Nearly one-third of all bike thefts in Scotland take place in Edinburgh

Nearly a third of all Scotland's bike thefts take place in Edinburgh with a jump of almost ten per cent in the number of stolen cycles last year.

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Now one MSP is warning the problem has to be tackled if people are going to be encouraged to take up active travel and calling for more secure bike storage across the city.

Out of 5,470 bike thefts across Scotland in 2020/21, a total of 1,746 of them – 32 per cent – occurred in Edinburgh.

Police encourage cyclists to register their bikes as a security precaution. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

Latest figures show that is up from 1,594 in 2019/20, an increase of 9.5 per cent, though not as high as the peak of 2,237 in 2017/18.

The Edinburgh police division launched a successful operation after that to crack down on bike thefts in the city, resulting in a drop to 1709 thefts in 2018/19 and a rise in detections from 103 in 2017/18 to 190 in 2018/19.

In 2020/21 the number of bike crime detections rose to a record high of 215, but still only 12 per cent of all thefts.

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said bike crime in the Capital has to be addressed if active travel was going to increase.

He said: "For some time bike theft has been a real issue in the city.

“Edinburgh police division have done excellent work in cracking down on bike theft, but more work still needs to be done.

“If we are going to see more active travel across Edinburgh then it is crucial that we reduce the level of bike thefts across the city."

And he called for more stores and more cycling security infrastructure.

“An increase in secure bike storage could help keep bikes safer. There have been bike stores installed at the ERI, the university has done a lot because students are often targeted when they come to study in the city, but there is a need for a city-wide strategy given the number of people who cycle.

“The controversial Spaces for People programme is designed to promote cycling, but the council isn’t doing enough to protect peoples bikes.

"And it’s maybe something as well for big employers also to consider what’s needed.

"Tying your bike to somewhere often isn’t the best security. It is people who have usually taken some steps to try and protect their bike who do have it stolen so there’s a need for investment in safe bike storage.

“There are a lot of very expensive bikes about and online sales of stolen bikes still need to be addressed.

"More could be done on cracking down on those stealing the bikes as well and making sure it is properly investigated.”

The council said it had been installing secure on-street bike storage units across the city since 2019.

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said: “Bicycle theft is extremely distressing and costly to owners. The risk of a bike being stolen can be a barrier to many people taking up cycling and enjoying the many benefits it has to health, the environment and their purse.

“Our roll-out of secure cycle storage containers has been extremely popular, helping residents, particularly in tenemental areas, to safely store their bikes. We’re in the process of rolling out many more across the city with lots of people telling us they’d like to use the units.

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