Frequently Asked Questions


Can anyone get a ZotWheels membership card and use the ZotWheels system?

At this time only UC Irvine affiliates with a current UCI employee or student identification number may apply for membership and use the ZotWheels system, and only individual memberships are available.

Do I have to apply online or can I come to the Transportation and Distribution Services office to apply and receive my card?

You must apply online and fill out the membership application completely. You will also be required to take and pass an online bicycle safety course through an online training module. A Parking representative will process your completed application and verify that you passed the bicycle safety course and will let you know when your ZotWheels membership card is ready to be picked up.

How much does it cost to become a member?

An individual membership is $40 annually. After you receive your card, you have unlimited use of the ZotWheels bikes with no additional charges, as long as you return the bike within three hours of rental. After three hours your card will automatically deactivate and you will not be allowed to rent another bike until the first is returned and your card cleared from violation status in the database. Please contact (949) UCI (824)-RIDE and speak to an administrator who can clear you from violation. You will be asked for a $200 fee in the case the bicycle is severely damaged during the time of your rental, or not returned within a 24-hour period at which time we will consider the bike lost or stolen.

How old do I have to be to rent a ZotWheels?

To become a member and use ZotWheels you must be 18 years old and a UCI affiliate with a current UCI employee or student identification number.

Where does the revenue go?

The ZotWheels program is subsidized by Transportation and Distribution Services and any revenue from memberships and usage fees will be used to offset operational expenses.


What is ZotWheels?

Transportation and Distribution Services seeks to decrease the carbon footprint by offering affordable, environmentally sustainable, and increasingly accessible forms of transportation. In light of this mission, Parking is excited to bring the first automated self-service bike share program in California, ZotWheels, to the UC system. Almost a pound of tailpipe emissions will be saved for every mile a member rides a bike instead of driving. Bike sharing allows faculty, students, and staff an alternative to driving when making short-distance trips during the work and school day, as well as addressing important issues such as health and environmental sustainability, the future of transportation, and promoting community building on campus. Bike sharing already exists in many European cities, such as Paris and Barcelona. Take our bikes for a short ride around the inner ring, to the park, to a meeting, or to class. ZotWheels are meant to be shared; so rent one, ride it, return it and repeat any time you want to bring a little fun to your day!

How does ZotWheels work?

ZotWheels is easy and fun because you don’t have the hassle or expense of owning and storing your own bike. You will first apply for membership on the ZotWheels website at When you receive your membership card, you will be allowed to rent a bike from any station simply by swiping your card in the card reader. After your ride, you may drop off your bike at any ZotWheels station with an available slot. The RFID tracking equipment marries the user’s card to a specific bike and tracks its use until the bike is returned. Notifications are sent to the user, when the bike is removed and returned. If a bike is not returned, the user and security will be notified.

Can I use cash or a credit card to rent a bike instead of a membership card?

No, the control panel only accepts ZotWheels membership cards. You must be a ZotWheels member in order to rent a bike from a ZotWheels station.

Where do I find a Bike Station?

ZotWheels stations will be located at four key locations across campus: Langson Library, Science Library, Physical Sciences, and the lower Student Center. Each bike station will consist of a rental kiosk and docking stalls. The kiosk will process the rental of bikes and transmit availability information to the ZotWheels user page. In the near future, an interactive map will be made available so that riders may first check the stations to make certain a bike is available.

What steps are necessary to rent a ZotWheels bike?

Your membership card will allow you to rent a bike from any ZotWheels bike station. You must have your membership card with you each time you rent a bike. Insert your membership card in the appropriate slot at the control panel located at every ZotWheels station and follow the instructions.

What are the operating hours?

Initially, ZotWheels will operate from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week, or anytime during daylight hours. Users must return the bike within a three hour period. The ZotWheels stations will accept bicycle returns after dark. All bikes not returned by sunset are the responsibility of the user. Please consult the User Agreement for further information.

Can I ride ZotWheels after dark?

No, ZotWheels bikes may not be ridden after dark. Front, rear, pedal and wheel side reflectors are legally required for nighttime bicycle riding. ZotWheels bikes are not equipped with the required nighttime riding lights and therefore cannot be ridden after dark.

Are ZotWheels always available for rental?

Although there are a limited number of bikes in circulation, there should always be bikes available at each ZotWheels station locations as the bikes are redistributed each day to ensure availability. Occasionally, a bike station will fill up or empty out. Should you find a full or empty bike station, please locate an alternate bike station. Users are responsible for any bikes left unsecured. Additionally, the system will need to be shut down for periodic maintenance.

How long can I use a ZotWheels bike?

You must return the bike to one of the bike stations within a three-hour period. After three hours your card will automatically deactivate and you will not be allowed to rent another bike until the first is returned and your card cleared from violation status in the database. Please contact (949) UCI-RIDE and speak to an administrator who can clear your card from violation status. The program is designed to make bikes available to as many members as possible, and the rental period is limited. You can, however, immediately obtain a new bike after your first rental period if another bike is available and it is still daylight. Should you not return the bike within a 24-hour period, it will be presumed lost or stolen and you will be asked to pay a replacement fee of $200.

Where can I ride ZotWheels?

ZotWheels is primarily for use on the UCI campus and local destinations but you may wish to explore some of the many city and county bike trails in nearby Irvine and Newport Beach. We ask that you not bike farther than 10 miles from Aldrich Hall on campus as that allows you to travel locally and still return the bike on time. Please follow all existing bicycle rules and regulations on the UCI campus and in each of the local jurisdictions. See for information about bicycles on the UCI campus and for the California Vehicle Code. Just remember that the rental period is limited so be sure to give yourself time to ride to your destination and back to return the bike within the three hour rental period.

What happens if I obtain a ZotWheels bike that is damaged?

Do not use or operate a damaged bike under any circumstances. Please return the bike to the bike station and notify Parking at (949) UCI-RIDE or of any problems. You can rent another by using your user card again.

How do I return a ZotWheels bike after use?

You may return the bike to any ZotWheels bike station with an available slot. The system will notify you that your bike has been properly returned. You are responsible for the bike until it is properly returned to an operational ZotWheels bike station.

What happens if my bike is lost or stolen?

During the time you rent the bike, you are responsible for the bike. You will be responsible for a $200.00 replacement fee if you do not return the bike within 24 hours after the designated rental period is over or if the bike is otherwise damaged, lost or stolen. Until the replacement fee is paid, your ZotWheels membership will be suspended. Please also consult the User Agreement for further information. Help us make ZotWheels a success and treat the bikes just like your own! If the bike gets damaged, please contact us at (949) UCI-RIDE or

Are ZotWheels bikes equipped with bike locks?

No, you are responsible for the security and timely return of the bike. Regardless of whether you use a bike lock, you are responsible for the security of any bicycle you rent from ZotWheels.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Adults 18 and over are not legally required to wear a helmet when riding a bike, although wearing a helmet is strongly encouraged. ZotWheels is for users 18 years and older. Helmets are not provided by the program, so please remember to bring your helmet with you when you ride.

Can I transfer or loan the ZotWheels bike and membership card to a friend or any other person?

No, the transfer or loan of a bike or user card is not permitted under any circumstances. Only the authorized member can use the bike or user card.

Who takes care of the bikes?

Transportation and Distribution Services takes care of the ZotWheels system and contracts out with local bike shops to maintain the ZotWheels bikes. If you have any comments, please contact us at (949) UCI-RIDE or

Who do I contact if I have problems with my card, a bike, or the ZotWheels system?

Please send email to or call (949) UCI-RIDE. You may also consult for additional information.

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