WHY NEW YORK CITY BANNED REVEL
A man was killed last week in the latest in a string of crashes involving Revel, the moped-sharing service, whose 2-wheeled vehicles can travel up to almost 30 miles per hour. Just hours after the man’s death, the company suspended its operations in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Revel would need approval from the city to resume its service.
Revel began in Brooklyn in 2018 as an app-based service. The electric-blue fleet became popular with commuters who were looking for alternatives to car-sharing services and Citi Bike (the bicycle program promoted by NYC and Citibank).
The 32-year-old male died on July 28th at 3:00AM when his moped hit a light pole in the center median of Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens, the police said. Days before, a 30-year-old man sustained serious injuries when his Revel crashed into a pole in Upper Manhattan. On July 18, a reporter for CBS News, was killed while riding a Revel in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The reporter, only 26, was one of two people on the moped when the operator swerved and the two fell to the roadway as a result.
In 2018, Revel started a pilot operation of 86 scooters in Brooklyn and later expanded into Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. The company quickly grew, adding mopeds in Washington, Miami, Austin, and Oakland. Rentals cost $1 to unlock, an additional dollar to add a passenger and 35 cents per minute. Riders must have a valid driver’s license, and two helmets are included in the storage area of each moped. An online operating tutorial shows first-time drivers how to use the moped.
The mopeds can travel up to 30 mph, although most New York City streets have a speed limit of 25 mph. As the service became more popular in the city, there was growing concern over safety. Revel riders were spotted not wearing helmets or driving on sidewalks and in bike lanes. As a result, earlier this month, Revel informed New York customers in a mass email that the company had suspended 1,000 users for violating safety rules.
After it suspended its service on Tuesday, Revel wrote on Twitter, “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.” At a news briefing that morning, Mr. de Blasio said that members of his administration had spoken to the Revel’s chief executive and that the company’s decision was “the right thing.”
A moped or motorcycle is a vehicle that requires extraordinary care when using, especially in high traffic and pedestrian areas such as New York City boroughs. Moreover, many of the protections that are afforded drivers of standard motor vehicles via insurance carriers are not applicable to 2 wheeled vehicles. For instance, no-fault benefits which cover up to $50,000 for medical bills and lost earnings when involved in a motor vehicle accident are not available to operators or passengers on mopeds and motorcycles. This is New York State Law and there are no exceptions.
The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, PC has represented many users of motorcycles and mopeds, as well as bicyclists. We have been able to maximize their recoveries and satisfy outstanding medical bills from their settlements. Certainly, it creates difficulties when no-fault insurance does not exist but we find creative solutions to insure our clients receive top notch medical care and insure that they will not be left with medical bills upon resolution of the case.
We hope that you are all healthy and safe during these times and look forward to meeting with our clients face to face in a post COVID-19 world very, very soon.