June 20, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
North Brooklyn residents are speaking out about the dangerous misuse of a recently deployed fleet of rent-by-the-minute mopeds in the area.
The mopeds, put on the streets last month by tech startup company Revel, are reportedly being driven through local parks at high speeds, used without helmets, and taken on the highway.
Revel released its fleet of 1,000 mopeds across more than 20 neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens on May 29 after a successful test run in the Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick neighborhoods. Residents in North Brooklyn, however, have taken to social media and spoken to the Greenpoint Post about their apparent misuse since the official launch last month.
One resident, Angie Bee, says she witnessed two boys riding a Revel moped on the shoulder of the southbound BQE near the Metropolitan/Marcy entrance. Neither boy was wearing a helmet, Bee said, and both were laughing.
“My boyfriend pulled up next to them, shouted something about them being stupid for not wearing helmets and we took off,” Bee said. “They didn’t reply, they just stopped smiling.”
Revel mopeds max out at 29 miles per hour and users must agree to not drive them on the highway, bridges, or through tunnels, and to use the helmets provided with each bike, before being allowed to create an account on the company’s mobile app.
When signing up, applicants must provide a picture of their driver’s license, which the company uses to check the applicant’s driving record, as well as a selfie to prove that the license is their’s. Applicants must be 21 years of age and older.
One Greenpoint resident who lives across the street from McGolrick Park says she recently observed a group of young men riding the mopeds through the park around 9 p.m. at night, honking their horns and yelling at pedestrians to “get out of the f***ing way.”
“I went to the window and saw about five scooters flying through the park from the Nassau and Russell entrance,” the resident said. “There were definitely people out walking.”
Seven Revel users were suspended this week as a result of the McGolrick Park incident.
“Safety is our number one priority and any riders that violate our terms of service or demonstrate reckless behavior are immediately suspended from using the service,” said a Revel spokesperson. “Revel is committed to promoting responsible ridership, from having all riders undergo a driving history check when they sign up to offering free lessons and helmets with every ride.”
The safety concerns recently caught the attention of Assembly Member Joseph Lentol after his office was contacted by constituents concerned about the various incidents they had witnessed.
“The use of alternative modes of transportation, such as scooters and mopeds, provides a unique way of getting around the city,” Lentol said. “However, inappropriate and dangerous use of scooters and mopeds presents a danger not only to the driver, but the community at large.”
Lentol will be meeting with Revel on Monday to discuss the incidents as well as how the community can report inappropriate and dangerous activity directly to Revel.