NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City Council took a step forward to regulate ride-sharing mopeds Wednesday.
It comes almost a year after three riders died in accidents, including our beloved CBS2 colleague Nina Kapur.READ MORE: New York Relaxes Most COVID-19 Restrictions After Reaching 70% Vaccination Rate; Cuomo: 'A Momentous Day'
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports, summer 2020 saw countless incidents involving Revel moped riders on sidewalks, highways where they’re not allowed and not wearing helmets.
The company fined and suspended some riders and, after three fatal incidents, even shut down for a month, but the city had no authority to tell the company how to operate.
Wednesday, the council passed legislation changing that.
“We all remember the tragic death of CBS reporter Nina Kapur. This shows us how important it is to get this right,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said.
The moped safety and oversight bill prohibits the operation of a moped sharing company without the city Department of Transportation’s approval.
It also requires that the company to register each moped in their fleet with the city.
The mopeds cannot exceed 30 miles per hour, and it requires the company monitor helmet use.
Revel currently mandates users take a selfie with the helmet on before starting the ride.
Lime, which launched 100 mopeds on city streets in April, has a similar requirement that utilizes sensors and artificial intelligence.READ MORE: Fireworks Honor Essential Workers As New York Lifts Most COVID Restrictions
“So we’ll know if one of our riders is wearing a helmet or not. We also have in-board helmet sensors in the helmet box,” said Phil Jones, Lime’s senior director for government relations.
But still, it is very easy for anyone to take out a moped. All you need is a driver’s license
Both Revel and Lime mandate users take an online safety quiz before their first ride. In-person lessons are free but optional.
Even last summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested it was the lack of training that created a dangerous environment.
“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,” he said at the time.
City Council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez initially proposed rider permits but said only the state can mandate that.
As for whether the city should require in-person training, he said, “Yes, I hope that we will be able to expand it. I think that this is a good beginning.”
A Revel spokesperson said, “We are pleased the Council has approved this legislation and that the City can proceed with its official rulemaking process. In the interim, we will continue to work closely with NYCDOT to provide transportation access to the 400,000 New Yorkers who rely on Revel to get around their city.”
In response to the legislation, a Lime spokesperson said, “We’re glad the council is focused on improving the safety of this increasingly popular transportation service. We’ve received interest from some members on measures that Lime was first to implement, including real-time helmet detection technology and helmet case sensors, which we hope can help set a new standard for the industry. If moped sharing is going to succeed in New York City, providers will need to work collaboratively with City leaders and regulators, and ensure that safety is not an afterthought, but rather the foundation from which everything else follows. We look forward to working with NYC DOT on ensuring the safety of all riders and road users.”
Lime plans to expand its fleet of 100 mopeds in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan to 500 in the coming weeks.MORE NEWS: COVID Restrictions Lifted: Yankee Stadium Returns To Full Capacity Friday
The DOT says it’ll begin creating rules for ride-sharing moped companies in the coming months. The law takes effect in 120 days.