Scooters are coming to Downtown Phoenix. Here's what you need to know

by Lauren Potter
Business Development Lauren Potter September 10, 2019

(Photo: Lauren Potter)

You’ve seen the white poles popping up on street corners around Downtown Phoenix. You know, the ones with a reflective yellow sticker at the top sporting a scooter icon. Well, these poles are the first visible sign of the City’s e-scooter pilot program which launches on Monday, Sept. 16.
To kick off the scooter program, we’re hosting a free Launch & Learn on Monday at Adams Street between Central Ave. and First Street from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — where you can take a test ride a scooter, enter a helmet giveaway, get safety tips from Banner Urgent Care and cool off with a complimentary cup of Kona shaved ice. E-scooter companies will also be present to answer any questions that may not be answered below.

E-scooter pilot program details

The six-month pilot program basically gives the city a chance to do a trial run that allows companies to operate electric scooters in Downtown Phoenix until March 15, 2020. The city will evaluate the program’s success in the first three month and at the end of the sixth months to determine if it will continue based on user and vendor compliance and community feedback.
Unlike in other local cities, e-scooters that are rented through companies like Bird, Lime and Spin in downtown, must be parked in one of the nearly 400 designated parking zones — which are sectioned off with white poles. Locations can be found in the scooter vendor apps. If you don’t park in one of these zones you won’t be able to end your ride — you’ll keep getting charged.

White poles with yellow reflective stickers designate the nearly 400 parking zones for e-scooters in Downtown Phoenix.(Photo: Lauren Potter)

Where you can ride

The pilot program’s geographic boundary covers most of the area between Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue, from McDowell Road to Buckeye Road, with a triangular section to the west extending between Roosevelt Street and Grand Avenue to 15th Avenue. The scooters will slow down and eventually stop if you ride outside of these areas. Want to test ride a scooter? Attend the launch event.

Where you can’t ride

Riding on sidewalks is prohibited, except when parking in a designated area (some are on streets, some are on sidewalks). Several popular public areas within the program boundaries are considered “no ride zones” and are off limits to scooters: the west side of Margaret T. Hance Park, Civic Space Park, Patriot’s Park at CityScape, Burton Barr Central Library, Arizona Center, Chase Field, Talking Stick Resort Area, school campuses and others. Scooters will slow and stop in these areas.

Rules you need to know

• Riding on the sidewalk is prohibited (ride on the street near the curbline)
• Park only in designated parking area​s or you’ll keep getting charged
• Obey all traffic laws​ including D.U.I.
• Ride only within the program boundaries (and avoid “no ride” zones)

Safety tips

• Wear a helmet (highly encouraged while not required)
• Always ride with both hands
• One person/rider per scooter
• Be aware of your surroundings
• Yield to pedestrians and other vehicles (cars, bikes, buses and light rail)
• Visit the city’s website for more information about the pilot program.

What the program means for personal scooters

Many of the pilot program rules do not apply to personal scooters, but there are two biggies to keep in mind: 1) You cannot ride your personal scooter on the sidewalk. 2) No ride zones also apply to personal scooters (but there’s technically no geofence to prevent you from riding in those areas).
If you own a scooter, you are allowed to ride outside of the pilot program geographic boundaries. You must also obey all road rules and are encouraged to follow the recommended safety tips, too.

How the pilot program came about

When e-scooter companies joined the business leadership and advocacy organization Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA), they engaged with PCA’s Multi-Modal Connectivity Committee. The committee advocates for initiatives related to rail, bus, biking, walking, safe streets and more. It was during these meetings the need for a pilot program allowing scooters was identified. So, PCA worked closely with the scooter companies to make recommendations to the city on a pilot program.
Once implementation of the program began, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership began working closely with the City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department to help prepare downtown for this new transportation method.

Need more info?

The Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors are familiar with the program and will be trained by each scooter company on how to use their apps. Look for the Ambassadors in their signature orange “ask me” shirts or call 602-495-1500.

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