News & Politics

We Are Running Out of Names for All These &@#[email protected]$ Scooters

This is a scooter.

Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.

This is also a scooter.

Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.

Revel wants you to call these things “mopeds.”

Photo courtesy Revel.

But “moped” is a 1950s portmanteau of “motorized” and “pedal.” These are mopeds.

Photograph by ermess via iStock.

Do you see any pedals on the “mopeds” Revel hopes you’ll rent? No, no you don’t. What Revel offers is an electric version of a classic…scooter.

Photograph by nrqemi; via iStock.

The closest thing you’ll find to a moped among shareable vehicles around DC right now is an electric bike. These are known as “electric bikes.”

Photograph courtesy Jump.

This is a man named Scooter.

Photograph of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby via the U.S. National Archives

This is a puppet named Scooter.

This motorized one-wheeled device is called an “electric unicycle.” It is not called a scooter.

Photograph by Willbrasil21 via iStock.

This motorized two-wheeled device is called a “hoverboard.” It does not hover, but it is not called a scooter.

Photograph by Halfpoint via iStock.

But almost everything else is a scooter.

Photograph by SbytovaMN via iStock.
Photograph by russellbinns via iStock.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.