Is an electric kick scooter still a kick scooter (even though you don't have to kick)? What would you call it?

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The distinction between "kick scooters" and simply "scooters" is important. You can't call "scooter" the thing above and this vehicle too if you want to recognize that distinction

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  • 3
    Not everywhere calls them 'kick scooters'. In my country they are just 'scooters'. Nov 9, 2022 at 22:50
  • I, being older, think of Lambrettas, Vespas, etc, like the one in the lower picture when I hear 'scooters' mentioned. I think modern UK media may resolve this by calling them 'mopeds', but to me these are different too - I'm remembering Mobylettes, NSU Quicklies, etc. Nov 10, 2022 at 10:23
  • Context supplies resolution of apparent ambiguity. When I was a kid aged about 9, I had a thing like the top picture, but propelled by foot. It was called a scooter. When I was 17, I had a thing like the bottom picture, a Vespa, and it would have generally been called a motor scooter. No ambiguity would have arisen if I had called it just a 'scooter' because no self-respecting 17 year old would have ridden a kid's toy around. Nov 10, 2022 at 10:49
  • The other week I saw a great big teenage woman, an adult in size if not legally, riding a 'kick scooter' around in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. She was with her parents and a sibling. They were clearly foreign tourists. An attendant told her to get off it. Nov 10, 2022 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


Think of kick scooter as being one word. Then the differentiating word is electric to indicate whether your kick scooter is manual or automatic, so to speak:

I have a kick scooter.

I have an electric kick scooter.

The fact that kick implies manual to you just means that you're old enough to remember when the manual form of the scooter existed. Eventually, they will probably all be electric, but you'll still call them kick scooters.

If you really want a word that distinguishes them, I would use self-propelled to reference the electric kind.

  • I doubt they'll all be electric. Kids will want scooters, and adults will want normal scooters for tricks, as light exercise, or because they are cheaper.
    – James K
    Nov 10, 2022 at 6:07

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