Video

Gone in 8 seconds: 'That's how quickly your bike can get stolen' in London

A new video shows just how quickly a London bicycle thief can cut through a lock and make off with a set of wheels.

Dash cam captures thief purloin then pedal off with someone's bike in 8 seconds flat

Watch how quickly this bike thief can steal a locked bike 0:18

New video shows just how quickly a bicycle can be stolen in the city, even if it's locked up tight. 

The dash cam video captured Wednesday and uploaded to the video sharing website YouTube by the user Louis Balfour is called: "And that's how quickly your bike can get stolen."

It shows a brazen thief cutting through a lock and then taking off with someone's bike in full view of passersby at Trafalgar and Egerton Streets in London's east end.  

What might be even more stunning however is the speed at which the thief managed to take possession of the bike, managing to saw off the lock and ride away within eight seconds of touching the bicycle. 

Although it comes as no surprise to Tara Mott, an avid cyclist and the manager of Outspokin Cycles on Hamilton Road. 

'There's no perfect bike lock'

Tara Mott on why 'there's no perfect bike lock' 1:33

"I'm not surprised," she said. "It takes seconds." 

Mott sells a range of bike locks at her Hamilton Road store that range from as low as $14.99 to as high as $269.99 and, even then, she admits it may not stop a determined and well-equipped thief. 

"There's no perfect bike lock on the market," she said. "There's nothing that's going to be cut-proof, at least not at a price that people can afford." 

I recommend anything higher than a cable lock.- Tara Mott, manager of Outspokin  Cycles

Mott said that many people will opt for a cable lock because they think they're secure and, as far as locks go, they're usually the cheapest thing available.

"I try to steer someone away," she said. "If that's what you're after that's fine, but if you enjoy your bike and you don't want to be heartbroken when you go back to that pole and it's gone, I recommend anything higher than a cable lock." 

Mott recommends bike owners spend about 10 to 20 per cent of the value of their bike on their lock and, she adds, it's smarter to buy more than one.

"Double up," she said. "The more locks you have, the less attractive it is, the more work the thief has to do to get through all those locks." 

How to properly lock your bike

How to properly lock up your bike 1:00

Mott said London, like many cities in Ontario, has a thriving stolen bike trade where emboldened thieves often steal bicycles in plain sight before disassembling them and trying to sell them on Kijiji or even at a legitimate store. 

"Unfortunately you see a lot of frankenbikes come in," she said noting 'frankenbikes' are bicycles that have been disassembled and then reassembled using mismatched parts to try to hide the fact they're stolen. 

"They'll take a seat post out of one bike, a handlebar off another, a wheel off another."

She said to avoid getting burned by someone selling a potentially stolen bike on the street, Mott said any prospective buyer needs to inspect the bicycle closely. 

The biggest hint the bike is potentially stolen is if its parts are mismatched, as in different pieces of the same bike carry different brand names.  

"It's a red flag," she said, noting that even if a bike is reported stolen, there's often little chance it will be returned to its owner. 

While some bike locks come with an insurance plan, Mott said it's best to use a website such as 529 Garage a crowd-sourced bike recovery service, where users enter information about their bike in the hopes that if it's ever stolen, a community of like-minded individuals will be on the lookout for it. 

"I think everyone should look it up," she said. 

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca