With a top speed of 48 km/h and a growing body of malfunction-based lawsuits and traffic incident data working against them, Revel’s fleet of app-rentable mopeds is, as of today, no longer operating in its home city of New York. Who, besides absolutely everyone, could have seen this coming.
After a second rider was killed in the span of only eight days, Mayor Bill de Blasio (who, if you’re reading this — resign) got in touch with Revel CEO Frank Reig to make “very clear it’s an unsatisfactory and unacceptable situation.” Shortly thereafter, Revel voluntarily ended its service in the city.
Revel launched its fleet of 1,000-odd mopeds in May of 2019, also during de Blasio’s tenure as mayor. The decision to greenlight what were effectively diet motorcycles always struck me, personally, as odd and irresponsible when New York has largely been resistant to other “new mobility” options that have amounted to very expensive litter in many other American cities.
According to a tweet posted by the company this morning, it intends to restart service once the city is satisfied Revel can operate safely.
New York riders – starting today, NYC service will be shut down until further notice. We’re reviewing and strengthening our rider accountability and safety measures and communicating with city officials, and we look forward to serving you again in the near future.
— Revel (@_GoRevel) July 28, 2020
While signing up for Revel required a valid driver’s licence, the company did not require riders to known much of anything about riding a moped — an altogether different and riskier task in a busy city. (It offers free lessons “if you are an inexperienced moped rider,” which one imagines is most people, the same demographic of people likely to ignore that offer.)
As of July 5, the NYPD has data on 25 collisions involving Revels this year, CBS reports — less than 3% of all incidents involving a scooter or motorcycle of any kind.
We’ve reached out to learn if Revel intends to leave the bikes on the street for the time being or collect and store them somewhere. Their website still lists the company as operating in Miami, Oakland, Austin, and Washington, D.C., and there do not yet appear to be plans to end those services.