less and disturbingly, almost 2 in 3 are stolen from home1.
- Motorcycles with an engine capacity of 150cc or less such as scooters and minibikes are the top theft targets, closely followed by motorcycles with an engine capacity of 251-500cc1.
- Sadly, more than 50 percent of motorcycles stolen are not recovered1.
Motorcycle theft in Victoria
Based on NMVTRC’s research, a total of 1,940 motorcycles were stolen in Victoria in 2020/21, a 5.8 per cent decrease from 2019/202.
Of the 1940 stolen motorcycles, almost 50 per cent were 10 years old or less2.
Honda (412), Yamaha (315), Suzuki (191), SYM (152) and Kawasaki (151) were the top five stolen motorcycles during 2020/212.
Motorcycle theft in New South Wales
In New South Wales 1,828 motorcycles were stolen in 2020/21, down 4.4 per cent in 2019/202.
More than 50% of the motorcycles stolen were less than 10 years old2.
And Honda (388), Yamaha (363), Suzuki (211), KTM (193), and Kawasaki (135) were the top five stolen motorcycle models in 2020/212.
Motorcycle theft in Queensland
In Queensland, 1,470 motorcycles were stolen in 2020/21 and bikes manufactured in the last 10 years attributed the most thefts, according to NMVTRC2.
Honda (280), Yamaha (277), Suzuki (168), Kawasaki (144) and KTM (94) were the top five stolen motorcycles for that time period2.
How to prevent motorcycle theft
In thinking about how to stop motorcycle theft, QBE Motorcycle product specialist, Peter Margin says there are certain actions motorcycle owners can take to help keep their bikes safe.
“Parking wisely, physically securing a motorcycle and making smart purchasing decisions should all be fundamental considerations in your overall approach to motorcycle security,” he explains.
1. Park your motorcycle wisely
With research showing that most motorcycles are stolen from residential locations, Margin suggests people should conceal where they store their motorcycle at home as much as possible.
“Storing motorcycles next to a fixed object or anchor that can’t be easily moved in a locked garage or behind locked gates can help keep bikes safe. A motorcycle cover can also be used to keep it out of sight,” he says.
2. Have the right tools for protection
“Insurance can provide financial protection if your bike is stolen - and keeping a record of a bike’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) so that if it does happen to be stolen, it can be reported to police. This is a unique code made up of 17 characters and numbers to identify your motorcycle,” Margin says.
Motorcycle owners can also consider having a manual device to lock your motorcycle up securely. A disc lock, thick chain and padlock or a U-lock are some examples, according to Margin.
“Investing in an alarm for your motorcycle lock is also a good way to add an extra layer of defence. If someone attempts to steal your motorcycle, at least the burglar will be startled, or a passing person or neighbour may be alerted. In the best case scenario, the burglar may not even attempt theft if they see the alarm initially,” he adds.
3. Be smart about your motorcycle purchase
Be careful about purchasing your motorcycle in the first place. If you’re buying your motorcycle from a private seller, do a proper background check, says Margin.
“To make sure your motorcycle isn’t listed as stolen, a write-off or not under finance, you can conduct a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check.
4. Insure your motorcycle
How does motorcycle theft insurance work?
“There’s a range of options when it comes to choosing the right policy for your needs,” says Margin.
Comprehensive motorcycle insurance can provide the most extensive protection if things don’t go to plan on the road.
It can cover damage to your bike and other people’s property. It typically includes cover for accidental damage, theft, fire, legal liability and more.
Importantly, QBE Motorcycle Comprehensive Insurance has a range of additional standard features*.
“But policies differ and have specific limits and exclusions, so make sure you check your policy documents, PDS and TMD to understand your policy.”
*This is the QBE Motorcycle product disclosure statement & policy wording (QM838-0422).