5 Rules of Bike-Share Etiquette

How to use a bike-share program respectfully.EXPAND
How to use a bike-share program respectfully.
Courtesy of ofo
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

We’ve given you a breakdown of the few bike-share programs operating in metro Phoenix. Now you know where these rentable bikes are, how they work, how you pay, and so on. However, as with anything, etiquette is – or should be – involved.

Here are a few helpful tips on using bike-share programs across town. We’re not trying to be your mom. We just don't want you to look like a dick. Here we go:

1. Don’t toss it into the grass, into a bush, up a tree, into water, etc.
Like, seriously. It looks terrible, and it’s pretty much littering. Who are these people? Need an example? Check out the litterbikesofaz Instagram – a “what not to do” guide of participating in the personal mobility revolution.

"We’re regularly educating users with tips and best practices for proper parking via our app and through direct communication," say Eric Smith of ofo.

Just don't block the sidewalk – simple.EXPAND
Just don't block the sidewalk – simple.
Lauren Cusimano

2. Don’t abandon the bike in the middle of the sidewalk.
Sure, some other rider can come up, rent that bike, and zoom away – but more often than not, the company is coming to pick up that bike when they can get to it.

“The most obvious faux pas in the bike-share world is not locking the bike to a rack, and leave it blocking a sidewalk or some other public right of way,” says Jeff Titone, regional manager for Grid Bike Share. Eric Smith from ofo echoes this. “We hope riders not only benefit from our affordable, convenient new way to get around, but also respect the platform and community we’re building,” he says, Whether it’s parking out of right of ways, off of private property, vandalism or unsafe behavior, we hope riders respect the platform and are courteous to their community and others.”

3. Don’t block the bike rack with self-locking bikes.
This may not be very obvious. Some bike-share rigs lock themselves when inactivated – meaning they don’t function as bikes when there isn’t money on them and are called dockless or station-free bikesharing. Therefore, there isn’t a need to take up what may be a valuable spot at the bike rack.

A fellow rider, or someone using a program like Grid that utilizes U-locks, may need to lock up to that spot. Just consider placing your self-locking bike adjacent to the bike rack. Confirms Euwyn Poon, co-founder and President of Spin, "You can leave it anywhere, but we urge our users to park the bikes responsibly so they’re not in the way of other cyclists, pedestrians or vehicles."

Ride with traffic – you're on a vehicle.
Ride with traffic – you're on a vehicle.
Courtesy of Spin

4. As always, the rules of the road must still obeyed.
Guys, a bicycle is technically a vehicle. Therefore, you do have to ride responsibly and lawfully. Since it may have been a while since you’ve taken a bike-safety course, if at all, there are a few things to immediately keep in mind.

Learn hand signals – left, right, stop – in order to navigate traffic. Next, don’t be a “salmon,” meaning be sure to ride with traffic and use the bike lanes when available. Last, be super careful on sidewalks if you must use them. Cars often drive right up to the edge of the street, blocking the sidewalk and acting as a straight wall for cyclists.

You should definitely still wear a helmet.EXPAND
You should definitely still wear a helmet.
Courtesy of ofo

5. Helmets are still encouraged.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, “Helmets are not required by law statewide, [but] most bicycle advocacy organizations and clubs agree bicyclists should wear helmets at all times.” That means, no, helmets are not required by law in the Valley, but their use is heavily encouraged. One spill or close call with a car, and you’ll be thanking us.

Besides, helmets can be cool, and there are a number of bike shops in town willing to sell you this righteous piece of gear – the perfect accessory for all those stickers you’ve been saving. Just clip it to your backpack when not in use – don’t be a baby.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.