Revel to Shut Down ‘Until Further Notice’ After Second Rider Dies

Revel, the electric moped-sharing company that’s gained in popularity during the pandemic, announced on Tuesday morning it will shut down temporarily after a second rider died.

On Tuesday morning, a 32-year-old died in Brooklyn after crashing his moped, 10 days after a CBS reporter died after she was tossed from the moped she was riding on.

“The company has also been named in at least a dozen lawsuits,” according to Gothamist. “Some riders claim they encountered faulty brakes and balding tires on the scooters. Others said they were struck by inexperienced scooter operators.”

Ridership has soared during the pandemic.

“New Yorkers took 8,881 Revel trips per day in the last 15 days of May — compared to 4,181 per day in the first 15 days of March, right before the city went into lockdown,” the Post reported.

Photo by Joe Flood.

NEWS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. Matt H says:

      I would have liked this service to work better, but I can’t say I’m sorry to see it suspended. I feel badly for the ~60% of riders I see out and about who seem to be driving the things responsibly.

      But it seems like ~40% of riders ride the things like absolute jerks, dingbat illegality everywhere. And that’s just too high a rate of misuse. Loaning out your membership seems rampant, too, based on the number of drivers I see who clearly aren’t yet 21 years old. Until and unless there’s a real solution for all this, the service should stay shut down.

      fwiw, maybe 20% of riders actually seem to wear the provided helmets. Which isn’t a great thing. But they’re not imposing risks on others if riding no-helmet, but otherwise obeying the rules of the road, riding sedately, not blowing through red lights, etc. Additional risks are all on them. And in the age of COVID I understand not wanting your face inside a shared helmet too. So this is not really a bone I have to pick here, not by a long shot.

    2. chuck D says:

      This is why we can’t have nice things.

      • Shara Feinstein says:

        You don’t see this problem with Vespa and Motorcycle drivers because they invest in owning them and wear helmets and drive safety. It is a shame because having more transportation options would have been great. No helmets, no masks, no responsibility means we all lose out.

    3. MQue says:

      They need a better Id check. I see kids way too young to have drivers license riding these.

    4. Cordcutter says:

      I don’t understand. Is there something wrong with the type of license required to operate a Revel? I’m assuming that an M or MJ isn’t needed? Perhaps that’s part of the problem. Granted, that’ll likely significantly reduce their ridership if an M is needed, but safety is a serious concern here. I have seen quite a bit of recklessness since they had become more widely available in the city.

    5. K says:

      Wow. who would have thought unexperienced riders, mopeds and New York City wouldn’t work? We can’t even get bike lanes right in this city, which genius had the idea for “revel”?

    6. ben says:

      Great news. These mopeds are not only a danger to pedestrians but more so to the inexperienced riders themselves.

    7. I'm A Revel, Dottie says:

      I have wondered about corporate liability and accountability every time I see one of these Revel scooters sail by silently with two riders huffing weed, going the wrong way with no lights on.

      Or weaving through stopped vehicles to go through a traffic light with pedestrians in the crosswalk.

      Or the intoxicated 20-something trapped under one of these scooters in the middle of the street at 2AM, after falling down while trying to park it.

      No operator safety education, no license, no helmet, often no lights on, no insurance, no accountability. Just pay your money, hop on and endanger the innocent public.

      This is more of the insanity of a piece that’s making NYC dangerously unlivable.

      This company and the others like it should never have been allowed to operate in the city in the first place.

      • Matt H says:

        I thought one “huff”s, like, nitrous oxide whippets. With weed I think the right verb would be “smokes” or “tokes”.

        • Language Lady says:

          ‘huff’ is correct, inhaling or exhaling. Your colloquial mileage may vary depending on dialect and/or register.

          cf Merriam-Webster: huff: intransitive verb 1a: to emit puffs (as of breath or steam)

          cf yourdictionary.com: huff:

          1. To puff; blow.

          2. Slang To inhale the fumes of a volatile chemical or substance as a means of becoming intoxicated.

      • peter says:

        lol. best comment name ever!

      • Deb says:

        We should be saying the same thing about people who are renting bicycles:

        No operator safety education
        No license
        No helmet
        No insurance
        No accountability

        Just pay your money, hop on, and endanger the innocent public.

        I have said this before, and was shouted down by cyclists who think they know better, or say that cars are more dangerous. But people who drive cars must take a test to get a license, must carry insurance, and are accountable because they can have their license revoked and their insurance cancelled. What happens when bike riders and Revel drivers speed through red lights and disobey other traffic laws? Nothing.

        It’s time for anyone using any set of wheels to be accountable using the same rules that drivers of cars must obey.

        • RL says:

          While we’re back on the bike kick again – I suggest pedestrians carry a license and insurance too – can pass on the helmet I guess – danger to mankind walking into the road and bike lanes without looking. Let me have a think about motorized wheelchairs – they could injure someone too.

    8. Charles Nussbaum says:

      Good. I never — not once — saw a Revel rider in a helmet. A moped service that can’t find a way to (literally) force it’s riders to wear helmets shouldn’t exist.

    9. Abdul Sayeed says:

      Why does it always take deaths in our society before proper action is taken? It was OBVIOUS to even casual observers that this company was happy to kill people to make a quick buck. But our “fearless leaders” were seduced.
      And, though PREVENTABLE, many more deaths await us on the streets, sidewalks, and parks of New York, now the Wild West of two wheeled transport.

    10. Pedestrian says:

      So when do we shut down cars for the 300+ people who die in them in NYC each year?

      • lmn says:

        No, but there are regulations in place. Sounds like the same is needed here too. (And yes, obviously there are always people who disregard regulations–car drivers, scooter drivers, and pedestrians too. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist.)

      • Peter says:

        *You* or “we” don’t shut down anything. The car companies can do so, if they so decide, based on the legal exposure or other risks they fear. Just like Revel did.

      • UWS Driver says:

        Revel decided to shut an untenable business. If it can reconfigure, fine. But it’s obvious that the current business model is a path to bankruptcy.

        “We” can and should push for more enforcement and tougher penalties for people who put others at risk and cause others harm.
        The vast majority of the injuries and deaths reported in this community are from truckers and for hire vehicles but somehow the vast majority of the complaining is about our neighbors who own cars. Why is that, again?

    11. CrankyPants says:

      Great news. The e-bikes are bad enough but having to contend with these on the pedestrian paths(!) in Riverside Park was insanity. Let alone the drunken frat boys joy riding on them at night hitting parked cars in the W 80s. This is pretty much the first thing DeBlasio seems to have done right in recent memory.

    12. Green is the way says:

      I really applaud the effort and love the idea of Revel… innovative, easy, uncomplicated and an alternative to cars. NYC is far lacking in innovative, modern transportation and Revel had the chance to be a bright spot. Unfortunately, the some of the riders did not respect traffic laws or take responsibility to be careful. I hope there can still be work towards an improved solution. We need less cars in Manhattan.

    13. m.pipik says:

      Pardon my outdated notions,but aren’t mopeds what are now motor assisted bicycles? I haven’t seen any usable pedals on the Revels.

      Aren’t Revels motor scooters and don’t scooters require a license?

      Since scooters have required licenses for ages why would this suddenly be requirement suddenly be lifted? Of course the natural response is “follow the money.”

      • Josh says:

        The requirement for Revel Scooters and motor scooters of the Revel class, with top speeds of 30mph, is a standard driver’s license, which is required to sign up for Revel, and they do a license check. But once you have an account, apparently you can “lend” it to others. It’s not legal, but people do it.

    14. Deb G says:

      I also encountered them in bike lanes, where they’re not supposed to be. Have also seen extremely motorized bikes in Central Park going fast – why are they not policed?US

    15. Mark Moore says:

      Revel charges by the minute, which gives people a financial reason to go fast and speed and go through lights and drive on sidewalk and go the wrong way down one way streets. Stop charging by the minute.

      • Josh says:

        Agreed. Citibike has blocks of 45 minutes. Zipcar rents by the hour. When minutes count, people will cut corners. In this case, literally.

        But I dont think most of the bad behavior we are seeing lately is about the per minute charge. I think they are reveling in rebelling.

    16. John E. says:

      Are we surprised that this idiotic idea didn’t work out so well? If Revel can’t work during a time when there is much less traffic in the city, then it doesn’t belong here at all.

      It was a recipe for disaster when you knew some riders would be careless and ignorant of the dangers of riding scooters. You would think riders would at least wear a helmet!

      • Josh says:

        It actually worked really well in Brooklyn. I once saw a rider in Brooklyn riding unsafely, going down a one way street just to park. Sent an email to Revel and got a response minutes later that the riders account was suspended. But everyone else I witnessed riding was doing so safely. But this was pre-pandemic.

    17. Pam Ella Chock says:

      I hope they never return. I witnessed many careless rides going through red lights and going against traffic. Too many rides, just like the bicyclists, are irresponsible.

      • Wlee says:

        And we should just jam the streets with honking, polluting cars that always drive so responsibly in NYC? Scooters, bikes etc… are a healthy, less polluting mode of transportation that the rest of the globe seems to be able to handle effectively.

    18. WLee says:

      It would be great to get more comments from people who have actually used Revel scooters. This news in unfortunate, my husband and I have enjoyed using them for errands and appointments to avoid using our car or taking the train. We drive safely and wear helmets. They only go 30 mph max, and you do need to have a valid license # to unlock it. Because some (not 40%) ride recklessly, it ruins it for all of us. Personal responsibility is severely lacking in this country. Revel has suspened more than 2,000 riders in the last few weeks due to misuse. They also offer a free riding class. The woman that was killed was not wearing a helmet…I wear a helmet to ride bike. Other countries successfully manage scooter transportation. I am sure Revel will incorporate more safety features, but the human driving should take reponsibility. There needs to be harsher consequences, tickets, fines and damage charges for their actions. I sincerely hope they restore service.

      • EdNY says:

        The fact that they have had to suspend so many riders is an enormous problem when you consider the risk that any given suspended rider had posed to others. It suggests that the operation was not carefully thought out.

      • Matt H says:

        I stand by my comment that ~40% of the Revel riders that I’ve seen recently were dingbats.

        That was not the ratio that I saw when I was out and about in Bk and Queens and the service was not in Manhattan yet. It was 10% tops. Something changed when they expanded into Manhattan and when the pandemic hit.

        • Josh says:

          Not even 10%. If say 1% at best. All but one Revel user I saw in Brooklyn were riding safely.

    19. Never comment says:

      I have to agree that it is very sad that this form of transportation sharing is not working here but I too would like to share my experiences with seeing many many Revel drivers riding in the bike paths, including along the West Side Hwy(and ON the West Side Hwy!!). I consider myself a responsible bike rider and I was almost hit by one in the CPW bike path where he and his passenger came out of nowhere blowing through a red light. I have seen the scooters left on the grass along the West Side bike path, I have experienced people RIDING ON the grass along the West Side path too. I find them frightening as a pedestrian and bicycle rider and I will not be sorry if they do not return. It was hard to see how they could be easily regulated.

    20. Robin says:

      I am in my car going place to place working around the city and Boroughs. I can’t tell you how many people using those Revel mopeds run red lights, flying around corners etc. Bikers wear helmets but not moped riders. And these have license plates on them. Doesn’t that mean they are a vehicle obligated to follow rules of the road. Just one more pressure on pedestrians and legitimate drivers. Hope they never reopen!