Don’t Be That Person: Who Is a Motorcycle Squid

Prices of motorcycles vary a lot, from brand new Harleys to all ranges of used motorcycle values, and so do riding styles. If you pay attention to bikers, you’ve likely seen responsible riders who are aware of their surroundings and respectful of other people on the highway. Conversely, you’ve probably also seen irresponsible bikers who dress like they think they’re invincible, ignore rules of the road, and lack common courtesy to other drivers. The latter is an example of what is referred to as a “squid” on a bike. If you’re buying a motorcycle, it’s a good idea to know what a squid is before you even start riding.

How Did Squid Start?

The origination of the term squid for bikers has a vague origin, linked back to surfers who behave similarly on the waves. Many think the term developed out of a mash-up of the words “squirrely” or “squished” along with the word “kid.” The idea of these words being that the biker operates their motorcycle irresponsibly, like a young person driving in a squirrely fashion, or in a way that could end up with them squished on the pavement.

What is a Squid Exactly?

Over time, people have connected acronyms with the terms squid to summarize the idea of this kind of individual. Two standard abbreviations are “speeding quickly until I die” and “stupidly quick, underdressed, ignorant, and dangerous.” As you can see, the term is not a flattering one. Being a squid is not considered cool among bikers or anyone else. Squid is a derogatory term to explain a generally immaturity and recklessness on motorcycles.

What Defines a Motorcycle Squid?

Many behaviors can make someone a “squid.” While there is no one exact definition, generally a squid is someone who dresses without the proper gear—ignoring not only their own safety but neglecting to acknowledge that if they get hurt or killed in an accident with a vehicle the potential consequences that could have on drivers, when the biker is opting to ride without safety gear.

A moto squid does not have to be a young person. The idea of a squid being youthful comes from the more frequent occurrence that very young bikers tend to act more irresponsibly than older, more mature riders. However, an older person can still be a squid, while a young motorcyclist who wears gear and pays attention to the rules of the road is not a squid.

A squid could also be a rider who wears all the appropriate gear but drives at unsafe speeds or pops wheelies on streets next to vehicles or does any number of other behaviors that endanger themselves or other drivers. Essentially, a squid is so caught up in the appearance of riding a motorcycle and the idea of riding that they forget how dangerous motorbikes can be.

Squids are not just an irritation to drivers of vehicles. The motorcycle community, in general, dislikes squids, as they are seen a bit as “posers” and often give bikers a negative connotation. Avoiding being a moto squid is something you want to strive for as a motorcyclist.

Specific bikes are a little more attached with the concept of a squid, too. While not all sport bike riders are squids by any means, owning these motorcycles, often called “crotch rockets” are more commonly associated with squids. Bikes such as the Suzuki GSXR, just as an example, are more frequently linked with the term. Although you can still ride a bike like this and avoid being a squid—pay more attention to safety and the rules of the road than looking cool.

Why You Don’t Want to Be a Squid

Being a moto squid will not just have drivers in cars rolling their eyes at you, the motorcycle community at large will not be as accepting of you, either. Squids give bikers a bad name, and even many biker gangs and riding clubs dislike squids. A squid is seen, generally, as a young punk kid who has no respect for others and no respect for their life or the dangers of a motorcycle.

Being a squid is dangerous, and the consequences of ignoring safety on a bike are too significant for that to be a smart move. As a motorcyclist, you need to remember that your wellbeing is not guaranteed just because you feel in control of your bike. You never know when another driver might swerve into your lane, a deer can come jumping out onto the road, or any other malfunction can happen in a split second. No matter how experienced the rider, motorcycle accidents can happen to anyone, even professionals, and they occur in an instant when they do. Be prepared and alert, instead of putting yourself in harm’s way.

How to Avoid Being a Moto Squid

There are a lot of things you can do to avoid giving the appearance of a squid. Responsible behavior is the hallmark of avoiding this derogatory term. Riding with a sense of responsibility is not only a wise idea to keep your insurance costs low, but more importantly, to keep yourself alive, prevent harming others, and avoid injuries such as road rash or worse.

Wearing the proper gear is just part of the way to avoid being a squid. There is a term in the motorcycle world that goes, “dress for the slide, not for the ride.” In other words, outfit yourself as if you are going to slide on the pavement and protect yourself the best you can, instead of dressing to look fresh or attractive on your bike. Showing a lot of skin on a bike is just plain ignorant. A quick internet search of road rash images might change your mind quickly about wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt the next time you take your motorcycle out.

Gear is not the only part of being a smart motorcyclist, though. When you respect the rules of the road, who has the right of way, paying attention to speed limits, and using necessary driving skills such as employing your turn signals and so forth are part of evading being called a squid.

There is a bit of a deeper level to becoming a genuinely mature rider that involves having some amount of empathy for other people on the road. Whether you like it or not, you are not the only motorist on the street when you ride your bike in any traffic, even if that traffic is sparse. Revving your bike super loud next to another vehicle at a stoplight can be highly irritating, as can whipping around cars at high speeds when they don’t have time to see you and don’t expect it.

In general, to thwart the term for yourself:

  • Wear the proper gear
  • Respect the rules of the road
  • Take a motorcycle safety course
  • Don’t worry so much about appearance
  • Ride a bike for enjoyment, not just to look cool
  • Understand that you are not invincible
  • Ride within the speed limits
  • Only do stunts and tricks in places designed for it
  • Be considerate of drivers around you

Remember, you never know who is driving the vehicles around you, how sensitive or jumpy they are, or what physical or mental condition they have. Keeping that idea in mind is not only a simple way to avoid being a squid; it involves being wiser person all-around. When you are considerate of the other drivers on the road, aware that driving a motorcycle is, in fact, a dangerous activity that needs to be respected and wear the correct gear, you are then acting as the opposite of a moto squid—and that is a good thing.

Squid is the Opposite of Cool

There is a universal phenomenon that seems to happen when someone works too hard at something—the result can often be the opposite of what they wanted. Trying too hard to look cool on your bike will likely get you dubbed a squid, and it doesn’t look appealing, it seems like a desperate attempt to get attention.

Riding a motorcycle has a built-in cool vibe and one that looks even more alluring and mysterious when the rider doesn’t boast or get too showy on the road. You don’t have to force it when you’re riding a motorcycle. Let the bike and your ability to ride it speak for itself. Ducati prices might run high, but you can’t buy the kind of smooth persona that is attractive on a bike. Wear the right gear and act responsibly, and you will avoid being lumped in with the squids on the road, regardless of the VIN.