An 82-year-old woman was struck and killed by a Revel e-moped in an Upper West Side crosswalk, New York City authorities confirmed. The fatal accident was the fourth involving a Revel moped in New York City this year and the first to occur since the electronic vehicles re-launched in August following a string of deadly July accidents.
The NYPD said that the Sept. 29 accident happened when a 23-year-old man riding one of Revel’s electronic mopeds collided with the pedestrian who was later identified as Helen Schnitker. The circumstances of the crash remain under investigation.
Revel, a New York City-based electronic moped sharing company, relaunched in its home city after suspending operations there in late July. Deadly accidents involving Revel mopeds occurred on July 18, July 25 and July 28. The September accident came just one month after its relaunch.
The company previously said it enhanced its safety measures, including the addition of a GPS tracking system that can tell whether any of its 3,000 New York City mopeds are being driven improperly, such as against traffic or in parks. Drivers who don’t follow traffic rules will be immediately suspended.
Drivers also have to confirm that they are wearing a helmet and answer all questions correctly on a 21-question driving quiz before they’re allowed to rent a Revel.
Anyone who wants to drive a Revel moped must have a valid driver’s license, but a license to drive a motorcycle isn’t required. The vehicles are meant to be driven in the street alongside traffic, but since their 2018 debut, they have been spotted on sidewalks and in bike lanes and even running red lights. The vehicles’ top speed is limited to 30 mph.
Revel also operates in Austin, Miami, Oakland, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., with plans to expand in other cities.
The company and its advocates say that Revel has provided the commuting public with a safe and important form of transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing drivers to maintain social distancing, which they cannot do on crowded subways, buses, and even taxis.
“Electric moped sharing is an increasingly important part of New York’s transportation ecosystem, especially as COVID-19 has created a real need for socially distant modes,” Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig said in a statement about the September collision, according to NBC New York. “Revel should face the same consideration for how it works on the streets as any other part of the transportation system – commercial trucks, livery, drivers of private vehicles and more,” he added, also sending his condolences to Ms. Schnitker’s family.
It remains to be seen how the latest deadly crash will affect Revel’s operations in New York City, but Mayor Bill de Blasio called the company’s record of safety “an unacceptable state of affairs.”
“When you see an incident, a few incidents, it causes concern,” de Blasio said at the time. “Our people have been talking to Revel, and they’ve been making changes, but not enough changes is the bottom line. This has just gotten to be too much.”
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