Who’s Ready for the Electric Moped Moment?

On a recent Saturday morning in Washington, D.C., I convinced my girlfriend to try a new way to get to brunch: We’d ride one of the shiny black-and-blue Revel motor scooters that had just arrived in town…

Compared to the toylike, rule-flouting, sidewalk-cluttering kick-scooters, proper motor scooters also promise to be a more regulated—and officially legitimized—form of urban transportation. “It rides and parks in the street and flows through traffic, completely off sidewalks,” says Frank Reig, CEO of Revel. “You’re part of the traffic lane and have a license plate.”

As with similar moped startups—Muving in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, Scoot in San Francisco—you need a driver’s license and a proper helmet to grab a Revel motor scooter. To get started, the company requires a scan of your license, accompanied by an in-app selfie, to go through a $19 background check approval. What you don’t need is a motorcycle license, or any prior experience piloting these kinds of vehicles. And that could prove to be a challenge for some.