Despite the soaring popularity of electric bikes in a rapidly growing market, where high-end models are becoming increasingly expensive, these bikes are not immune to theft. Even with conventional anti-theft measures such as key or code systems, it is not uncommon for these security measures to be rendered useless in less than a minute when attacked by a specialist.
In the UK alone, a staggering 250,000 bicycles are stolen each year, which means that one bike gets snatched every two minutes. The prevalence of bike theft in the country is a growing concern for bike owners, and the statistics highlight the need for better security measures to safeguard against such incidents. Even though modern e-bikes come with anti-theft devices, reports suggest that only two percent of stolen bikes and e-bikes are returned by the police. What happens to the remaining 98 percent? Well, a lot of them are sold online through classifieds, or more probably, taken apart and sold for their parts.
In an attempt to put an end to electric bicycle theft, a British e-bike specialist called BackPedal has developed a rather interesting solution: the combination of technology and good old-fashioned on-ground manpower. Starting off with the tech side of the equation, the GPS system in BackPedal’s bikes is integrated into the bike’s battery instead of having its own power source. This way, the tracker will be able to emit a signal for a much longer period of time – that is until the e-bike’s battery is depleted.
As a failsafe, the GPS unit also has its own battery that’s charged via the e-bike’s battery. This is so that it can still be tracked even with the e-bike battery removed. Furthermore, the GPS system is connected to a rather robust cloud-based network via NB-IoT or LTE-M technologies through 2G or 4G networks. As such, real-time location of the bike can be recorded, making it possible to trace the location of a suspected stolen e-bike in real-time.
All that being said, what good is a sophisticated tracking system if you have no one to act upon the information. This is where BackPedal’s team of on-ground personnel comes into play. Consisting of retired police and military personnel scatted across the UK, BackPedal’s on-ground team is able to act on suspected bike theft at a moment’s notice. Should a theft be confirmed, the local authorities can be alerted, saving precious time when it comes to recovering the stolen bike.
At present, BackPedal’s team already conducts operations in London, Southampton, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. The company hopes to expand operations in more cities soon. At present, BackPedal claims an impressive success rate of 89 percent when it comes to recovering stolen bikes. The way the system works is through a monthly subscription package following a thirty-day free trial. Once the trial expires, the company charges 8.99 pounds, or the equivalent of $11.35 USD, per month.