Recently published Federal Statistical Office (FSO) figures show a sharp jump in the number of electric bicycles stolen in Switzerland. In 2021, 8,919 electric bikes were stolen in Switzerland, 47% more than in 2020.
At the same time the number of regular bicycles thefts fell by 11%, reflecting in part the shift away from regular bikes towards electric ones. 27,246 regular bicycles were stolen in Switzerland in 2021, bringing the total number of bike thefts to 36,165, a figure 2% lower than in 2020. As the number of more expensive electric bikes swells, bike thieves appear to be choosing these over less valuable regular ones.
The risk of bike theft varied significantly by canton. The risk was highest in Basel-City where 2.8% of bicycles were stolen in 2021. Other high theft cantons included Basel-Landschaft (1.7%), Solothurn (1.5%) and Luzern (1.3%). The least risky cantons for bike owners were Valais (0.4%) and Ticino (0.2%).
Many bike locks are surprisingly easy to cut. A video put together by the City of London Police (below) shows how easy some locks are to cut. Cable locks offer virtually no protection. A pair of hand cutters that will fit in a pocket will cut these in seconds. Cheap D-locks can be quickly cut by larger bolt cutters. The best protection is a thick hard high quality D-lock, although these can be cut with an electric angle grinder when accessible. No lock is uncuttable.
Tips for reducing the risk include choosing high quality hard D-locks and placing them in the right place. Locking through the frame down low at the back makes cutting much more difficult. Never lock through the top tube where cutting is much easier. Two high quality D-locks placed low down, one through the back of the frame and back wheel and another through the front of the frame and front wheel will put off most thieves.
Another video by Casey Neistat in NYC (above) shows how ineffective witnesses can be. Only after 9 minutes of grinding with a noisy electric angle grinder in a busy downtown location did anything happen to him as he attempted to steal his own bike. Eventually, he was spotted by the NYC police who intervened after countless witnesses passed by.