£50,000 prize for best anti-theft device

Deadline is looming for budding designers to nab a £50,000 bike prize. Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, is running Hands off my bike to combat bike theft. Over half a million bikes are stolen in the UK every year and just five per cent are recovered, putting a strain of public resources, leaving commuters stranded and convincing thousands of cyclists to hang up their helmets for good.

Nesta set the challenge to combat bike theft and get people back on two wheels for giving it the snappy title of ‘Hands off my bike.’ The challenge, which is due to close on 18 January, is open to all UK adults – from cycling enthusiasts to crime busting designers – and offers a £50,000 prize for the innovation that takes the longest time to steal a bike.

The innovation will be also judged on the impact on the environment, cost and potential for commercialisation and/or implementation at scale.

Judges of the challenge include Brompton’s managing director, Will Butler-Adams, and award-winning UK designer and Sustrans patron, Wayne Hemingway MBE, along with other experts from a range of bike retail, cycling, security and design backgrounds. The panel will also include Shenol Shaddouh, a former prolific bike thief who has since retrained as a bike mechanic and has been developing his own design of bike lock with the help and support of social enterprise, Bikeworks.

In other words, if you’ve ever spent time scrawling bike locks on the back of a beer mat, now is the time to tidy up your idea and pop it in the post. Because £50,000 would buy a very nice bike – and a lot of locks.

For tips and advice on entering the challenge see the Hands off my bike workshop video. Application to the challenge is through online submission only at and the deadline is 12 noon on 18 January 2013.

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