NewsOperation Safe Roads


Tempe passes safety ordinances for e-scooter safety

Posted at 12:55 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 22:28:45-04

TEMPE, AZ — Classes will be starting up soon for Arizona State University students. Not only will they be driving, biking and walking, but they will also be taking those popular e-scooters to campus.

The city of Tempe said they are working to make the community safer, and held a final hearing Thursday night on proposed changes to city code.

Those changes included repealing Chapter 7, along with making changes and additions to Chapter 19. That means there will likely be changes to how riders can operate their modes of transportation within the city.

Thursday evening in the temporary Council Chambers in the Tempe History Museum, the changes to the city code passed. The city council released the following statement following the vote:

“Tonight, the Tempe City Council voted unanimously to approve these safety measures, which included repealing Chapter 7 and expanding and amending Chapter 19. Changes will go in to effect in 30 days.”

To read the full release from the city, click here.

So far in 2019, the City of Tempe says there have been 66 incidents involving scooters where firefighters or paramedics had to respond, with at least eight of those involving someone under the age of 18.

The map below breaks down the location of incidents dating back to September of 2018. Blue markers show incidents where drugs or alcohol were involved.

In a press release, the city of Tempe laid out the changes:

  • Bicycles, e-bikes and scooters are allowed on sidewalks WHEN there are no bikes lanes and the speed limit is greater than 25 mph, and E-bike motors must be disengaged.
  • Bicycles, e-bikes and scooters must use a bike lane when a bike lane exists; must ride in the street when the speed limit is 25 mph or less; and must ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Minors, with the consent of, or accompanied by a parent or guardian, may ride on sidewalks at all times.
  • In the situations that bicycles, e-bikes and scooters are allowed on sidewalks, they must: yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian; slow down to 5 mph; and give an audible signal before passing.
  • Riders must be over the age of 16 to operate all non-human powered vehicles (scooters and other electric mobility devices).
  • Riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet if operating a human-powered or non-human-powered vehicle.

"When creating these new rules, all conversations revolved around creating safe environments for all sidewalk and road users," said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell in a press release. "Everything we are proposing aligns with our Vision Zero initiative."

Operation Safe Roads has covered Vision Zero in the past.

The city of Tempe is the first city in Arizona to adopt the national project of zero traffic fatalities within the city. City officials have been working to identify changes that could potentially save lives. They believe these code changes could be one of those solutions.

To read both ordinances and the proposed changes in full, click here for Chapter 7 and click here for Chapter 19.