Public fights back against bike theft

boobytrap your bicycle, smoke grenade

Dramatic footage this week emerged of the moment a gang of bike thieves in East London were confronted by members of the public.

Thieves had used a cordless angle grinder in broad daylight to cut away locks from bicycles in Victoria Park as hundreds of people passed by in the afternoon sunshine. However, rather than ignore the noise and shower of sparks, a small group confronted the thieves and prevented them from making off with the bikes. Experiments carried out in New York and London have shown folk routinely overlook bikes being stolen in this way, but this time was different. Perhaps lockdown has fostered a sense of community spirit that will see brazen bike thieves stopped in their tracks.

Bicycle Boobytraps

Using little more than a standard water bottle, a retractable lanyard and a smoke grenade of the sort used in military reenactments it is possible to build a simple and effective booby trap to dissuade bicycle thieves. The EG18 smoke grenades cost about £5 each and produce a 30-second burst of thick acrid smoke. Watch our short video on how to assemble your own anti-theft smoke grenade booby trap.

Gangs of bike thieves in London and other cities operate with near impunity. A good insurance cycle policy provides a vital safety net for riders…with some deciding to complemented the cover with imaginative bike theft countermeasures.

Don’t forget cycle insurance

Whatever bike theft countermeasures you put in place, don’t be without a good cycle insurance policy. With ETA cycle insurance, however old the bike, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model. Furthermore, every cycle insurance policy you buy from us helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future. No wonder The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be Britain’s most ethical provider




  1. Steve


    I love the thought of booby traps for bike thieves. Why won’t the Police use bikes with hidden trackers, so they can catch the thieves. So simple. Can you suggest this ?

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