Revel suspends service after second fatality

Brooklyn Paper hits the streets on new scooter rentals
Brooklyn Paper reporter Kevin Duggan trying out a Revel scooter last summer.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

The scooter-sharing service Revel announced on Tuesday that it will shut down service in New York City until further notice after two riders died while riding the popular electric-scooters.

“Starting today NYC service will be shut down until further notice,” the company wrote on Twitter. “We’re reviewing and strengthening our rider accountability with city officials, and we look forward to seeing you again in the near future.” 

The company’s safety features have come under scrutiny as its popularity has grown, which was compounded after the death of CBS2 reporter Nina Kapur, who became the service’s first fatality after falling off the back of a scooter in Greenpoint. 

A second rider, 32-year-old Jeremy Malave, died in Queens on July 28 after colliding with a light pole on Woodhaven Boulevard at 3:15 am  just hours before Revel made their announcement. 

During his daily press briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that the city would work with the micro-mobility company to beef up its safety measures.

“This is an unacceptable state of affairs,” the mayor said. “We will work with Revel. We will not allow them to reopen unless we are convinced it can be done safely.”

The company issued a stern warning to riders shortly before the tragic incidents, announcing that it had suspended over 1,000 riders for not following the rules of the road, and scolding its customers for the reckless riding that has accompanied the service’s rising popularity. 

The email said riders had been riding in bike lanes, running red lights, riding in parks, and not wearing their helmets. The company encouraged users to report other riders they saw breaking the rules. 

Revel first rolled out in Bushwick in 2018, before expanding to other parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. It now counts over 300,000 riders citywide and has seen its popularity grow as New Yorkers continue to avoid the subway due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Manhattan Rep. Adriano Espaillat had called for the service to be pulled from city streets following Kapur’s death, arguing that the motorized vehicles were too dangerous for city streets, and writing in a letter to the Department of Motor Vehicles that the service should be barred from operating until it has “adequate and updated regulations and training and safety measures.”

“It has become clear that there are serious safety implications for Revel users, other vehicles on the road, and bystanders,” Espaillat wrote.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.