You’ve seen them–brightly colored bikes and scooters left at intersections, bike rakes, parks and neighborhoods around the East Valley. The rideshares operate similarly to Uber and Lyft. A person uses an app to find a bike or scooter, pays to rent it, then drops it off when finished.

Since electric bikes and scooters are relatively new to Arizona, the exact laws are still unclear. The rules can also change from city to city. Always research the rules and regulations for electric bikes and scooters in your municipality before riding. This can help prevent accidents and avoid legal trouble. We have a list of helpful sites at the conclusion of this article.

Unless your electric scooter qualifies as a moped, you can take it anywhere you could take a bicycle in Arizona – including sidewalks (although Tempe says no sidewalks except for use in crossing or to gain access to private road or driveway). However, it’s crucial to use caution on busy sidewalks or in bustling city centers with lots of traffic. As bike and scooter-sharing programs like Uber, Bird and Lime become more popular, pedestrians and drivers have expressed frustration at the apparent lack of courtesy some electric bike and scooter users display to others.

How does it work? Here’s a how-to from Uber JUMP: (We tried an Uber JUMP bike and enjoyed the ride and convenience.)

1. Find: Open the Uber app and select Bike & Scooter from the top menu to locate and reserve a JUMP bike or scooter nearby.

2. Ride: Enter your PIN on the bike or simply scan the QR code on the scooter to unlock. Put on a helmet and go.

3. Park: Lock bikes to a bike rack and park scooters on the sidewalk keeping them out of the way of pedestrians and other vehicles. Locking the bike to a rack or stationary post officially ends the ride and prevents riders from just leaving them in yards and on sidewalks. Check the local requirements about where to park your JUMP bike properly.

Safety tips: If you’re dying to give the electric vehicles a whirl, we’re sharing a few safety tips to keep you safe on the road, from Uber JUMP: Temp St. Luke reports e-scooter injuries are on the rise.

1. Wear a helmet. Experts believe that safe riding begins with wearing a helmet. Don’t have one? Uber has partnered with Thousand and Retrospec to provide great deals on their helmets.

2. Inspect, then ride. JUMP’s technicians perform multi-point inspections to help ensure that each bike and scooter is fit for riding, but it’s important to always check that tires are in good condition and brakes operate correctly before you ride. Bike riders can also adjust their seat height for comfort.

3. Know your brakes. Always brake early and gradually – especially when going downhill. Bike riders should use both brakes at the same time. For scooter riders, there is also a step brake above the rear tire.

4. Follow traffic laws. Yield to pedestrians, ride in the direction of traffic, signal if you’re planning to change directions, and come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs. Check your city government’s website for local laws.

5. Be alert. Be mindful of large vehicles making wide right turns, avoid riding in other vehicles’ blind spots, and be focused and alert. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings and never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

6. Park responsibly. Finished riding? Park inside the JUMP zone shown on the map in your app and be aware of no-parking areas. Make sure you’re looking out for others and never leave your bike or scooter blocking walkways or accessibility ramps.

Don’t forget to have fun. The bikes have electric motors to help you pedal, mounts for smartphones and big baskets to carry belongings. They’re perfect for tourists, college students and adventurous residents. But don’t ride them and leave them at Arizona State University. ASU impounds electric scooters left on campus. Avoid any public property that has been posted or designed by the owner of such property as an area prohibiting skateboards, scooters or bicycles.

Here’s a list of useful sites for more information:

Uber bikes: https://www.uber.com/ride/uber-bike/

Grid: http://gridbikes.com/

Lime: https://www.li.me/

Bird: https://www.bird.co/

There’s even an app that has a central directory to tell users which bike-shares are the closest: https://transitapp.com/

Field Guide to Bake Share Programs in Metro Phoenix: https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/bike-share-guide-phoenix-tempe-scottsdale-10223591

Arizona Laws: https://itstillruns.com/electric-scooter-laws-arizona-6062781.html

AZFamily.com: https://www.azfamily.com/news/caught_misbehaving/surge-of-scooters-in-tempe-and-scottsdale/article_b109b246-12d1-11e9-8717-b3c41d7a29c1.html

And

https://www.azfamily.com/news/er-nurse-electric-scooter-injuries-on-the-rise/article_7a3d8a24-f901-11e8-908c-7fb8d6b95605.html

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

Mesa motorized skateboards: https://www.mesaaz.gov/home/showdocument?id=9936

Arizona Bike Law: https://azbikelaw.org/escooter/

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