UWS Woman Dies After Being Hit by a Revel Scooter Near Lincoln Center in September


The scene after the crash. Photos by Stephen Harmon.

By Carol Tannenhauser

The 82-year-old woman who was struck by a Revel motor scooter on September 29th while crossing Broadway at West 60th Street died hours after the accident occurred, the NYPD reported on Wednesday. It was not clear why it took three weeks for her death to be made public.

Helga Schnitker, an Upper West Side resident, was in the crosswalk near Lincoln Center shortly before 8 a.m., when a Revel scooter driven by a 23-year-old, as-yet-unidentified man collided with her. The operator, who sustained a hand injury, remained at the scene and was not charged. An investigation is underway, the NYPD said.

“‘It was an accident, a freak accident,’ witness Khaled Osman, 50, who operates a Halal cart near the corner told the Daily News hours after the accident. ‘I didn’t see the hit but I see the lady lying down and didn’t move. That’s what caught my eye. I was very concerned.’”

This is the fourth death attributable to Revel scooters this summer. The company suspended operations in July after three deaths, but resumed in August, adding several safety requirements, including a safety test and a selfie of the rider wearing a helmet.

Revel 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.

The Wall Street Journal wrote, “Since its launch in New York City in 2018, Revel has expanded across the city, with 3,000 vehicles available in parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Its mopeds, which reach a top speed of 30 miles an hour, cost $1 to unlock and 35 cents a minute to ride, plus $1 for an additional rider.”

NEWS | 43 comments | permalink
    1. Alan says:

      This unfortunate person wasn’t hit by a Revel scooter unless it was an autonomous vehicle.
      Otherwise she was hit by an “unidentified” person supposedly in control of a scooter.
      Don’t give these people a pass…

      • Darwin says:

        Revel is a 100% bad idea for NYC:
        1. People using them have no passed no safety training or test
        2. The helmets are COVID disease vectors – they are not cleaned between uses by different people
        3. They are not so much parked as abandoned in random places near the curb
        STOP THE MADNESS!

        • Alexander Black says:

          1) A safety test is required now and you can take 5 free training classes if you signup.
          2) You can buy a cheap helmet from them if you signup. Otherwise the scooters have disposable, 1 time use hairnets to wear in the helmet.
          3) There are rules on how to park and I generally see them parked well. You can report any issues to them, which I did when someone had left a scooter on a side of the street that did not allow parking.

      • Eli Feldman says:

        Right on. He probably ignored the traffic light as many bicyclists do. Very sad indeed.

    2. Brandon says:

      Why aren’t these treated like motorcycles that require a special drivers license? Does it have to do with the weight of the vehicle or the top speed or something else?

    3. anon says:

      Not sure how the Halal cart owner can call it a freak accident if he didn’t witness it. A scooter colliding with a pedestrian certainly isn’t something nobody could predict. Sounds like an ordinary accident.

      • John E. says:

        Got that right anon. If that guy’s food cart rolled off its blocks and killed that woman, then he can call it a “freak accident”.

        Unfortunately we’re going to see more of these accidents by Revel scooters colliding with people.
        NYC is no longer a pedestrian nirvana.

    4. How Many? says:

      How many senior citizens have to be slaughtered by Revel before Deblasio’s administration says enough?

    5. JackDog says:

      This “delay” in reporting the Revel Mayhem fatality is likely due to undue influence on the part of the transportation “visionaries.”
      The NYPD has been undermined for decades. Not being consulted on the construction of the aptly named Vision ZERO-and not being allowed to provide enforcement-the backbone of a responsible bike culture. This is one sad instance of a human life not being given the respect she deserves. The “visionaries” operate with money and arm political arm twisting. Hubris and money creating a public safety crisis. Diminishing Big Apple quality of life. Trump style.

    6. Ban Revel Scooters says:

      Revel Should be taken off the road for good this is not meant for the City of New York…. an 82-year-old lady is dead because of this.

      • Nikki says:

        Agree. They should have been banned permanently but with some arm twisting our inept mayor put them back on the streets.

        • WLnyc says:

          How many pedestrian deaths caused by cars have their been this year? I will bet more than four. Should we ban cars? They are more deadly than scooters.People use scooters all across the globe. It is not the scooters, it is the drivers. It seems Americans just can’t have nice things…

          • John E. says:

            So let’s give careless drivers more choices to run pedestrians over.

            How many people do you think are first time riders on Revel scooters? Do you need to have a license to ride one? Do you need to take a safety course before riding?

            Cars are a necessity for most who drive them. We got along fine without Revel scooters. Who needs them? Try walking, cycle or take mass transit.

          • John says:

            You can sue the car as it has insurance. The 23 year old on the scooter has nothing so who gets punished?

            • Boris says:

              You can always sue someone for damages whether they have insurance or not. No one’s right to sue is dependent on whose pockets will pay a judgement if awarded. Of course, insurance makes it easier to collect on a judgement but don’t make it a rights issue over that aspect. And insurance companies don’t just pay out in every circumstance, especially if the injured party is at fault. We still don’t know the details of this accident.

          • JS says:

            WL
            Although I personally don’t mind the Revel moped scooters, there are some key differences:

            This and at least one other fatality in a short space of time that Revel have been in place.
            Vehicle drivers must pass a driving test. Revel users must have a drivers license but no real training on how to use,

          • ella says:

            I have been hit by bicycles twice. I have never been hit by a car. The scooters scare the heck out of me. They are more dangerous than bicycles. There is no enforcement and the police are told not to hassle bikers and scooter riders. They also ride on the sidewalks with impunity.

        • UWSHebrew says:

          “arm twisting” = $

      • Josh P. says:

        Serious question – if someone needs to get from point A to point B is it safer for them to do it on a smaller and lighter scooter or in a heavier and faster car or SUV? People freak out about every Revel accident because New Yorkers are hyper aware of any change to our streets, but what we don’t see is the alternate universe where there is no Revel and therefore more car and SUV trips. I have to imagine that world would be even more dangerous.

        • John E. says:

          Josh P., I find it hard to believe that an alternative to a Revel scooter will be a car when you want to get around the city. There’s no way we will see more cars in the city if we get rid of Revel. These riders will go back to using Citi Bikes or taking mass transit.

        • Jo says:

          public transportation

    7. Nikki says:

      Let’s put the blame clearly on de Blasio and his transportation “visionaries”. These dangerous rental scooters should have been banned from the streets after 3 people killed themselves. They were off a couple of months this and back again with no motorcycle licenses to operate at 30mph on city streets over the 25 speed limit. Outrageous.

    8. David S says:

      No one’s asking the obvious question here: If the city speed limit is 25 mph, why not require that these scooters be restricted to 25 mph? They’re not certified for highway use, so no higher speed is necessary. Clearly, this isn’t a panacea, but the extra bit of reaction time and lower momentum granted by the slower speed might result in fewer (or less severe) accidents. And maybe one or two idiots will decide they’re “too slow” and not use them at all.

      • Boris says:

        Nitpicking about being able to go 5 MPH faster is not going to solve problems. It’s all about vehicle operator AND pedestrian responsibility. When pedestrians put themselves in dangerous situations constantly, accidents are going to happen.

        • Brandon says:

          By “dangerous situations ” do you mean crossing the street? There is no indication that the pedestrian was at fault here.

          • Ginger says:

            As a necessary driver in NYC, I can tell you pedestrians do NOT care that a 3000 pd vehicle is driving at the legal speed toward a green light. They will look right at you and slowly walk across, yes, in the crosswalk. The Revel drivers NEVER pay attention to the rules of the road. Bicyclist are bad enough in and out of traffic. Neither seem to realize they’re suppose to stop at red lights. God bless that poor woman. Even if she were at fault, which we don’t know, it’s up to all drivers to see what’s in front of us and before we take a corner. All pedestrians need to stop acting like they cannot get hit. Stop the madness.

        • mkmuws says:

          The problem I have noticed is not obeying traffic laws. The scooter drivers as non-owners – so likely not regular users – can and do zoom about willy-nilly in bike lanes and on sidewalks, and in wrong direction and erratically on the street. I have already experienced all of these, and it means that pedestrians now have to keep 360-degree vision at every step. That doesn’t work and makes this a non-walking city.

        • Deb says:

          The city now thinks that a person walking on a sidewalk under scaffolding is at fault if debris falling off the building kills the person.

          https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/10/15/woman-killed-by-falling-debris-nyc/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    9. LivableCity says:

      Four deaths in two years is horrific from one business!. (Presumably there have been many non-fatal accidents of various kinds too. Don’t know who has the incentive to estimate those…from bruises to dentst to broken bones to brain trauma.) Cars may be more dangerous overall, and I have nothing against scooters responsibly driven – but this rental scooter plan is worse than bumper cars on public streets. Citibike e-bikes, speed limit 15 or so, should provide sufficient access to close to the same service.

    10. Carl says:

      Revel scooters (drivers, actually), along with the massive increase of e-bikes (both personal, and food delivery) in our neighborhoods have caused a serious decline in our quality of life. Never before have I witnessed (and had to dodge) so many scooter/bike drivers behaving so unsafely…constantly running red lights, wrong way down the street, helmet-less drivers/riders, and so on… The neighborhood felt much safer during the brief period that they were banned.

      The people renting the Revels may have to prove that they have a valid license, but who is enforcing the traffic laws that are being flagrantly broken?

    11. Doug Garr says:

      You should be required to have a motorcycle license to operate a Revel. Period. And you should be current. That should put this sorry excuse for a business out of business. This is like saying, oh, you can fly an airplane without a license. This has be incensed.

    12. charlesIs hazelcorn says:

      ban them. or have them follow the rules for drivers like stopping at a red light and going the right way

    13. AJ Boule says:

      A MINIMAL WRITTEN safety test is required now and you can NOT MUST take 5 free training classes?

      Hairnets! I’m going to throw out my KN95 and surgical masks and replace them with one made from a hairnet.

      Rules! And enforcement of them?

      These changes make me feel MUCHsafer!

    14. Marcia says:

      In the interest of protecting pedestrians — particularly those who are following the rules of the road, a share of blame goes to the City’s traffic dept. It is IMPOSSIBLE to cross
      from South (at Time Warner Center) to North due
      to insufficient traffic control. When light turns green for peds walking north, left turners heading up Broadway turn left and dart across that intersection into 60th St. The only way to get across is to cross AGAINST the light, because that light stops
      traffic facing north on Bwy @ 60th. Another dangerous intersection is in front of the Fire House on Amsterdam; cars heading north on Amsterdam make sudden left turns regardless of whether anyone is in the crosswalk. I’m not surprised someone following the “law” paid for it with her life. How terrifying. And inevitable.

    15. Lorene Farnsworth says:

      Yes, okay, Wall Street Journal, and your bottom line, but how about us pedestrians?

    16. tam says:

      more pedestrians are killed by cars and cyclists than Revel and scooter users. With that said – ANYONE operating a bike or motorized vehicle should be prosecuted for manslaughter for killing someone.

    17. Whyallthejudgment? says:

      So many of you are assuming that this person on the scooter does not feel awful about what happened! Pretty sure he didn’t intentionally run her over because he stayed on the scene. He now has to live the rest of his life knowing he killed a woman. Accidents happen. If he broke a law when it happened, then he bears the responsibility and the guilt. Nobody asked whether she was crossing when the walk sign was red.

      • Jo says:

        I’m up to HERE with the “accidents happen” excuse, so ubiquitous it is a senseless meme, but perversely accepted.

    18. Nevets K says:

      Once again, many commentators are not seeing the forest for the trees.
      It is absolutely NUTS to debate who was responsible for this collision, the elderly, now deceased, pedestrian or the Revel rider.
      A culture that allows pedestrians, bicycles, electric bikes, motorized bikes, Revels, motorcycles, scooters, electric scooters, Ubers, taxis, private cars, vans, buses and trucks, all with different purposes and moving at different speeds, to occupy the very same streets and avenues is a culture that is INSANE!
      It is not merely that “accidents are waiting to happen”; it is that our culture is abetting them.

    19. AJ says:

      I have my motorcycle license, and I couldn’t imagine not being forced to take the 3-day safety course. We have to take driver’s test including a written one, just to drive a car.

      Revel’s have license plates and can travel at the city’s speed limit—why aren’t they required to be licensed like any other motor vehicle? What’s the loophole?

    20. Sam Katz says:

      NYC streets and sidewalks are out of control. It’s not just Revel scooters and it’s not just cars. At this point, (manual pedal) bike riders, electric bike riders, electric scooters of all kinds, and even children’s (electrified) scooters can and will kill a pedestrian who is hit. Besides broken bones and pierced organs, if a pedestrian hits his or her head hard on a cement sidewalk or street he/she can suffer permanent and fatal traumatic brain injury. All these vehicles run red lights, make high speed turns, are all over the sidewalk, and are all wreaking havoc. They ALL need license plates and registration. ALL of them, even the “toys.” They are destroying the City.

    21. UWSSurfer says:

      Helga was beloved by many at the senior center, Hamilton House. She will be very missed.