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. Actions that may cause a motorcyclist to be identified as a squid are those that are seen as reckless or excessive, such as gratuitous speeding, or performing wheelies or stoppies in the midst of other traffic.
A rider may also be labeled a squid by favoring clothing such as shorts, ball caps, flip flops, and so-called wifebeater shirts - or no shirt at all - over appropriate motorcycling attire, such as a helmet, gloves, leather jacket, riding pants, or boots.
It is important to note that a lack of safety equipment is not normative of squidly behavior. Many squids wear safety equipment, although this may be purely for aesthetic purposes. Similarly, squids are stereotyped to be young males who ride sport bikes, but the term may be used to insult any motorcyclist's behavior or skill as being immature or unsafe.
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 refer to them as "organ donors", "zip-splats", "skin crayons", or "soon-to-be ex-motorcyclists".
The origin of the term squid is ambiguous. It is often said to be a contraction of squirrely and kid, or less commonly, squished and kid. Squid is also described occasionally as an acronym, such as "Super Quick Until I Die", although this and other such acronyms are likely backronyms.
Another possible origin for the term is that it may have 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 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. However Squid was also a more general derogatory term for sailors of this time.
Motorcyclists may also 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. Squid motorcyclists may have difficulty negotiating turns at normal rates of speed due to a lack of riding skill, but tend to ride at high speeds on straight sections of road.
The usage of 'Squid' as a term for the irresponsible rider also draws a correlation to how the sea creatures' lives can swiftly end. Bad motorcycle accidents usually result in the engine being compromised leaving the motor's oil all over the road. This is analogous to ink ejected by a squid while trying to escape a predator. With this usage "Squidding out" is commonly employed. When accompanied by a pool of blood this idea becomes more graphically linked.