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Crime For Members

Where in Austria is your bike most likely to be stolen?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Where in Austria is your bike most likely to be stolen?
Don't forget to buy a good lock for your bike. Image by Hans from Pixabay

Austria promotes green transport modes in its cities, offering plenty of bike paths and spots for cyclists to park - but bike theft is on the rise.

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The number of bicycle thefts in Austria rose last year for the first time since 2014 by ten percent to 18,566, according to the mobility organisation VCÖ.

Only in Vienna were fewer bicycles stolen in the previous year than in the year before that, and 60 percent of bicycle thefts occurred in the state capitals, the organisation added, citing data from the ministry of interior.

In relation to the population, Linz was the hotspot for bicycle thefts; according to the VCÖ, 63 bicycles were stolen per 10,000 inhabitants in Upper Austria's capital. It was followed by the cities of Salzburg and Klagenfurt, with 52 and 49 bicycle thefts per 10,000 people, respectively.

READ ALSO: Which crimes are on the rise in Austria?

"Bicycles are also a popular means of accessing public transport. Secure and sufficient bicycle parking spaces are needed at train stations, subway stations and, in particular, at bus stops in the regions," said VCÖ spokesperson Christian Gratzer. 

The organisation calls for secure parking spaces especially in highly frequented locations such as leisure facilities, shopping streets, sports facilities, universities and schools. 

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Where are the thefts taking place?

In total, there were 18,566 bicycle thefts registered in Austria in 2023, an increase of 10.4 percent compared to the year before. Here are the numbers for each state:

  • Vienna: 6,328 (down 6.7 percent)
  • Lower Austria: 2,747 (up 28.1 percent)
  • Upper Austria: 2,682 (up 27.2 percent)
  • Salzburg: 1,284 (up 4.6 percent)
  • Tyrol: 1,254 (up 4.2 percent)
  • Styria: 1,908 (up 4.7 percent)
  • Carinthia: 897 (up 11.0 percent)
  • Vorarlberg: 984 (up 141.2 percent)
  • Burgenland: 482 (up 49.2 percent)

The numbers in the capitals are related to population size.

  • Linz: 1,328 (63 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • Salzburg City: 813 (52 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • Klagenfurt: 510 (49 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • Innsbruck: 622 (47 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • Graz: 1,176 (39 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • Vienna: 6,328 (32 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • St. Pölten: 180 (31 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • Eisenstadt: 30 (19 bicycle thefts / 10,000 inhabitants)
  • Bregenz district: 331 bicycle thefts (24 bicycle thefts / 10,000 population)

READ ALSO: Which parts of Austria have the highest crime rates?

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How can you minimise risks?

Bike theft is a public issue, and governments are responsible for making the cities and states safer for cyclists. But you can also minimise the risks of getting your bike stolen, according to the VCÖ.

The organisation highlights the importance of always locking your parked bike, even if you only go into a store briefly. When locking up, ensure the frame and lock are attached to a bicycle bracket.

"If only the front wheel is attached to the bike stand, there is a risk that the bike will be removed and the rest of the bike stolen," explains VCÖ spokesperson Gratzer. Replace the quick release on the saddle and front wheel with safety bolts and use a high-quality bicycle lock.

Even though few bike theft cases are solved in Austria (the "clearance rate" remains low at 9.3 percent), the VCÖ recommends riders note the bike's frame number so that any recovered bikes can be handed over to the owner more easily.

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