Revel Scooter Accidents Leave People Questioning Bike’s Safety



Revel Scooter. Photo by Lizzie Hyman

In a Midtown tunnel, a 22-year-old man was thrown from his Revel scooter and hit by a SUV, dying shortly after at Bellevue Hospital.

Andreas Marino was driving through the First Avenue tunnel near East 48th Street around 11:15 p.m. on September 19, when he “lost control and was ejected” from the rental scooter, according to an investigation by the New York City Police Department. Moments later, Marino was run over and killed by a man who is suspected of being intoxicated. The driver was taken into custody and charges are pending.

Marino’s death follows a string of traffic fatalities caused by Revel scooters. Three New York City riders, including CBS News reporter Nina Kapur, 26, were killed in accidents during Summer 2020. In response, Revel shut down its services that July to update its safety protocols. A month later, the company started renting scooters again but added a 20-minute safety video, and required that riders send in a selfie wearing a helmet. But many New York City residents don’t think enough is being done and want stricter rules in place for Revel scooters. Some even hope for the removal of the scooters altogether.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, 29-year-old Tania Marino, the older sister of Andreas Marino, said her brother was very new to driving a Revel scooter, as he had just received his driver’s license a week before his death. Their mother is “begging city authorities to remove the scooters” and shut down Revel, said Tania Marino.

The Marino family is not alone in this fight. Other New York residents also want the scooter service shut down.

“There is no benefit to having these Revels that a bike cannot provide. They cause nothing but problems and Manhattan is better off without them,” said Erika Berg, a 57-year-old lifelong New Yorker.

But Revel stands by its standards. “Safety is a part of Revel’s DNA. We have extensive protocols in place to ensure our users are educated on and following the law, and work closely with regulators to promote accountability and overall street safety in our communities,” said a Revel spokesperson.

According to a source close to the company, Revel has been working proactively on safety issues with the New York City Department of Transportation since the company launched in 2018. This includes complying with a DOT request, made just days before Marino’s death, that Revel scooters no longer go over the Queensboro and Manhattan bridges. Before, moped riders with more than 25 miles of experience were allowed to travel over the bridges, said the source.

“Revel users might opt to illegally use the bike and pedestrian paths on these spans to avoid car traffic on the main spans, creating a serious safety risk to cyclists and pedestrians,” said Brian Zumhagen, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation. “Any death on our streets is an avoidable tragedy, and the family and friends of the victim are in our thoughts.”

But fatalities aren’t the only problem.

There have been a number of injuries reported by riders of Revel scooters. In the company’s most recent safety study for New York City, Revel found that “during the study period, Revel riders were involved in 155 incidents involving property damage or injury. Of those incidents, three resulted in broken bones, 55 in minor injury or bruises, 58 with no visible injury, and 39 in property damage only.”

Among those who have been injured is 22-year-old Connor Battin, a Tri-State area resident. Battin experienced bruising up and down his left leg after slipping off a Revel during his senior year of college at Georgetown University. “It had rained earlier and it was my first time riding one. I was coming up to a stop and I guess I broke too fast because the wheel slipped and the Revel fell over,” he said. “I’d like to think I stopped slow enough for that not to happen.”

Battin said he had never ridden a motorcycle or anything similar to a Revel, but was still able to rent one. All that is required to set up an account is a driver’s license. “I really don’t think they’re safe for your average college student to be taking on a joyride. They’re definitely super fun to ride, though.”

Riley Strassner, a 23-year-old New York City resident believes Revel is a good source of transportation so long as riders know what they are getting themselves into. “I think if the thought of riding with traffic on a moped scares you, then it will be a dangerous activity for you. You need confidence behind the throttle for a safe ride,” he said. “Revel is dangerous, but I believe it is the best way to get around.”

Andreas Marino was a fun-loving person, said Tania Marino in her Daily News interview. “He was hilarious, the life of every party, filled with life. Like a bright light every time. He lit up a room. Always laughing, always.”