Bicycle theft has been on the rise for years in a row. Four companies have joined forces to tackle this problem on a large scale. An e-bike with GPS protection and comprehensive insurance are important keys in this approach. Guus Wesselink of the SAFE Foundation, which is committed to reducing bicycle theft, is very happy with the initiative. “Stolen e-bikes with GPS protection are almost always recovered.”

GPS protection is effective, according to figures from bicycle tracking service FRIS Nederland BV[i]. More than 80 percent of e-bikes are recovered thanks to the integrated chip. And often this also results in a small ten percent bycatch because there are even more e-bikes parked at the location. Stella Cycling Together with partners ANWB, KPN and AXA, seizes this opportunity with both hands and launches Carefree Cycling, a total package with GPS module, theft insurance and a five-year warranty (also on the battery). The collaboration between the e-bike manufacturer, bicycle insurer, telecom company and the supplier of GPS trackers offers the cheapest and most reliable total package in the market.

“With this affordable anti-theft solution, we as allies hope to make a large-scale stand against the sharp increase in the number of bicycle thefts.”

Johan Makaske, spokesperson for Stella Cycling.

SAFE Foundation applauds initiative: 'There is a great need for this in society'

For years, the Bicycle and E-bike Theft Approach Foundation (SAFE) has been working to reduce bicycle theft. The need is increasing, because the annual damage has now risen to six hundred million euros, according to recent research by SAFE. In 2019 there were 13.162 reports of e-bike theft and in 2020 this number increased by 37 percent to 18.032 reports, the foundation says. The actual number of bicycle thefts is seven times higher: 113.000 stolen bicycles. Carefree Cycling is therefore the right thing to do, SAFE believes.

“We are pleased that large parties in the market are joining forces to tackle this problem, because there is a great need for this in society. We want to be able to store our e-bike safely and carefree during a supermarket visit.”

Guus Wesselink, acting chairman of SAFE.

Bicycle insurance premiums under pressure

The average purchase price of bicycles has been rising for years in a row due to the arrival of the e-bike – which is generally more expensive than an analog bicycle. This development, in combination with the increase in bicycle theft, is causing the claims burden to rise and thus putting pressure on bicycle insurance premiums.

“We are making every effort to ensure that bicycle insurance premiums are not increased. This collaboration is an example of that.”

Joris Smink of ANWB Insurance.

E-bike is no longer even safe in a bicycle shed

Where the 'occasional thief' used to run off with a bicycle, today there are organized gangs. The number of bicycle theft reports has risen by more than thirty percent in recent years, RTL Nieuws recently reported. In ten percent of the reports, the bicycle is even stolen from the shed. Buses full of e-bikes are disappearing to Eastern Europe. Makaske expects to make a difference with the Carefree Cycling approach. “The figures of bicycles that are traceable and that are recovered are promising. That makes GPS protection an effective weapon against bicycle theft.”

Read also: More and more nuisance from parked bicycles on the sidewalk

Thief wants to steal bicycle.
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