Is it Okay For Adults to Ride Kids’ Scooters?
TLDR: No! Well, maybe.
This is a complicated question. It’s a question of taste and of engineering. Kick scooters are beloved by people of all ages. They are simple to use and easy to operate. Kick scooters are handy for commuters, students, and people who just want to have fun in the park. Anyone who has been to the circus has seen a clown riding a tiny bicycle. Does that mean an adult can ride a kid’s kick scooter?
Who's It Designed For?
To explain, let’s begin with some cold, hard engineering facts. While the aesthetics of a product, like a kid’s kick scooter, may be designed around the aesthetic tastes of a specific age group, the industrial design and engineering of said product is first and foremost designed around the stresses and uses it will endure.
If you read the fine print on any adult kick scooter, you will see that the scooter has a weight limit. For larger adults, some companies make reinforced kick scooters, just like how bicycle manufacturers make reinforced bicycle frames. These weight limits don’t refer to the amount of stress the unit can take when it has a rider standing or sitting in it. It takes other factors into account.
To give a useful analog, think of wristwatches. The way wristwatches are tested for how waterproof they are involves putting the watch in a tank of water and raising the pressure until it matches a specific depth rating. This continues until the watch fails, allowing water into the watch case. This test is not the same as wearing the watch underwater because moving underwater puts pressure on the watch, putting the same stress on the watch as sitting still at a much lower depth. If one has a dive watch that claims to be waterproof up to 100 meters (or 10 atmospheres) then if one were swimming only a few meters underwater, one would be subjecting it to the same amount of pressure as 100 meters because of one’s movement in the water. The lab test for depth has the watch sitting still in a small tank, but real life does not.
Things like kick scooters are measured for tolerances but when you read the weight restriction, it has the opposite meaning of that on a watch. When a kick scooter claims a specific weight restriction, it is taking into account that someone of that weight would ride over a bump. When that rider comes down off the bump, the amount of force their mass exerts on the deck of the kick scooter increases many times, depending on the size of the bump. It could as much as double or triple. That means that if you’re an adult of 125 lbs and climb onto a kid’s kick scooter with an 80 lbs weight rating, it might feel okay at first, but that’s because it was designed to take the amount of weight an 80 lbs child would put on it when riding it, which is more than 80 lbs. If you were to ride it, it might break.
More importantly, a child’s kick scooter is designed with a certain height range in mind. Center of gravity and is influenced by posture. If an adult too tall for a scooter’s handlebars tries to grab them, then that adult is leaning forward and their center of gravity will likely mean going over the handlebars if the front wheel hits a bump in the road.
Finally, there’s how it looks. You may love kick scooters, but hopping on one to go for a ride looks like ordering from the kids menu in a fancy restaurant. Don’t be that person.
Now for the contradiction: if you are a smaller adult and you meet the height and weight limits of a kid’s kick scooter, then that’s the kick scooter for you. It really is that simple.
Kids Scooter Recommendations
(and 1 for both kids and adults!)
1. GOMO 3-Wheel Scooter
A great kid’s kick scooter is the GOMO Kids Scooter. It’s safe, well built, and appealing to kids’ tastes.
2. Arcade Rogue Pro Scooter
The Arcade Rogue Pro Scooter is the best pro scooter for completely new stunt riders. For newbies who also want to ride like their heroes, check out the Rogue! It rides like a pro, with an entry level price.
3. Cityglide C200 Kick Scooter
Kids and adults love riding the Cityglide C200 Kick Scooter. Adjustable, foldable, and lightweight, it's the scooter fit for the whole family.