Protecting Your eScooter From Theft (Locks, Life, & More)
Welcome to our guide on how to protect your eScooter from theft. The PLEV space is constantly innovating in tandem with technology, with many top-end/high-performance models now on the market. But whether you got it on a budget or gave up an arm and a leg, nobody wants to return to a stolen scooter!
The theft of electric scooters and other PLEVs has quickly become commonplace amongst big cities and urban environments. For example, ~150 boxed eScooters were recently stolen in Scotland, totalling a value of approx. £100,000 ($135,000). Whilst this instance is more of an organised heist than a simple opportune theft, it shows a clear criminal interest in these vehicles.
Reportedly in Poland, one in ten electric scooter riders throughout 2021 experienced theft. Although worth noting, riders don’t really need to worry about theft if it’s just a rental scooter, as most thieves will not even bother. However, it’s still smart to remove any of your belongings or gadgets before leaving your eScooter unattended—even if the ride is rented, your personal items are most likely not!
The Basics of eScooter Security
We cover all of these in greater detail below, but here’s a quick list of all the basics when it comes to securing your eScooter:
Gadgets and technological aids.
Suitable locks in strategic locations.
Park sensibly in a well-lit, populated area.
Remove the battery and other functioning components where possible.
Now, let’s get into the details on how to protect your eScooter from theft. To help best protect your ride, we will cover all the points listed above. From locking, parking, insurance and additional gadgets, you’ll learn everything you need to know; starting with our locking tips and the most suitable locks for your scooter.
Tips for Locking Your eScooter
Choosing the right placement for your lock can sometimes prove more important than the lock itself. We highly recommend locking your eScooter directly from the frame in a secure and well-lit location. In many cases, thieves will remove disc-locked scooters with relative ease by just removing the wheel.
For added security, look for an eScooter model with a key lock ignition. This prevents anyone from starting your scooter without the key, which is a great additional assurance. While many models incorporate this into their design already, riders can install their own key ignition with the right kit—quite inexpensively, too!
For an eScooter, a simple lock proves incredibly effective at stopping a successful theft, along with reducing the number of attempts overall. Learn all about locking your eScooter securely below:
Locking Your eScooter Securely
One of the most important aspects of safety, locking your eScooter is an excellent way to deter theft. However, it’s not as simple as throwing a chain around the wheel and forgetting about it. First, you must consider the location of your lock. For example, thieves are known to remove locked-in components altogether, leaving riders with little more than a wheel and chain.
In this section, we will cover strategic locking locations, key ignitions, the best lock design for an eScooter, and other such safety tips. Let’s start off with the types of locks and which one best suits scooters:
A ring lock remains ideal for any eScooter model with open spoked wheels. A hardened steel ring and cable running through the centre wraps through the rim of the wheel, preventing any rotation or movement when locked in. These types are also used in disc brake locks, which are meant to quickly immobilize most scooters.
We heavily recommend using these locks on a secure locking point or anchor, preventing any thieves from simply picking your scooter up and walking off. Lots of leading brands stock varying ring lock designs, with most claiming good security ratings and offering improved protection over a cable lock (for example).
However, certain designs function in tandem and can be attached or ‘plugged-in’ to a cable lock for even stronger security. While cable locks are easily bypassed with bolt cutters, this combination is enough to deter opportunists and casual thieves.
Designed for bicycles, cable locks remain the most affordable option on the market, although they are easily bypassed. Anything that wraps around and fits inside a cable lock can be secured, with the lock itself proving highly portable and lightweight.
Other than this, they really are not very strong at all; serving more as a barrier to entry for thieves than a real safeguard. Due to how easy it is to destroy a cable lock, we heavily recommend using them in combination with a more effective locking mechanism, such as a D-lock.
Also known as ‘U-Locks’, this design proves itself as one of the most secure and effective locks for an electric scooter. Essentially a hardened steel shackle, D-locks attach between the scooter and a solid base, such as a lamp post or bollard. They’re amongst the most popular choices for electric bikes and scooters alike, with Kryptonite proving one of the best brands.
The reduced portability and rigid design is the only real disadvantage to using these locks, which are not as portable as cable locks, for instance. Overall sturdiness and ease of use make D-locks a top choice, requiring thieves to come prepared with power tools or some serious bolt cutters.
The disc lock is a unique and effective method in immobilizing any eScooter with a brake calliper quickly. When attached, these locks essentially stop the entire wheel from turning, massively impacting mobility.
However, in many cases, thieves will simply remove a locked wheel and carry off the frame. As such, we recommend using this lock alongside Ring/D-locks, or anything that can firmly lock an eScooter frame to a solid support.
Scooter Chain Locks
A scooter chain lock is simply a much stronger cable lock, utilising covered chain links over wire cabling. As they’re often solid steel, wire cutters won’t do much against them—they normally require a hacksaw or bolt cutters to bypass instead, which takes much longer and draws more attention to the thief.
Many designs strike a great balance between security and price, with some even good enough for use on motorcycles and mopeds. Despite this, we highly recommend purchasing a recommended motor-grade lock over a scooter chain if you ride a moped or motorbike.
Parking Your eScooter & Rider Diligence
Another important factor in minimising the risk of eScooter theft is how you park. Firstly, we always recommend parking in a well-lit and populated area with lots of pedestrians passing by. Parking off the beaten path may seem secluded, yet it gives thieves the opportunity to work in peace and quiet.
Bring Your eScooter Inside
Many riders use their eScooter for commuting, then park outside their workplace. Even if your ride is securely locked, it’s always beneficial to see if you can bring it inside first. This also extends to shops, barbers and many other places. If the location allows for it, we always recommend bringing your eScooter inside with you.
Remove Batteries & Other Components
If you can, we recommend removing critical components such as the battery or controller. This will stop thieves from being able to power on and use your eScooter. Whilst this may not always deter thefts, it’s a great way to prevent most of them. We especially enjoy models with adjustable/removable handlebars, as few thieves will bother with an unrideable scooter.
Get Insurance for Your eScooter
With so much innovation and many mighty models on the market, some eScooters can cost as much as a car. As such, it’s no surprise that riders would want the assurance of full coverage against theft and even personal/property damage due to accidents. Depending on your quote, most policies remain relatively inexpensive and offer a great failsafe against eScooter theft.
Let’s move on to all of the amazing gadgets scooter owners can fit onto their ride for added security. Whilst some models on the market come with these already incorporated, a number of cost-effective after-market options are available for retrofitting. These gadgets all improve on security, while also helping riders locate their scooter post-theft.
Big brands such as Xiaomi, Apollo and Segway all have their own mobile apps with authentication. This allows for easy location tracking and greatly increases the chance of retrieving a stolen scooter. Some eScooters even lock from their respective app, making it impossible for thieves to start without hacking.
However, mobile apps aren’t the only method of tracking your eScooter. We heavily recommend using a GPS tracker on your eScooter.
Without a tracker, the chances of retrieving a stolen scooter are slim. They’re competitively priced and save a great deal of stress in the event of theft. This technology has quickly been incorporated by some stock models, but it remains an integral addition for all riders.
Alarms for Your eScooter
Alarms prove a powerful deterrent in stopping a thief in the act. Whilst many after-market alarms are readily available and easily installed, some locks also incorporate alarms for added security.
Although typically reserved for moped/motorcycle locks, any lock with an alarm takes care of two issues at once. Many alarms also incorporate trackers, helping you locate your scooter any time it is lost or stolen. Some immobilizer alarms even disable the electronics when activated!
Disguise Your eScooter
If you’re on a tight budget, you should consider some psychological warfare. There are plenty of fake GPS trackers that operate as little more than flashing LEDs. This alone could deter some of the more nervous thieves.
If you don’t care much for the appearance of your ride, camouflaging it as old or rusty can cause thieves to doubt its value and wonder whether it’s worth their time.
Thanks for reading our guide to protecting your eScooter from theft. Incorporating any of these strategies will greatly improve the security of your scooter.
So in short, an optimally protected scooter should be:
Parked and locked securely
Key locked (ignition)
Insured and alarmed
Tracked via GPS
From locks and alarms to insurance, it’s hard to say what the most important aspect of protecting your eScooter is. However, one thing remains certain: it’s up to each individual rider to assess their needs and overall risk.
Got something you think we should add? Leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you!