Allow us to introduce to you, the “squid”. Not the cephalopod, octopus-looking sea creature, but rather the motorcycle-riding “squirrely kid”. Perhaps best defined by Urban Dictionary, the squid is a common sighting in most urban jungles, exhibiting behaviours that are often dangerous to both themselves and to those around them.
Our hope in publishing this article is for it to be shared in order to eradicate what is inevitably an invasive species that endangers people and gives motorcyclists at large a bad name.
There are 5 common faux-pas that contribute to squid-like behaviour:
- Public Displays of Stupidity:
Do you like to do wheelies, stoppies, burnouts or any other “freestyle” motorcycle manoeuvers? If so, we aren’t judging (as a matter of fact, we think wheelies are great fun!), but there’s a simple rule to be followed: if you endanger other people with your antics, you’re doing it wrong. That means 200km/h wheelies on the freeway around other cars is a non-starter, as is pretty much any other public display of stupidity. To maximize stupidity points, some people like to add a (often female) passenger. If you decide it’s a good idea to try anything unconventional on your bike, then do so away from the public and 1-up on the bike so you don’t endanger anyone but yourself.
2. Riding With “Landing Gear” Out
A tell-tale sign of poor form on the street, the squid often starts and stops with both legs out while still moving (conceivably, to prevent a tip-over?). Not to be confused with resting at a stop light, but safe and proper form requires only one leg to be down when stopped and for that leg to be raised once the bike starts moving. By being at the ready on your pegs, you are better prepared to react, should you need to. If you are already moving and don’t feel safe without your legs out, it may be a sign of poor balance in which case a little low-speed manoeuvering practice in a parking lot could go a long way.
3. Exaggerated (or Absent) Body Positioning
If you’re reading this, chances are you aren’t Valentino Rossi or Marc Marquez and if your body position on the street looks like theirs (see #1 above), you’re asking for trouble. The reasons for this are numerous and include the very real possibility of road debris, the dramatic reduction in margin for error and most often, the consequences of a crash on the street. On the opposite end, if you’re riding bolt upright on top of your seat, you’re in for a different kind of trouble as you’re asking more of your tires and suspension than you need to in a given corner.
4. Crossing the (Center) Line
Perhaps you’ve learned the art of cornering and hitting your apexes or maybe you just want to use “all the road” ahead of you. Thing is, it’s a public road and corners by very definition don’t usually allow you to see around them. If you want to maximize lean angle and find the quickest way around a bend, go to a race track. Doing it on the street is the motorcycle version of Russian roulette and will eventually end badly.
5. Riding Without Safety Gear
If you’ve been reading our blog at all, then you know we’re fans of ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time). Simply because accidents can happen at any time (isn’t that why they’re called “accidents”?). Still, if you’re not a disciple of ATGATT, then consider helmet, gloves and a jackets as bare necessities before heading out. Sure, you’d be safer with dedicated riding pants (or leathers) and full boots but at least you’ll stand a chance if that milk run turns into spilled milk. No crying.
Some useful, related resoures: