How to Stay Safe on Shared Bikes and E-Scooters

The first e-scooter in the U.S. hit the pavement in 2010, and since then, the use of electric scooters and bikes has exploded in popularity. In fact, according to an industry report, commuters and tourists all across the country have logged more than half a billion trips. 

With the addition of bike sharing,  you have a plethora of alternative transportation options for getting around Arizona. And it’s only expected to keep growing.

Economists predict the e-bike market will expand to $1.6 billion by 2027. And in 2021, e-bikes outsold electric cars, noting “These trends suggest a large market for e-bikes as they shift from a novelty or recreational vehicles to a viable and reliable mode for regular travel.” 

This growth, on the surface, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The increased transportation options can offer benefits to individuals and communities, including more healthy movement, a reduction in emissions, and decreasing the need for vehicles to pollute roadways (literally and figuratively).  

However, even though they offer an alternative way of getting around, “As with all new technology, there are new problems, which were never a consideration before,” Phoenix Community Action Officer Jared Sherman told Arcadia News

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) found that there was a spike in emergency room-treated injuries from 2017-2021 in accidents that involved motorized scooters, bikes, and hoverboards. Injuries rose 127 percent, with over 77,200 injuries nationwide and 129 fatalities over the four-year period. Rented electric scooters accounted for 17,400 of the reported injuries. And 48 percent of e-scooter riders were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. 

Using a shared bike or e-scooter means you’re automatically more vulnerable than when in an enclosed vehicle such as a car or bus. So, how do you protect yourself while on Arizona’s busy streets and bicycle paths? It starts with knowing the local laws. 

Familiarize Yourself With Arizona’s Laws

Arizona’s laws for shared bikes and e-scooters are designed to protect riders, pedestrians, and motorists alike. Every city has ordinances regulating where and how you can use these vehicles. In cities like Tempe and Phoenix, the laws are as such:

  • Riders of bikes, e-bikes, and scooters must ride with the flow of traffic, yield to pedestrians, and give an audible signal before passing.
  • Adult riders are encouraged to use bike lanes when available and ride in the street when the speed limit is 25 mph or below.
  • Minors under 18 can ride on the sidewalk with parental consent or accompaniment.
  • E-bike motors must be disengaged when riding on the sidewalk.
  • Motorists must provide a distance of at least 3 feet when passing a cyclist, with fines for violations up to $500.
  • E-scooters with electric motors under 75 pounds and a maximum speed of 25 mph are treated like bicycles and e-bikes under Arizona law, requiring no license, registration, or insurance.

Safety Tips for Shared Bikes and E-Scooters

Understanding safety concerns is vital to protecting yourself and others. Here are some safety tips to follow when riding a shared bike or e-scooter:

  • Always wear a helmet. Even if it’s not always mandatory, wearing a helmet is a crucial safety measure because it has been shown to reduce the risk of all head injuries significantly.
  • Choose a well-fitted helmet that meets reasonable safety standards – and never ride without it.
  • Inspect your bike or e-scooter. Before you jet off, check the brakes, tire pressure, and lights. Even a quick, simple check can prevent common accidents. 
  • Stay visible and use your signals. Wear bright clothing, use reflective gear, and ensure your bike or e-scooter has functioning lights. These precautions are vital for being seen by drivers and pedestrians, especially during early morning, late evening, or in poor weather conditions. Always signal your turns and stops to alert other road users of your intentions (use hand signals if need be).
  • Be careful when sharing the road with others. Use bike lanes whenever possible to stay safe. When riding on the road, maintain a safe distance, follow traffic signals and signs, and always ride in the direction of traffic. 
  • Avoid distractions. Keep your attention on the road. Distractions are always dangerous. Avoid using your phone, listening to loud music, or doing anything else that could distract you from your surroundings – and potential hazards. Staying alert will give you enough time to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic.

Have You Been Injured? We Can Help.

Before you venture out into busy roadways, consider practicing with a shared bike or e-scooter in quieter, less congested areas. Dedicated bike paths are often ideal for getting the hang of a shared bike or e-scooter. 

Even with taking all the safety precautions, accidents can still happen. If you wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.