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Over 20,000 bikes stolen every year

AROUND 20,000 bicycles were stolen in Dublin last year, as the number of people cycling into the city soared by 14pc.

More people than ever are choosing the healthy option of cycling, but this has also lead to a big increase in the number of bike thefts.

Figures from the CSO show that the number of bike thefts in Ireland has doubled since the introduction of the Bike to Work Scheme in 2009.

In Dublin, 4,500 bikes thefts were reported in 2013, but the actual number stolen is likely to be around 20,000, according to the Dublin Cycling Campaign.

It based the figure on household surveys and international experience that bike theft is rarely reported.

Along with breaking locks and stealing full bikes, thieves often swipe wheels, saddles, lights and even saddle bags from bikes.

Statistics have shown that the chances of a bike thief being caught are low, with a conviction rate of just 2pc.

Earlier this week it emerged that people were taking to their bikes in the capital in a big way.

Figures included in the Heavy Rail Census showed that 9,061 people cycled into town a day in 2013 - a 14pc increase on 2012.

Muireann O'Dea, who has been cycling in the city for the last 30 years, told the Herald that it was great to see such a big jump in the number of cyclists on the streets.

"The increase in cyclists in the city is fantastic. It means that motorists are more aware of cyclists on the roads making it safer," she said.

Ms O'Dea, who cycles 12km form Terenure to the city centre and back every day, said that there was less glass on the road than in the 80s, but also that some of the cycle lanes were inadequate.

"It can be a problem in some areas. I have a fairly quiet route but it can be difficult particularly with cyclists in bus lanes," she said.

But the benefits for Ms O'Dea are clear. "I arrive to work with a clear head and I'm not stressed," she said.

Risk

The popularly of cycling shows no signs of slowing down with 230,000 bicycles imported into Ireland each year.

But theft remains a major problem, with the Dublin Cycling Campaign urging more action on crime.

"Many people give up on cycling after their expensive bicycle is stolen and it discourages others from taking up cycling as the word about the high risk of theft spreads," Keith Byrne, chairman of the campaign, said.

"Bike theft is a low-risk, high-reward crime. If cars were being stolen at this rate there would be uproar," he added.

hnews@herald.ie


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