NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Revel has suspended its operations in New York City after a second rider died.
The mayor now says the city will not allow the moped-sharing company to reopen unless it can make the service safer.
CBS2’s Lisa Rozner has been demanding answers from government officials this past week.
There are still Revels parked on the road, but anyone opening the app is told right away the service is shut down.
This year, it arrived in Manhattan and the Bronx as a greener and cheaper way to travel, but we found no one from the city was regulating how it was doing that, Rozner reported.
For the last few months, we’ve seen many Revel riders disregarding the law: Riding on sidewalks, not wearing helmets, driving in parks and highways where they are not allowed, and running red lights.
“You have to go in the corner, because you’re afraid. Doesn’t respect nobody,” said Brooklyn resident Marta DePena.
In Cypress Hills, Brooklyn Tuesday, another family is in mourning. Police say 32-year-old Jeremy Malave died. They say he failed to properly navigate his Revel moped while traveling north on Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens approaching 67th Drive, and struck a center light pole within a center median.
“He was a nice guy,” said relative Maria Sanchez.
This comes a little more than a week after our beloved colleague Nina Kapur was killed as a passenger on a Revel moped in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It also follows a string of accidents, some of which have left at least two men in critical condition at a hospital.
Doctors at St. Barnabas Hospital see it every day.
“We’re also seeing a lot more serious injuries, including bone fractures, broken bones, also head injuries that include concussions,” said Dr. Sarah Jamison, who does emergency medicine at St. Barnabas.
Revel is facing more than a dozen lawsuits in New York for injuries. Daniel Flanzig represents several plaintiffs, including two that say they were struck Revel riders.
“He was walking in close street corridor and he was struck by a Revel user riding through that closed street. One was a gentleman exiting out vehicle struck by a rider,” Flanzig said.
The company had been letting users take out mopeds with just a driver’s license and an optional learning course. CBS2 has spent the last week asking the city why it wasn’t regulating the company. Officials kept blaming the state.
Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted:
“Folks are using something that in many ways is like a motorcycle without having to have a license like you need to with a motorcycle, and therefore, you know, a certain amount of training and all. It stands to reason that it’s going to put people in harm’s way,” he said.
“This is an unacceptable state of affairs. So the city has the power to regulate, to restrict, and even prohibit Revel scooters,” he said Tuesday. “We spoke to the company this morning, to the CEO of Revel, made very clear that it’s an unsatisfactory and unacceptable situation.”
Transportation alternatives are important but safety on our streets is paramount. We spoke with Revel this morning and they are shutting down until we can find a way to make shared mopeds safe.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 28, 2020
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson acknowledged the company cannot police itself if it opens agains.
“DOT needs to take a more hands-on and affirmative role in working with Revel. And coming up with a plan on how we will oversee them,” he said.
This also all comes a day after we reported Rep. Adriano Espaillat sent a letter to the city and state demanding it pause Revel’s operations.
Revel says it’s reviewing safety measures and communicating with the city. It says this voluntary shutdown does not apply to other cities where it operates.
“New York riders – starting today, NYC service will be shut down until further notice,” the company announced Tuesday 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.”
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
Revel has been a presence in New York City since 2018. The company says it will continue operations in other cities.
“Like so many others, I am relieved that Revel suspended service and acknowledged that its standards for operational safety, customer training, and rider accountability fall short of protecting the public health and safety of New Yorkers,” said Espaillat. “That said, it should not have taken two deaths and a barrage of other troubling incidents – including one that left a constituent of mine in critical condition – for Revel to take this necessary action.”
“When we met with Revel in November, it was a new opportunity for alternative transportation methods and the company had communicated to us that they required users to undergo training and a have a valid driver license to qualify for vehicle rental,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Given the recent events, I am glad to see Revel decided to take a step back and suspend its service as New York City reviews the circumstances surrounding the two fatalities involving their mopeds. It is critical for Revel to implement better safety measures if they are allowed to continue operations in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, because we cannot move forward without absolute certainty that this service is safe. We also need to communicate to the users of Revel bikes that they must follow the rules of the road and always take precautions for their own safety and that of those around them. My heart goes out to the families of the two young people who lost their lives on Revel bikes, and we need to honor their memory by continuing this conversation and learning from this tragedy to find the most appropriate and safe way to move forward for this company and any other transportation alternatives which we may consider implementing in the future.”