The popularity of scooters has been skyrocketing amongst children, teens, and even adults for a few years now. If your kids are also part of the rising number of scooter fans, we’ve prepared a list made especially for them, and you can check it out here. Otherwise, if you just want to know the difference between scooters and skateboards, stick with us till the end of this article.
Without even riding any of the two, a few differences can be noted right from the start. First of all, there’s no handle on a skateboard. All the control and balance are determined by how you move your body. In this sense, scooters are a little easier to learn. Having a handle where to put your hands can make a huge difference in many situations, especially for rookies.
There are many types of scooters, but for the purpose of an apples to apples comparison, we will be focusing mainly on pro scooters because they are foot-propelled, just like skateboards. And just like with skateboards, you can also do some cool tricks with them, both on the streets and in a skatepark.
Comparing the main features
Let’s go through some of the fundamental aspects that you will most likely search for when purchasing products from this category. If you’re a beginner, you will most likely look for your new “toy” to be easily accessible, convenient, with a low learning curve. Safety, ease of mastery, as well as how you will look until you get used to the ride will also be on our list.
Accessibility is probably the top concern for most people, so we will be covering that first. As mentioned earlier, scooters are far easier when it comes to learning the gist of things. This is because they have a handlebar where you keep your hands at all times, allowing you to keep your balance better than with skateboards, which have none.
When it comes to convenience, however, the skateboard is king. They’re usually way lighter than scooters and can be carried in one hand, whereas scooters cannot be carried as easily. And, unless the scooter has the ability to fold, it will also not fit as easily in the trunk of your car or even on the backseat.
When it comes to mastery and doing slick tricks, both of these are hard to learn. You will most likely fall off and hit yourself a couple of times when trying either. This is why buying protective equipment is not only necessary but mandatory. Even professionals fall off and suffer accidents from time to time, so don’t get too annoyed about how you look in protective gear.
Finally, we’re on the last part: how you will look and how much exercise both of these can provide you. How cool you’ll look on either of these depends on how fit and tall you are, but generally, the skateboard is considered the cooler option. As for exercise, both of these offer you equal opportunities to lose weight and stay in shape.
Scooter vs skateboard – the cultural shift
Do you remember the 90s? How about the early 2000s? Scooters were often scoffed at by pro skaters. They were seen as more of a child’s toy than a piece of legitimate sporting machinery. However, things have started changing drastically. Ever since many ride-sharing companies started putting out affordable scooters for rent, many people have grown a liking toward them.
Because of this, we are starting to see a slow but steady cultural shift. While the skateboard is going nowhere soon, scooters are definitely on the rise in many people’s preferences. Depending on where you live, you might even see kids on scooters far outnumbering kids on skateboards, which shows how much Gen Z’s preferences differ from millennials.
Bowman Hansen, the guy who won the VPS Australasian skateboarding world championships in Manly in 2017, has stated in an interview that he doesn’t particularly like scooterists. His view is no different than most people involved in professional skateboarding. He even went on to compare scooters to an epidemic because of the sheer outnumbering.
Moreso, he even stated that he wants to see fewer scooters altogether. But despite his wish, it is clear as day that this trend will only continue to rise. In 2018 in Chicago, 300 young scooterists flooded the streets of the city, doing all kinds of tricks, and basically ignoring every law possible. We do not encourage this, we’re just saying it happened.
If you don’t know about this trend, it’s called a street jam, and it’s basically a gathering of individuals from different parts of the world who want to show off their scooter or skateboard skills live. In many ways, it is very similar to how disruptive the skateboarding culture became in the 90s and early 2000s. Even these pros’ clothing is somewhat similar.
Here to stay or a temporary fad?
The debate is somewhat torn between two different sides, yet from what we’ve seen so far, we’re more inclined to believe that pro scootering is here to stay. One of the best-known scooter riders from the Chicago street jam from 2018, Logan Fuller, said that this entire culture is growing in many countries around the globe.
He stated that he went to street jams in Russia and France, where almost a thousand attendees would arrive. And many of them looked under 18 from what he could gather. This further shows just how much of an impact scooters have had on younger generations. Most of them simply backpack throughout the country to arrive at the street jam.
Again, this shows just how much passion these people put into this lifestyle. That’s cold, hard dedication for something that some dismiss as simply being a fad. Think about it, if so many people put so much effort into participating in these street jams, despite their low income, something must be up, something way bigger than any passing trend.
The same things happened with skateboarding all the way back in the 1960s. Its roots lie in that period’s surf culture. Needless to say, both of these cultures survived and thrived through numerous decades of change. There’s a pattern going on that makes us believe the same about scooter culture. There are too many similarities to not see where this is going.
While scooters may not have originated from the surfer cultures as skateboards did, they went through the same disruptive changes and cultural shifts that we’ve seen with the formerly-mentioned cultures as well. Leaving the lifestyle aspect behind, it’s up to you to choose what fits you better.
Closing thoughts on the scooter vs skateboard issue
You’ve seen in the first part of the articles the advantages and disadvantages of both sides so you can probably already make a decision faster. Just to reiterate, scooters are more accessible to newcomers, while skateboards have a long history and they look cooler to more people. Depending on the type of person you are, this will play a major role in your decision.
Also, don’t forget that there are many types of scooters. You may not necessarily purchase one to look cool, but solely for practical reasons. One of the best examples of practical scooters is mobility scooters. These are great tools that help the disabled and the elderly do basic tasks without struggling to walk with a cane or have to use the car constantly.
And don’t forget that every scooter category also has a subcategory. As an example, if you’re looking to buy a scooter for children, you might also find three-wheeled scooters or electric scooters, among others. Again, it all depends on doing some research and figuring out what would be best for you.
Subsequently, you can also find self-balancing electric scooters. The subcategories are unicycles, hoverboards, and self-balancing personal transporters, or Segways as they are more commonly known throughout the world. You probably wouldn’t have thought about these as scooters, but they fit inside the general category.
Now that we’ve got all the important points covered, we wish you good luck on choosing your next preferred mode of transport. And don’t forget to stay safe and obey the rules of the road. While street jams are a thing we look forward to, we don’t condone unsafe practices or breaking the law in any way, shape, or form.