Revel’s electric mopeds return to NYC with new in-app safety test and mandatory helmet selfies

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Revel has announced it’ll be resuming its electric moped service in New York City starting today, with new protective measures for riders like a mandatory in-app safety test and a requirement that all riders take a selfie of themselves wearing a helmet before they’ll be allowed to ride. The company worked with the City of New York in developing the new safety measures, and city officials have signed off on the new plan.

Revel suspended its service in late July after two customers were killed and one was critically injured while riding the shared electric mopeds. At the time, the company had said that it would be “reviewing and strengthening our rider accountability and safety measures” in light of the accidents.

One of the biggest changes is a new, mandatory safety test that’s been added to the Revel app that all riders — whether they’ve been using the service for years or are completely new to Revel — will have to pass before they’re allowed to operate the mopeds. New York City customers will have to take the test immediately, while existing customers in Oakland, Austin, and DC will be allowed to ride without taking the test until September 1st.

Revel partnered with The Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) to develop the test, which features 21 questions on safety training, helmet requirements, traffic laws, rules about where you can drive the bikes, an instructional video, and more. The company is also expanding its free in-person lessons across New York City — Revel will now offer over 1,000 lessons per week across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, available to anyone with a Revel account to help new riders adjust to the platform.

Also new is a mandatory helmet selfie requirement: now, when you start a ride on a Revel in the app, only the helmet case on the back of the bike will unlock. Only after you’ve submitted a selfie showing the you (and a passenger, if you have one) are wearing helmets will the app then enable to moped to power on. Revel will also be selling personal helmets through its website for $35 (plus shipping and handling) in an effort to improve helmet usage among customers who don’t want to use the shared helmets.

Revel has also revamped its suspension policy to be far stricter. Sharing your account with anyone, riding with a passenger who is under 18, riding on a sidewalk, riding on a highway or any road with a speed limit over 40 mph, or failing to report an accident will all result in permanent suspensions. Riding without a helmet, running red lights or stop signs, riding in a bike lane, on a major bridge or in a tunnel, in a park, the wrong way down a one-way street will result in warnings or temporary suspensions for the initial offense, with permanent suspensions on subsequent violations.

Reckless driving (which Revel defines as “endangering pedestrians or other motorists, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding through red lights, racing, doing wheelies or donuts, riding with more than one passenger,”) will also result in a temporary suspension.

In order to hold riders accountable for all these rules, Revel is also making it easier for New Yorkers — whether they are Revel customers or not — to report bad behavior both within the Revel app and through an online reporting tool. The company has also added a new automated system that will detect when riders are violating rules (like entering a park or driving down a one-way street the wrong way).

Revel’s service has officially resumed in New York City across the four-borough service area that the company operates in as of 9AM ET today. However, the company will be suspending service from 12AM to 5AM on “a pilot basis” for the first 60 days of its resumed operations in New York as it continues to work with the NYC Department of Transportation to ensure safe overnight service.

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