About a month after Revel suspended service following the death of two riders, the popular electric mopeds returned to New York City streets on Thursday. But before New Yorkers take the rideshare scooters for a spin, the company is requiring riders to complete new in-app safety training and snap a helmet selfie before every ride. Revel, which first launched in 2018, is also increasing penalties for rule-breaking by using moped data to find riders who ride the wrong way down one-way streets, on sidewalks, and a number of other offenses.
“Revel was born and bred in New York City, and we’re proud to relaunch in our hometown with an even better service,” Frank Reig, CEO and co-founder of Revel, said in a press release. “With support from partners like the NYC Department of Transportation, we’re coming back stronger than ever and providing continued access to the more than 360,000 New Yorkers who rely on Revel to get around their city.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio last month announced Revel would suspend service in the city after two riders died within two weeks, including a 32-year-old man who died after crashing into a light pole and CBS New York reporter Nina Kapur who was killed after being thrown off the moped in Greenpoint. A third city rider who was injured in July died in August, according to the New York Times.
The Revel app now includes a mandatory 30-question safety training for all new and existing riders to complete before hitting the streets. The company will also increase access to in-person riding lessons in the four boroughs where they operate, from 112 class slots per week to 1,164 slots. And before every ride, drivers and passengers must take a photo of themselves wearing the helmet and upload them to the app.
Revel also rolled out a stricter suspension and rider accountability policy. The company will permanently suspend riders who share their account, ride on a sidewalk, ride on a highway, drive recklessly, and fail to report accidents. Other no-no’s that could lead to a suspension include riding without a helmet, riding with anyone under 18 years old, running red lights or stop signs, and riding on a major bridge or in a tunnel.
Service will continue to be suspended from midnight to 5 a.m. for the first 60 days of the relaunch. The city’s transportation department found a higher rate of crashes during this time period. Through July, this year there were 330 overall crashes on the mopeds, according to DOT.
“We are pleased to see that Revel, a popular new mode of transportation for many New Yorkers, has committed to enhanced safety measures, including strengthening rider training, monitoring and accountability, fostering better compliance with helmet requirements, and rooting out fraudulent and dangerous rider behavior,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
“The City will closely monitor Revel’s operations during this relaunch and, going forward, plans to work with all interested stakeholders to promulgate rules to govern the operation of shared moped services in New York City.”
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