Wheel or no wheel? South Wales revealed as Bicycle Theft Hotspot

New research revealed that bike theft rates in South Wales stood at 3.3 per 1,000 people at the end of 2020, compared to North Wales which stood at 0.5 per 1,000 people.

MoneySuperMarket analysed bike theft data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and found that the rate of reported thefts per 1,000 people was highest in Cambridge in 2020 at 18.4.1 Oxford and Reading take second and third place, reporting 8.0 and 5.2 stolen bikes per 1,000 people respectively.


The top five UK towns and cities with the highest proportion of bike theft reports per 1,000 people

City/Town Recorded bicycle thefts per 1,000 people in 2020 
Cambridge 18.4
Oxford 8.0
Reading 5.2
Lincoln 4.0
Norwich 3.7

At the other end of the scale, Tunbridge Wells (0.2), Caerphilly (0.2) and Dudley (0.3) have the lowest rates of bicycle theft, making them the safest places to own a bike.

The top five UK towns and cities with the lowest proportion of bike theft reports per 1,000 people

City/Town Recorded bicycle thefts per 1,000 people in 2020 
Tunbridge Wells 0.2
Caerphilly 0.2
Dudley 0.3
Barnsley 0.3
Bridgend 0.3

Overall, the data shows that 72,640 bikes were reported stolen in 2020, which amounts to 199 bicycle thefts per day on average. This figure is down 15% compared to 2019, where 85,285 bikes were reported as stolen.1

Residents of Cambridge – where bike theft was most prevalent – were the third most likely to include a bike on their policy (17% of enquiries), behind only Bristol and South West London (18%).

However, in Oxford and Reading – the areas with the second and third highest reports of bike theft – only 15% and 13% of enquiries included a bike, respectively.

Top 10 areas most likely to include a bike on their home insurance policy

Area  Proportion of enquiries with bike insured
BS – Bristol 18%
SW – South West London 18%
CB – Cambridge 17%
SE – South East London 17%
E – East London 16%
GU – Guildford 16%
KT – Kingston-upon-Thames 16%
AL – St. Albans 16%
LA - Lancaster 15%
N – North London 15%


According to MoneySuperMarket’s home insurance data, the median cost of a combined building and contents policy which does not include a bike is £134.86. When a bike is added to the policy, Brits can expect to pay £183.95, or £49.09 (36%) more on average.2

However, considering the average cost of a bike is significantly higher at £3653, bike owners may have to fork out £316 more than the difference in policy costs with and without a bicycle, to replace it if it were to be stolen.

Kate Devine, home insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Cycling has become popular over the past year and with the country easing out of lockdown and people set to travel once again, it’s even more important to make sure bikes are covered for theft and damage.

“Whilst the data shows that some areas are safer than others, there are many things we can do to deter bicycle thieves. Our top suggestions are:

  • Invest in a good quality lock
  • Lock your bike securely, including the wheels
  • Avoid locking your bike in an isolated area
  • Using two different types of locks can act as a strong deterrent
  • Register and insure your bike

“To avoid paying more than necessary if your bike were to be stolen, it’s always a good idea to insure it – either by including it in your home insurance policy or by taking out specialist bike insurance. It doesn’t take long, provides peace of mind, and using a comparison site can get you a good deal.”

You can find out more about bicycle insurance via the MoneySuperMarket website.

1 Data taken from ONS.gov.uk Crime Survey 2019 – 2020

2 All data related to home insurance enquiries on the MoneySuperMarket website from 1st January 2020 to 31st December 2020

3 Data taken from the Bicycle Association MDS 2020 Covid Impact Report