What Is A Squid Motorcyclist: Everything You Didn’t Know!


You’ll meet all types of motorcyclists on the road. Most are responsible, ride safely and care about making it home at the end of the day. Then there are the others. Let’s talk about them. So, what is a squid motorcyclist?

A squid, is a motorcycle rider who rides outside his/her ability. Usually exceeding the safe speed for the current road conditions. They shun protective gear, preferring for a more relaxed attitude towards safety and rules. This combined with their inflated ego and lack of common sense leads to them crashing more often.

There’s so much more to it. If you want some handy tips for spotting and to learn how you can prevent becoming a squid. Read on!

Where did the term “squid” come from?

While the origin of the term is not clear. There are three commonly accepted theories. Which one is correct? I doubt anyone will ever know for sure. Let’s go over all three of them, then you can pick which makes the most sense to you.

The first one (and the one I always thought to be correct); states that due to their lack of skill and refusal to wear any protective gear, they would commonly crash and get injured.

Ending up splayed across the pavement with their arms and legs all going in different directions. Blood oozing out. Kind of like if you tossed a squid from a moving car.

For years I thought this was the correction origin story, but recently I was surfing the internet and came across a conflicting one. The story goes that it was a term used by surfers to describe a new surfer.

Someone who didn’t have control over his or her surfboard, they’d be “squirrely” and eventually fall off and be tossed around the surf like a squid.

I guess from there, some surfers who rode motorcycles adopted it to describe what we know today as a squid.

Others say, its origin is simply just from an acronym. “Stupid, Quick, Underdressed, Ignorant, Dead”, “Speeding Quickly Until I Die” Or some similar variation of the two. Makes sense, I can see this being true.

While all three seem to make logical sense, and thus each have an equal chances of being the true, for me the splayed on the road origin makes the most sense. For you it might be one of the other two. To each their own.

What is a squid motorcyclist?

While there is not a definite set of rules on what makes someone a squid, there are few obvious signals that will give it away pretty quickly. Trust me, when you see one you’ll know right away.

Even so, I’ll give you a quick list of 14 points to look for:

  1. Riding faster than the road conditions dictate.
  2. Riding with next to no protective gear on.
  3. No helmet. At best a “DOT approved” do-rag.
  4. Instead of motorcycle boots, wearing flip-flops or a pair running shoes with laces loosely tied.
  5. Sticker on motorcycle saying, “I don’t stop for cops” or something similar.
  6. Passing around blind corners or when generally not safe. Often crossing double yellow lines to do so.
  7. Un-reported crash damage on the motorcycle. Fixed with a crap ton of stickers.
  8. At red lights, rev-bombing non-stop.
  9. A GoPro or cheap knockoff mounted on the motorcycle. Doesn’t worry about cops using footage against him/her. “They can’t prove sh*t” type thinking.
  10. Learner tags on the back of his/her motorcycle.
  11. Heels on pegs and toes out.
  12. Tearing down the street doing a “sick” wheelie.
  13. Trying to get that perfect selfie as he/she rips down the highway or road.
  14. Attempting to get his/her knee down around every corner.

Those are some tell tale signs of a squid. If you see a rider on the road and can check off more than 3-4 items on the above list, chances are you’ve spotted a squid. Get your camera out and record, you never know what might happen.

What are the common characteristics of a squid?

So I’ve given you an easy checklist in order help you spot a squid in wild, but what are some common characteristics that would make a rider a squid?

Here are 9 common characteristics and attitudes of squids:

  1. If it isn’t a “litre bike”, then it isn’t a real motorcycle. Get me away from that sissy 600cc motorcycle. Give me a GSXR or an R1. The faster and more difficult to ride the better.
  2. Wearing gear is for losers or it makes you look like a try hard. This is a pretty common attitude among squids. Who needs to waste money on gear, I’m not planning on crashing. Dress for ride, not the slide right?
  3. Helmets. Pfft. Don’t want to mess up my hair. Besides, how are the chicks gonna see how cool I am? And again you only need a helmet if you are going to crash.
  4. Speed limit? Lol, the speed limit is just a suggestion. Huh, a school zone with a 90 degree blind turn to the left and a 20 speed limit? Screw that. I can easily make it at 70. Watch me get my knee down just like Rossi.
  5. Training and practice. I don’t need either, I’ll easily learn what I need to on the streets. Besides, I rode a dirt bike for an hour when I was a kid. That’s more than enough training.
  6. No license. Who needs a license? I don’t need a little piece of plastic to tell me I can or know how to ride a motorcycle.
  7. A true test of skill is rev bombing and sick wheelies. Time to show to all other motorists my mad skills. I mean, if I wasn’t a good rider could I do this? Nope.
  8. Maintenance. You mean slapping another sticker on the windscreen? Yea I look after my bike.
  9. Cops. They are only a problem if they catch you.

How can I prevent or avoid becoming a squid?

As you can see from all the points above, you do not want to be called a squid. While you might be quick to judge and call another rider a squid, take a minute to reflect on your own riding skills and attitudes towards motorcycles. If after this you think you might have some squid tendencies, no worries, it’s not too late to make some changes for the better. Being a squid or even a partial squid is not cool.

So how can you prevent becoming a squid? It’s not hard, here are 5 easy things you can do to prevent becoming a squid:

  1. Get your licence and practice. This might seem like a no-brainer, but one major characteristic of squids is the lack of skill. So get out there, take a basic and if you can afford it an advanced riding class. Also, get out to a parking lot a few times a week and practice. It doesn’t have to be long sessions, maybe just a quick 30 minutes here and there. I find that ending my day or ride with it works well for me.
  2. ATGATT. This stands for “All The Gear All The Time”. Learn this, and follow what is says. All the time means all the time. It doesn’t matter if you are just popping out for a quick 15 minute trip to the local store to grab some milk. Wear your gear.
  3. Ride safely. I’m not saying don’t have fun. But there is a right time and wrong time to speed. Flying through a school zone at lunch might not be the smartest of moves. So think about it and don’t do it when it might be dangerous. Just try to drive defensively on the road, there are enough dangers caused by other motorists. No need to add trying to get your knee down to the mix.
  4. Keep it on the track. This ties to the previous point, keep track style riding on the track. The public streets are filled with all kinds of things that will wreck your day, making them not suited for that style of riding.
  5. Be respectful of others on the road. This might seem obvious, but there is no need to rev bomb and piss motorists off at a red light. Why do this? The only thing achieved is giving people a negative view of all motorcyclists. Plenty of motorists already dislike us, so why give them more reasons to lash out at us? This puts us all in danger.

Final thoughts:

While this article was meant to be a bit more fun and somewhat light hearted, there are still a few serious and important things to be learned from it. Practice to improve your skills, ride safely on the street, wear your gear and have respect for others on the road. It might seem like this is just common sense, but unfortunately, common sense is something that many people lack. Anyways. I hope your next ride is a good one, oh and don’t be a squid.

Jordan Baker

Hi, I’m Jordan. I’ve been riding motorcycles for a few years now(9+ years). Along the way I’ve learned a bunch, made mistakes and picked up a thing or two. I’ve also spent countless hours practicing and working on improving my skills, something I try to do a few times a week. That’s why I made this website. So I can share my love for riding and everything I’ve learned over the years. Hopefully you’ll stick around and check out a few articles.

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