You might have thought about using a kick scooter for your commute but are not really sure whether it will be the right option for you.
Well, are kick scooters good for commuting? Kick scooters can be good for commuting if you have a route that is mostly flat in an urban environment with lots of smooth surfaces and, ideally, with wide sidewalks or pavements. Kick scooters suit commuters who will only be traveling up to 2 miles each way on the scooter. That said, kick scooters combine very well with other forms of transit as part of a commute, as will be explained below.
Reasons Why Kick Scooters Might Suit Your Commute
The small size of kick scooters makes them appealing for commuting on for two reasons.
The first reason is that, if you get a folding kick scooter, you can almost always find somewhere to store this at your workplace without causing any problems.
By this I mean inside your office or work environment, meaning that you won’t have to really worry about it getting stolen.
Their size is also a bonus for commuters as that means they suit people with small living spaces like apartments or flats. Kick scooters can also be taken on nearly all forms of public transit/transport meaning that you can make your commute a little bit faster and more active by using a kick scooter along with public transit or a car, for instance.
A standard size for an adult kick scooter on Amazon would be approximately:
- 35 inches (90cm) long
- 40 inches (1m) in height and
- 14 inches (35cm) wide when ready for use.
- NB: When folded, the height of a kick scooter drops dramatically, to around 6 inches (15cm), making them easily ‘stowable’ in most situations.
Kick scooters offer a quicker alternative to walking on a commute, with them being estimated to be about 4 times faster than walking while on the flat, although this will slow down considerably on hills.
This time saving makes kick scooters a great option for those of you walking 1-2 miles each way on your regular commute, provided that it is mostly flat and on roads/sidewalks.
Good folding kick scooters also have a simple mechanism, making it quick and easy to fold or unfold them when needed. Look for this in the product description when buying a kick scooter as a quick folding mechanism makes kick scooters a lot more appealing for a commuter!
As outlined previously, the foldable kick scooters can go almost anywhere given that their folded form is a heck of a lot small than a bike.
Kick scooters fit easily into the trunk (or boot) of even small cars if you need to split your commute between driving and scooting.
Won’t Get Stolen
Kick scooters can be kept under a desk in an office, or propped up discreetly against a wall or other items.
Storing them inside means that you don’t need to worry about your kick scooter getting stolen as you would with a bike that is locked up outside all day.
You can buy a lock for to use with a kick scooter but scooters do not generally come with places to easily attach locks to. For this reason, I would recommend that you use a kick scooter only if you have a suitable place for it at your office.
I say this since the only kinds of locks you can buy for most kick scooters are going to be padlocks, which probably won’t be enough to protect your scooter if left on the street in most urban environments.
Good for Exercise
Kick scooters can also help you to do some higher intensity exercise or physical activity as part of your commute.
If going faster than average or uphill, you will likely be doing some ‘moderate-vigorous physical activity’ (MVPA), which is a more intense form of physical activity that helps you to maintain good physical health and fitness. This more intense exercise is not something you will usually get from walking, for instance, so kick scooter commuting can be a great value add to your daily commute in that respect.
Make sure that you try to push with each leg equally to avoid building up the strength and technique in one leg only. I like to go for 5 pushes on one leg, then 5 on the other to make this easier as I find it a little tricky to constantly shift my balance between them.
Reasons Why Kick Scooters Might Not Suit Your Commute
Kick scooters work best on roads and sidewalks with smooth surfaces. With that in mind, if your journey to work involves lots of uneven surfaces in the roads and on the sidewalks, then kick scooters can be quite a jarring ride, even if they have suspension.
Something like a folding bike would likely be a better option in that case.
Similarly, if your commute on a kick scooter would involve lots of transitions from roads to curbs and back again, kick scooters might not be the best option. Although many can handle these, it depends on the height and whether the curbs are low enough meaning you don’t need to get off your scooter.
Before riding a kick scooter on a road, first check whether it is legal to do so in your area. The rules and regulations on this vary greatly by jurisdiction and country, so do your research before buying a kick scooter.
If you are able to use your kick scooter on a road, remember that you will need to ride it on the side of the road and that you will be going a lot slower than cars and a fair bit slower than most bicycles.
Consider whether this is something you would like, or if you can avoid it by riding on the sidewalk/pavement.
Kick scooters can be really hard work on even gentle hills, which might be something you like if you are looking to boost your fitness.
However, if commuting uphill on a kick scooter, you should expect to get a little sweaty, even in the colder months of the year.
This is because kick scooters have small wheels and this means that each push with your leg is going to be a lot more intense on a hill, so be prepared for this.
On the flip side, if going downhill, kick scooters are quite hard to stop properly as they usually have a foot brake on the back. This works by stepping on a brake pad which then touches the wheel, but this has a much larger stopping distance than a bike at the same speed.
Kick scooters are best for commuters with a journey of 1-2 miles each way.
I say this because traveling less than a mile could mean that having a kick scooter does not save that much time overall and feels like more of an inconvenience than anything given the extra time and effort to use it.
If you have a commute that is over 2 miles, a kick scooter might feel extremely tiring, especially with uneven surfaces, wind and hills. A folding bike for commuting would likely be a better option in which case as it will cover the same distance much more quickly and will be small enough not to be a problem for most commuters.
Many kick scooters come with wheels that are similar to inline skates (or ‘rollerblades’) and are made of polyurethane.
The problem here is that they offer very little traction on wet roads or surfaces, a major problem if turning.
As such, kick scooters are best for dry weather commuting as you will likely slide out when turning at a moderate speed on a kick scooter (I know, I’ve been there and done it, but fortunately it was not on a road!).
Although light enough to carry short distances, some commuters might find kick scooters quite heavy if they have longer parts of their journey where they will need to carry their scooter.
For example, if you will be using a metro/underground service as part of your commute, you might find a kick scooter a little heavy to carry up and down lots of stairs or steps.
A standard weight for a kick scooter is around 13 pounds (6kg), so it’s OK for most but this would be on top of the other things you will be carrying for a day at work.
Now, this one really depends on you and your surrounding environment, but some commuters might feel embarrassed by riding a kick scooter.
I know this sounds silly for adult commuters but, if like me, it’s not common to see people commuting on a scooter, then you might feel like almost everyone is staring at you (as they might well be!)
You will obviously know if this will bother you or not but I do not like the extra attention and it is just enough to put me off using my kick scooter more regularly.
Hopefully you are bolder than me and this won’t phase you in the same way!
Awareness of Other Road Users
Other road users around you, and even pedestrians, might not be used to adults using kick scooters on either roads or sidewalks.
If this is the case, remember that you will need to be that bit more cautious on your commute.
I say this because bikes and pedestrians are pretty normal in most environments, but scooters can catch drivers and other pedestrians off-guard.
Are kick scooters suitable for heavy adults?
Kick scooters can certainly work for heavy adults, but make sure you read the manufacturer’s product description before purchasing.
Most standard kick scooters have a recommended weight limit of 200lbs (90kg), but the Xootr Cruz kick scooters can carry weights “over 800 pounds” (or 360kg approx.) according to their Amazon listing.
The Xootr Cruz scooters are also only 3 pounds heavier than most standard scooters, so it’s not a huge difference for commuters.
Is riding a scooter good exercise?
As mentioned in some of the points above, riding a kick scooter can be a great form of exercise or physical activity.
This is particularly true is riding for longer distances or uphill on a kick scooter as it makes it much more intense on your body.
By commuting on a kick scooter at a moderate-high speed or uphill, you add in some “moderate-vigorous physical activity” (MVPA) to your day, which is extremely positive for overall physical fitness.
Using a kick scooter on the flat in normal conditions for your commute is also a beneficial form of exercise and will help you to fit more activity into your day in a sustainable way.