It’s an unfortunate reality that e-trikes make great targets for thieves. The combination of high value and commonly inadequate anti-theft protection, make e-bikes and e-trikes low-hanging fruit for thieves.
E-trikes are usually stolen in one of two ways: either by having parts scavenged or by having the whole electric bicycle stolen in one fell swoop. Your best bet is to protect yourself from both of these scenarios.
A thief with the right tools can defeat any bike lock in minutes, but that doesn’t mean all locks are created equal. A thief will have a hard time cutting through a harden steel U-lock or chain. That said, a thief is more than likely to go after a cheaper, lightweight cable lock with a bolt cutter. To decide how much security you need, consider your location and how long you’ll be away from your electric trike.
So, what’s the best way to keep your electric trike safe? Here are some suggestions:
1. Location, Location, Location
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. This may be common sense, but it still needs to be said: be careful where you lock your etrike. You know where the bad parts of your town are – just don’t park there. Why needlessly increase your chance of theft?
Do your best to avoid shady areas that are likely hives of bike theft activity. If you know that a few certain blocks are notoriously bad areas, park a little farther away and walk the last bit of distance (if feasible). Not only will it decrease the chance of having your LT stolen, but you’ll get some free exercise too!
2. Bring your etrike inside with you
If possible. Sometimes you can’t avoid trips to bad areas of town. Maybe that’s where the farmer’s market is, or the best pizza place in town, or the only WalMart (phew). If you don't feel comfortable leaving it outside, try to bring your electric trike inside with you.
Many retail establishments, like supermarkets and shopping centers actually allow people to bring their bike/trikes inside the building. Ask an employee if it is ok to bring your bicycle inside and leave it near the door. Then, lock the wheel to the frame so that no one can easily wheel it out. It will be pretty obvious if someone is trying to drag a locked up etrike out of the store to their vehicle.
4. Park in well lit areas
At night, park in an area with good visibility, preferably directly under a streetlight. Thieves don’t like to be the center of attention during their activity, and having a giant spot light shining on them while they work is a strong deterrent.
5. Get the tightest fit possible
Make it more difficult for the thieves to use their tools. The less room the better!
6. Lock your Electric Trike to a solid object
This makes it much more difficult for a robber to fiddle with. Think— a parking meter, tree, or fence.
7. Bike locks: the more the merrier
Use more than one bicycle lock, preferably of different styles and brands. If one bike lock is good, then two bike locks are better.
8. Bring anything with you that can be easily removed from your trike
For example, the battery, a horn, light—anything that you would value.
9. Lock the trike according to its value
What does this mean? Lock the frame and lock the front, or back wheel (wherever the hub motor is at!)
10. Position the lock off the ground with the keyhole facing downwards
TYPES OF LOCKS
U-LOCKS—All day lockups in a major metro area where thefts are common require more security. Using a U-Lock and a secondary security lock will keep the thieves away. The U-Lock has a fixed shape which allows for quick and easy locking/unlocking.The shape of this lock prevents leverage type attacks from thieves but whatever you are locking it to, that fixed object cannot be wider than “U” shape on the lock.There are many different lengths of the “U” shapes that you can purchase.
CHAIN LOCKS—are another high-quality full security lock. The chain lock can be locked to nearly any solid object—well, almost any object. Snake the chain through different parts of your trike for additional protection. Pair the chain lock with a U-Lock for a greater advantage against thieves. The higher end chain locks are equipped with a nylon sleeve that will prevent scratches.
FOLDING LOCKS—these bad boys are a newer lock that have been designed to solve some of the problems of the traditional u-locks and bike chains. But because of the way it can be shaped, they will give you more locking opportunities than a u-lock. You’ll be able to lock your trike to a utility post or secure two bikes together. A folding lock are less heavy than a u-lock and its compact design makes it easier to transport. Generally folding locks are at the lower end of security, but they are good for securing two bikes together, and while adding an additional a u-lock and/or a chain lock.
CABLE LOCKS— these guys are a light, easy to carry and fasten but a cheap alternative. We suggest that you never secure your LT with just a cable lock! There’s one thing for certain, if you secure your trike with a cable lock, it will be stolen. It’s just a question of when. The most important thing to realize here, is to not use a cable lock as a primary lock. Many people will use it as a secondary lock to a u-lock or a chain lock.