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A flood of emotions occurs the moment you realize someone stole your motorcycle. At first, you might feel shocked. That quickly turns into panic, which eventually evolves into anger.

How could someone steal your motorcycle? What can you do to get it back?

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The first step toward motorcycle theft recovery is to provide the police with specific details about your motorcycle. You’ll need the following items for the report.

  • The license plate number attached to your motorcycle.
  • The make and model of the bike that the thief stole.
  • Where someone took it, and when the theft happened – to the best of your knowledge.

If you don’t have that information immediately, take a few moments to gather it before filing your report. The police will give you a number afterward that lets you notify your insurance company.

It is possible to have a motorcycle stolen and recovered. Different security features, including aftermarket tracking devices, allow owners to send information to law enforcement so thieves get found, arrested, and convicted.

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If someone stole your motorcycle recently, here are the answers to common questions that others have in that situation.

Can Motorcycles Get Stolen Easily?

Motorcycles are relatively easy to steal since they don’t typically come with alarms or security features that prevent someone from taking them. Since they’re relatively small and lightweight compared to vehicles (but with a similar, if not greater price), some thieves just bring a trailer and load the bike onto it.

thief using hammer to break unlock of a bike

The best way to prevent theft is to lock your steering and ignition. It is still possible for thieves to take it, but they’ll need to work harder to take your bike. Parking in public locations, using wheel locks, and investing in a movement alarm can reduce your risks of having the motorcycle stolen.

It also helps to keep your keys on you instead of having them stay with the bike or sit in a locker to prevent theft.

How Often Do Motorcycles Get Stolen?

About 45,000 motorcycles are stolen in the United States each year. Although that figure has declined in recent years, it has stayed relatively consistent for over two decades.

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Hondas are stolen more than any other brand. About twice as many are taken compared to Harley-Davidsons. Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are also popular motorcycles to target.

California experiences the most thefts each year, totaling about 8,000 reports. Florida is second, with approximately 4,200 reported incidents. Texas, New York, and South Carolina also see more problems with this issue than any other state.

What Are the Chances of Recovering a Stolen Motorcycle?

Approximately 46% of stolen motorcycles are eventually recovered. The first few days after the theft are the most important in mounting a successful recovery effort. Since bikes are relatively easy to take apart, they’re scrapped quickly to make money from the different parts and components.

Report the motorcycle missing as soon as possible. Get a copy of that paperwork and file it with your insurance company to get the ball rolling on the recovery effort.

Can I Take My Stolen Bike Back?

Although you can take your motorcycle back if you find it theoretically, the best option is to contact local law enforcement with the information about where it is. If you trespass onto someone’s property, you could be charged with a crime.

When you spot the motorcycle in a public space, like parked on the street, your recovery efforts associate with fewer potential consequences. The thief could have a weapon or know where you live, so there are always risks associated with this action.

What Do Thieves Do with Stolen Motorcycles?

Thieves can use trailers to steal motorcycles. Even after engaging the headlocks or using chipped keys, you can push a bike into a van or load it on a trailer to take it.

motorcycle with engine removed

That’s why equipping a motorcycle with an anti-motion alarm is helpful. Without this tool, a thief hoists the bike into the truck or trailer, drives it to their shop, and cuts the locks.

Another common technique is to steal your motorcycle while you’re using it. A group of thieves might run into your bike, force you to stop, then leave you on the side of the road.

It is also possible to hot-wire a motorcycle, although this technique is less common with modern key fobs.

How to Track a Stolen Motorcycle?

Motorcycle theft recovery often begins with a tracking mechanism installed on the bike. Different tools and tags connect to smartphone apps, producing data that enables owners to send information to local law enforcement.

Security camera footage helps to track and identify motorcycle thieves. You can send this information to the police with your tracking data.

If thieves want a quick payday, they might try selling your motorcycle to a local pawn shop or through an online listing. Look for descriptions that match your bike, then carefully contact the information if you find something that could be yours.

Do Police Recover Stolen Bikes?

File a report with your local police or sheriff’s office as soon as you know your motorcycle is gone. The faster this process starts, the more likely you will recover a stolen bike. Although the percentages are low compared to the other things thieves take, you’ll give yourself the best chance to avoid a complete loss with this step.

Your insurance company will want to see a copy of the police report if you process a claim.

If you locate your motorcycle, contact police officers to start the recovery process to ensure your safety.

What to Do If You See Someone Riding Your Stolen Bike?

If you notice someone riding your motorcycle in public, the first step is to call the police. You can dial 911 in the US or another local emergency services number. If you don’t want the incident treated as an emergency, you can call the police station directly to file a report.

Try to provide as much information about the person, place, and time as possible.

It might be tempting to chase someone who has your motorcycle, but that decision could lead to unwanted consequences. If you do follow, try to keep your distance and avoid confrontation with the individual.

Motorcycle Theft Recovery: Is There Anything Else I Can Do?

From creating a stolen motorcycle thread on social media to alerting friends and family that your bike is gone, you can create an in-person and online network that keeps an eye out for it.

Although a motorcycle stolen and recovered is not a guaranteed outcome, it is possible when you act quickly.

Suppose you filed an insurance claim that your policy paid, and a stolen motorcycle that the police recover becomes the insurance company’s property. The exact procedure varies, but you might receive an offer to repurchase the bike if you haven’t purchased a new one.

Contact your insurer immediately if the motorcycle is recovered during the claims process. That will halt the process and allow for a damage assessment.

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Mike Navarette has more than a decade of experience in the auto insurance industry, but that's not his true passion. He loves getting on a motorcycle to explore roads he's never traveled. You'll find Mike in the garage working on something when he isn't helping clients or leaning into curves. It's sometimes a side hustle, more often a favor, but it keeps his hands busy doing something productive. Since the first time his father strapped on his helmet and took him for a ride, Mike has loved bikes. That passion, along with a desire to help others through a deep understanding of insurance policies, led to the creation of Motorcycle Ride Coverage.

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