Scooter-sharing service Revel relaunched in New York City on Thursday, just one month after it shut down because of three fatal crashes in 10 days.
Revel, which also operates in four other cities, said it made changes to safety measures which include new features for confirming that users are wearing helmets before they're allowed to ride. Riders must also answer a 21-question safety quiz, in which they have to get a perfect score.
The company has also added GPS tracking to all of the 3,000 scooters it has on NYC streets and it will be able to tell if people are riding in the wrong direction on a one-way street, or are riding in a park. Those that do so will face immediate suspension.
The service shut down in NYC on July 28, hours after a fatal crash. City leaders made clear the company's record was "unacceptable" and that major changes were required before it could operate again.
The black and blue scooters, which require a driver’s license but not a motorcycle license, had been seen as an alternative to taxis and subways during the coronavirus pandemic. The company had seen ridership nearly doubled since March.
Revel's electric mopeds are limited to speeds of 30 miles per hour. Its posted rules required riders to wear a helmet — but that wasn't always been the case, with riders repeatedly spotted helmetless since the scooters arrived in 2018. The vehicles are also prohibited on sidewalks and in bike lanes, and are intended to ride in the roadways with traffic.
Revel crashes on July 18, July 25 and July 28 ultimately lead to three deaths. The company previously suspended more than 1,000 riders over the course of the summer for other safety violations.
It continues to operate in Austin, Miami, Oakland and Washington DC.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that city officials spoke to Revel executives after the July 28 death and made clear the company’s safety record is “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.”
The city's Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the city negotiated the new guidelines for the company — including the rule that riders and passengers have to take and send a selfie showing their wearing a helmet.
"The theory on the selfie picture is once you've put the helmet on and taken the picture, you're most likely not going to take it off," Trottenberg said.
Other new changes include the company not allowing rides between midnight and 5 a.m. for the first 60 days of the relaunch, as the city said that too many crashes were happening in the overnight hours.