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NY scooter operator ups safety with helmet selfies and quizzes after rider deaths

But should it be held responsible for its user's actions?

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A ride-on electric scooter operator in New York is taking steps to up its safety game after a series of fatal crashes.

Shared electric moped company Revel suspended operations in New York last month after a spate of safety violations and three fatal crashes.

The company also suspended 1,000 users from its service for flaunting its safety rules.

[Read: The US could save over $70B if it switched to electric vehicles]

Now, Revel is looking to relaunch in the city and is doing so with some new features which it hopes will increase the safety of its platform, Electrek reports.

Helmet selfies

While it’s a legal requirement for scooter riders in the US to wear helmets, various reports claim that many Revel riders didn’t bother with the head protection.

In an attempt to make sure its riders use the helmets that the company provides for every ride, it’s added a feature to the app which requires users to send a selfie of them correctly wearing the headgear to unlock the scooter.

revel, helmet, selfie, scooter, electric
Credit: Revel
Revel users will have to send a selfie of themselves wearing the helmet before their scooter will unlock. All Revel scooters come with two helmets and hygienic replaceable liners.

Riders must demonstrate that they’re wearing the helmet and that it’s correctly fastened. There seems to be nothing to stop them taking it off after the selfie is verified and the scooter unlocks, though.

Arguably, this isn’t Revel’s responsibility, and how much it should be held responsible for the actions of its users is debatable.

Question time

Revel is also going to introduce a 20-minute multiple choice quiz that it hopes will educate users on correct road safety.

Users will have to answer every question correctly twice, in one sitting, before being allowed to use the company’s scooters. It will be mandatory from September 1, but users can already access the quiz now to get a jump on it.

Revel, escooter, moped, electric, sharing
Credit: Revel
Revel users will have to pass basic road safety quiz before they’re allowed to unlock any devices. Let’s hope it weeds out the riders that would have posed a safety risk to others.

It seems like Revel is taking positive additional steps to address the safe use of its scooters. However, it shouldn’t have to — there are laws in place that road users must follow — the company can’t be held totally responsible for the misuse of its devices.

What this situation really highlights is the need for proper training on how to ride electric mopeds, which would require a nationwide change to driver licensing to restrict moped use to only those qualified. It certainly wouldn’t be good for Revel’s business model.

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Published August 19, 2020 — 10:11 UTC