By Alison Hill

Cycle theft in Oxford is currently in the news following a recent report using the police crime data for 2018/19. Oxford has the third highest rates of cycle theft per head of population after Cambridge and the City of London.

This troubling statistic is not too surprising as more people own bikes in the two university cities than other areas in the country, so there are more bikes to steal. But because there are more bikes to steal, it means bike thieves target Oxford and Cambridge as they see these cities as rich pickings.

Being a victim of bike theft is traumatic and distressing on several counts. The immediate impact is that you are left without transport for your anticipated journey and will be severely delayed. The financial outlay of buying a replacement bike is substantial and many people don’t have insurance cover. And the worst outcome is that you haven’t got the finances to replace your bike, or you don’t want to cycle to places where your bike is at risk again of being stolen, so you stop cycling altogether.

There are lots of ways to protect your bike against theft. Cyclox offers advice on our website. Go to and search using the word security.

The most important thing you can do is to invest in a good solid lock and to lock your bike to a cycle stand or railings.

Get a heavy D-lock or a chunky chain, not a cheap D-lock or flimsy cable. Pay as much as you can afford – a good rule of thumb is at least 10% of the bike’s value. Cycle insurance is invalid if you don’t use an approved lock. And it is even better to have two locks, one for the frame and one to protect wheels. Frame locks (as you see used on the dockless hire bikes) are excellent as they are fixed to the bike, have a key always at the ready, and can link with a heavy chain to a stand or railings.

Park somewhere visible, not around quiet corners, where a thief can work out of sight. Cycle stands make a big contribution to theft reduction, but we know there are still not enough across the city. Cyclox is working with the city and county council to increase the number of stands. Let your own councillor know your concerns about lack of cycle parking.

You can register your bike through the national bike registration schemes. Registration is a highly effective, visible deterrent to bike thieves. They know that if they are caught with a registered bike, the owner can be traced and they will be arrested.

If you think that you are witnessing the theft of a bike, get photos or video, and call 999. It is best not to put yourself in harm’s way by confronting the perpetrator.

By doing all these things you will be helping to reduce Oxford’s reputation as a cycle theft city and improving its reputation as a cycling city!