Report: Motorcycle thefts rise for third straight year

As motorcycle enthusiasts are participating in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is encouraging riders to take extra care of their bikes. Motorcycle thefts increased seven percent from 2021 to 2022, marking another year of rising thefts, according to the NICB’s 2022 Vehicle Type Theft Report.

2022 motorcycle theft data by manufacturer (NICB).

An average of 4,561 motorcycles were reported stolen each month in 2022. Thefts climbed steadily from a low of 2,879 in February, peaking in July at 6,394. Motorcycle thefts surpassed the monthly average during the warmer season from May through October.

“While we witness the rise in vehicle thefts year after year, we are encouraging all owners, and especially motorcycle riders to take great care in protecting their property,” said David J. Glawe, president and CEO of NICB. “Even though you can’t completely control when criminals target you or your vehicle, you can help deter would-be thieves by taking proactive, easy, and effective steps to prevent these thefts.”

Californians again led the pack in reporting the most motorcycle thefts, with 9,838 stolen bikes in 2022, accounting for 30 percent of all motorcycle thefts in the United States. Reporting less than half of California’s total thefts, Florida’s and Texas’ riders experienced the second and third most motorcycle thefts during the same period, with 4,563 and 4,145 reports, respectively.

The top 10 states for motorcycle thefts made up 60 percent of the 54,736 motorcycle theft reports in the U.S. in 2022. As reports of stolen motorcycles rise, more than 40 percent are recovered thanks to the efforts of law enforcement agencies. The NICB works with state and federal law enforcement agencies to target criminal organizations engaged in insurance fraud.

2022 motorcycle theft data by month (NICB).

The NICB recommends the following tips to protect motorcycles:

  • Park in well-lit areas, lock your ignition and remove your keys.
  • Lock your bike even when stored in a garage. Investing in an alarm system can significantly deter potential thieves.
  • Keep your title secure. Don’t store it in your motorcycle’s storage compartment.
  • By placing unique markings on your motorcycle and documenting them, if your bike is ever stolen, you can use these markings to identify your property.
  • Always keep an eye on your vehicle while leaving it idle. Riderless, running motorcycles are prime targets for thieves.
  • If your vehicle is stolen, call law enforcement and your insurer immediately. NICB data shows that reporting a vehicle as soon as possible after it is stolen increases the chance of recovery.