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In Wake Of Reporter Nina Kapur's Death, CBS2 Takes Closer Look At Prevalence And Safety Of Scooters In NYC

(Updated at 12:52 p.m. on Wednesday)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It still doesn't feel real that CBS2's friend and colleague, Nina Kapur, is gone.

She died this past Saturday in a scooter accident in Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, friends created a makeshift memorial at the accident site to honor Nina's memory. Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke about how she made a difference.

CBS2 has since learned that the 26-year-old man who was operating the scooter made a hard break while traveling northbound on Franklin Street in Greenpoint. He suffered minor injuries. The FDNY said Kapur and the driver were not wearing helmets.

Days before the tragedy, CBS2's news team discussed the prevalence of scooters and concerns shared with us by viewers.

So now, CBS2's Lisa Rozner takes a closer look.

Nina Kapur
(credit: Instagram/NinaKapur)

Running red lights. Driving on the sidewalk. Going against traffic.

Most of the incidents involving Revel scooters CBS2 has captured over the last few months show most operators are disobeying traffic laws.

"The one thing that's been noticeable has been a lack of helmets," Greenpoint resident Lindsay Cohen said.

While CBS2 is still learning the details surrounding Kapur's death, we're also gathering data on accidents that have lead to injuries on the scooters.

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The incident was not the only accident involving a Revel scooter on Saturday. At around 5:30 a.m., police said a man was found unconscious in Queens. Police said it's not clear if he was hit by a vehicle on Steinway Street in Astoria or if he fell off the scooter, but he remains in Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition.

But some people who live in Brooklyn, where the company first started, said there are concerns.

"I've seen lots of people that don't really know much about motorbikes riding the Revels and often it seems that they aren't in control of the machine," Greenpoint resident Greg Stonge said. "They're wobbling, they're stopping, and then they aren't stable."

"We don't know how often they're actually checking to see if they have a license," added resident Pamela Johnson. "Truthfully, I think there should be more stringent policies behind it."

Revel scooter
Revel scooter (Photo: CBS2)

Revel came to Brooklyn in 2018, expanded to Queens a year later, and this past spring to Manhattan and the Bronx. It has skyrocketed in popularity, but it has also suspended 1,000 riders in a month.

Just this past Thursday, Revel wrote its users, saying "Hey NY, we need to talk…" and that it is "seeing more people breaking the rules."

The company reminded customers to follow traffic laws and wear helmets.

The state DMV told Rozner: "Like any car, truck or motorcycle being operated on public roads and highways, under Vehicle and Traffic Law, mopeds must be registered, they should never be ridden on sidewalks, and operators must have a valid license to ride them -- and it is up to local law enforcement to ensure compliance with the law. Furthermore, the law empowers the City to prohibit, restrict or regulate the operation of limited use vehicles, like these mopeds, on any street or highway."

Revel said there have been 3 million rides taken to date. Police told CBS2 stats from this year show there have been 25 collisions involving specifically Revel scooters city-wide from Jan. 1 through July 5.

Because they are classified by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles as "Class B limited use motorcycles," also known as mopeds, and capped at 30 mph, you only need a driver's license to operate them.

Helmets are legally required by the state.

Revel told CBS2 riders are "required to wear one of the two helmets provided with each vehicle," and that the company offers free lessons.

"It seems like half the time, especially now with the pandemic, I think people are afraid to put a helmet on and share that kind of thing on your head," Greenpoint resident Joyce Adams said.

Revel claims it thoroughly disinfects the mopeds and helmets regularly.

But how much is it being enforced that those helmets are being worn, and should there be more steps taken before one can rent a Revel?

These are questions CBS2 is asking the state, the city, and Revel.

Revel said it is actively investigating Kapur's accident and is in contact with the NYPD. It also acknowledges that until now, there had been no previous fatalities related to an accident on one of its vehicles.

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