Mon, Mar 11, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Dealerships offer ways to combat motorcycle theft

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Increasing numbers of local motorcycle and scooter dealerships have begun to offer special anti-theft measures to customers to help them prevent their motorbikes from being stolen.

According to National Police Administration (NPA) statistics, in 1991 there were 1.25 million registered motorcycles and scooters in Taipei City.

Ten years later, the total amount of registered motorcycles and scooters in Taipei City stands at 2.5 million.

The total amount of registered motorcycles and scooters nationwide is more than 11 million. However, approximately 200,000 of the motorbikes are stolen every year.

Wu Kuo-yang (吳國揚), a motorbike technician who owns and runs a dealership and repairshop in Chungho, Taipei County, said that there is actually very little a person can do to prevent his or her motorbike from being targeted.

"Some people use two locks on their bikes -- one on the front wheel and the other on the rear wheel. But it doesn't really help," Wu said.

Wu said that there are some precautions that can be taken to make a motorbike less attractive to thieves, such as making it harder for its individual parts to be resold.

"Usually, thieves will rip apart a motorbike right after they steal it," he said. "As a result, the easiest way is to spray-paint different colors directly onto the motorcycle or scooter. Most thieves will not be interested in spray-painted bikes because they will have to spend extra money and time to repaint them if they want to sell the parts."

Wu said that people can simply paint their motorbikes themselves or they can have a technician do it. He said that many dealerships will paint a new motorbike for free when it is purchased.

Another popular anti-theft measure that dealerships offer is to imprint the motorbike's vehicle identification number on the corners of 20 to 30 different parts of the motorbike. This method usually comes with full insurance coverage. According to Wu, having the identification numbers put on the motorbike only costs about NT$1,000 and can be done within an hour.

"It's like having a sign on it that says `you will have a hard time selling me' to the thieves," Wu said. "As a result, we don't imprint the number on every single part of the motorbike. Putting it on the parts that will easily be seen [by a thief] is good enough."

Since the number is put on the corners of the parts, the appearance of the motorbike is not altered, as with painting. In addition, should the bike be stolen anyway, the owners will be able to get part of their money back from the insurance company.

"It's a pain for anyone to have his bike stolen," said Diao Chien-sheng (刁建生), chief of the NPA's Traffic Section. "The NPA welcomes these two new methods provided by dealerships.

"It's a shame that we have so many stolen motorbikes every year. Regardless of whether it is going to be successful or not, we have to try everything possible to decrease the amount of thefts."

Chen Po-yu (陳柏羽), a vehicle databank operative at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Department of Motor Vehicles in Chiayi City, said that it is almost impossible for owners to get their motorbikes back once they are stolen because they are generally taken apart for their parts. The parts are then sold in Southeast Asia or China.

Besides the anti-theft methods offered by dealerships, some riders have their own solutions.

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