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Another Bikehangar break-in – but new security measures can now be installed

Cyclehoop to unveil Bikehangar 3.0 – but older unit was apparently broken open in just 5 seconds

Cyclehoop have encouraged Bikehangar owners to upgrade units with newer security features after around £9,000 worth of bikes were stolen near Oval in London. The firm says it has made contact with the owner of the affected units offering to make these improvements after one of the victims claimed thieves were able to gain entry within seconds.

Earlier this month, road.cc reported insurance firm Urban Jungle’s claim that thieves ‘appear to have worked out how to get into' Cyclehoop’s award-winning Bikehangar storage units.

Cyclehoop subsequently got in touch to tell us it had been working with councils to design and fit additional security features to “eliminate” the problem.

We were subsequently contacted by cyclist Eduard Francu, who told us that his and some of his neighbours’ bikes had been stolen from privately owned Bikehangars near Oval.

He said CCTV footage showed it took the thieves five seconds to force open the sides. However, the landlord couldn’t share the footage due to GDPR.

Bikehangar 2

After gaining access to the unit, the thieves sawed through owners’ Sold Secure Gold-rated locks that were securing the bikes inside.

Francu said older bikes were ignored.

The first version of the Bikehangar was launched in 2013 and Cyclehoop says version 3.0 will be launched in a few weeks’ time.

The firm believes this latest version will be the first Sold Secure Gold-rated bike shed released in the UK, but says there are also additional security measures that can be fitted to older units.

Cyclehoop says it is 95 per cent of the way through a rollout of new features to the council owned units that require them and it encourages private owners to have the same improvements carried out.

Commenting on the theft, Cyclehoop managing director, Anthony Lau, said: “Near Oval, the three units pictured are model 2.0. They are privately owned and managed and they have not been fitted with the new features.

“We are concerned to hear the break in time is reported as being five seconds. Even with a full length crowbar an experienced thief takes much longer to break into a Bikehanger 2.0 and that is without our additional security features. With them installed, it is almost impossible to crowbar the sides open.

“It is a shame the footage can’t be shared as it would help us to identify the issue. Since receiving this report, we have made contact with the unit owner to offer repair of their unit and fitting of the new features. 

“We would like to remind all cyclists to insure, register and lock their bikes correctly. Secure locks and storage facilities offer greater protection by delaying or deterring thieves. No lock and no structure, be it your home, garage, shed or Bikehangar, is impenetrable to a determined and well-equipped thief.”

Full statement from Cyclehoop managing director, Anthony Lau

Providing secure, safe and accessible bicycle infrastructure is the main concern of our design team. These are the reasons we invented the Bikehangar seven years ago, to offer a similar level of security and weather protection to home storage, for people who don’t have the space. It was the first on-street cycle shed offered in the UK and it has since enabled 14,000+ people to have space to store their bicycles.

We have seen many changes in the behaviour of thieves and vandals since we launched the first Bikehangar, version 1.0, in 2013. Unlike most cycle parking providers, we track the methods, tools and target areas of thieves and we use this data to inform our designs, enabling us to create the best possible products in the market. The Bikehangar 1.0 that we released seven years ago offered a good level of security to its context and proved to deter theft well. However, as any product designer will know, you cannot expect an original design to perform as well three, five or seven years later. 

Thieves are equipping themselves with more sophisticated tools and taking greater risks. Since lock-down, the bicycle theft rate is reported to have doubled compared to the same time last year. Lock-down has made cycles more valuable and harder to access, with considerably less parked on the street, instead thieves are said to be targeting sheds, garages and homes. 

In light of this, Cyclehoop have designed the Bikehangar 3.0. We believe it will be the first Gold Sold Secure rated cycle shed released in the UK when we launch. Sold Secure are the UK’s top testing and certification house for security products. Their experts were impressed with the quality and sturdiness of the Bikehangar, which is a credit to our UK manufacturing and inhouse assembly. In particular, the use of high spec bolts throughout elevates and differentiates our product from our competitors.

The majority of older model Bikehangars can be upgraded to better protect against the current context thanks to the additional security features we design. We install the additions to units we manage on behalf of local councils and encourage private owners to do the same, or consider upgrading to the newer model. We are 95% through our current rollout of new features to the 1400+ council owned units that require them.

Near Oval, the three units pictured are model 2.0, they are privately owned and managed and they have not been fitted with the new features. We are concerned to hear the break in time is reported as being five seconds. Even with a full length crowbar an experienced thief takes much longer to break into a Bikehanger 2.0 and that is without our additional security features. With them installed, it is almost impossible to crowbar the sides open. It is a shame the footage can’t be shared as it would help us to identify the issue. Since receiving this report, we have made contact with the unit owner to offer repair of their unit and fitting of the new features. 

We would like to remind all cyclists to insure, register and lock their bikes correctly. Secure locks and storage facilities offer greater protection by delaying or deterring thieves. No lock and no structure, be it your home, garage, shed or Bikehangar is impenetrable to a determined and well-equipped thief. At least not yet. Although myself and our design team hope to one day change this.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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10 comments

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Will Ive Hook | 6 months ago
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It doesn't take five seconds. Try one, as that is all it takes. You don't have to be big or strong. If they do it on Thursday, then, Tuesday seems to be the day for fixing the lock. That's what I've observed. As I asked elsewhere, who is collating the breakins and losses? Are these details being made public. There appears to be  no awareness among hangar users regarding the fact that broken locks are broken deliberately and the time between reporting the break and repair is coming in at four days. In the meantime, all bikes should be removed. It should be done within hours and all bike owners should be emailed and phoned, to try and lessen the losses. I've reported one this morning and if it is fixed quikly, I'll be amazed. I'm all in when it comes to dealing with the thieves, as they found out last night. I've thwarted them twice now in 16 days and it's fun.

Avatar
Will Ive Hook | 6 months ago
0 likes

So, my first question is are bike rack break ins reported and circulated online? Secondly, if not, why not? Thirdly, does anyone know how long it takes to break the locking mechanism?  

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OldRidgeback | 3 years ago
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One of the Bikehangars round the corner from me was broken into a few weeks back. I'm not sure which generation it is.

From what I could tell, crowbars were used at either end to expose the locking mechanism, which the thief (or thieves) then smashed open. It looked to me as if two people had done this together. They took a high end roadbike and left the cheap old clunkers. There's a message there.

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Will Ive Hook replied to OldRidgeback | 6 months ago
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They are stil using the crow bar technique. There is another one I'm aware of and it's more Einstein than Arnold in its approach!!

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alexls | 3 years ago
4 likes

So, what is it about GDPR that makes sharing the CCTV footage not possible?  Or is this just another "we don't actually know what the law is so we're playing it safe"?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to alexls | 3 years ago
2 likes

alexls wrote:

So, what is it about GDPR that makes sharing the CCTV footage not possible?  Or is this just another "we don't actually know what the law is so we're playing it safe"?

GDPR can be invoked if the footage allows identification of an individual, but there's exceptions for the purpose of law enforcement etc.

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Municipal Waste replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
2 likes

So how is Crimewatch still a thing if CCTV footage breaches GDPR? Hmmmmm...

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hawkinspeter replied to Municipal Waste | 3 years ago
2 likes
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Rendel Harris replied to alexls | 6 months ago
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alexls wrote:

So, what is it about GDPR that makes sharing the CCTV footage not possible?  Or is this just another "we don't actually know what the law is so we're playing it safe"?

Definitely - GDPR specifically excludes sharing crime footage to catch the criminal. The only (highly unlikely) reason I can think of is if innocent parties were also caught on camera at the time of the theft.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to alexls | 6 months ago
1 like

It's not real.  Just the landlord playing it ignorant/safe/can't be arsed.

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