| Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:15 pm
Subject: Squid Definition
|Squid is a slang term used to describe an irresponsible motorcyclist. The term is common among motorcyclists in North America.
The term is generally used to describe a motorcyclist who rides aggressively, erratically or beyond their capabilities. Squids are perceived as overconfident and often ride without appropriate safety equipment, such as a helmet, gloves, leather jacket, riding pants, or boots.
The origin of the term squid is ambiguous. It is commonly said to be a contraction of squirrely and kid, or less commonly, squished and kid. A female rider who exhibits these characteristics is typically called a squirrel, for squirrely girl.
Squid is also described occasionally as an acronym, although these are likely backronyms.
o "Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, Ignorant and Dangerous"
o "Stupidly Quick, Underdressed and Imminently Dead"
o "Super Quick Until I Die"
o "Speeding Quickly Until I Die"
Another possibility is that the term originally referred to newly-inducted sailors based in San Diego in the 1960s, who sometimes used inexpensive two-stroke motorcycles for transportation. The term could have originally referred to these unprotected, inexperienced "marine life" moving through traffic rapidly and leaving a trail of black "ink" (the characteristic dark colored two-stroke exhaust) behind. Squid was also a more general derogatory term for sailors of this time.
Motorcyclists will often note similarities between how a squid rides and the manner in which a squid swims. Squids may appear unable to change direction while swimming without first coming to a near stop, but then accelerate very rapidly. Beginning motorcyclists may often experience difficulty negotiating turns at normal rates of speed, but have a tendency to ride very fast on straight sections of road.
Actions that may cause a motorcyclist to be identified as a squid are those that are seen as reckless or excessive, such as speeding or performing wheelies or stoppies, especially in the midst of other traffic. A rider may also be labeled a squid by their lack of appropriate attire, such as by riding while wearing shorts, ball caps, flip flops, and so-called wifebeater shirts, or no shirt at all. The wearing of tank tops by "squids" was satirized by Ian Johnston who wrote an article that was widely distributed on the Internet claiming that a Corona tank top was safer than wearing motorcycle racing leathers.
Because a squid eschews all or many of the social and legal norms of riding behavior, they are usually looked upon with derision by experienced motorcyclists, who may also refer to them as "organ donors", "zip-splats", "skin crayons", or "soon-to-be ex-motorcyclists".
It is important to note that a lack of safety equipment is not normative of squidly behavior. Many squids wear safety equipment, although this is often alleged to be for aesthetic purposes. The term is most often applied as an insult to a rider's behavior or skill.