While 99% of motorcycle clubs are compliant with the laws, there is 1% that isn't. One of the biggest clubs within this statistic is the Hells Angels. Here are the rules their loyal members must follow.
The Application Process
The Hells Angels is an exclusive club. So much so, that potential members must be voted in before officially being accepted. Since the process takes a while, they need to complete various tasks while they wait.
The voters can take a few years before making a decision. The procedure is intricate because once someone is in, they can't leave. All members must be 100% committed to the club. They also need to meet the obligations, such as having a compatible personality, driving the right motorcycle, and being available at all times.
No Questions Allowed
Even if a person is a great motorcyclist, they shouldn't expect to be accepted by asking to join the club. The Hells Angels website asserted, "If you have to ask, you probably will not understand the answer." Basically, they will reach out to their future members rather than having people call them.
Probable members need to comprehend that the club and its members become a priority once they're in. It's not so simple to be an exclusive member - so if someone must ask to join or ask if they were voted in, they simply don't understand how it works.
Not a Sisterhood
No women are allowed in the club! There's a reason why it's a brotherhood and not a sisterhood. While girlfriends and wives, who are referred to as the "old ladies," do play a crucial part for the Hells Angels, they cant officially become members. But, they do get to travel with their significant others.
The women are permitted to sit in on meetings, but they can't have a say or a vote when it comes to decision-making. This is important to understand for potential members partners. The club becomes a big part of a person's life, and both parties should be ready to commit to that.
No Law Enforcement
Because the motorcycle club falls under the category of those who are not law-abiding citizens, they don't accept any person who obeys the law. That means no prison guards, no security guards, no policemen. In other words, anyone who can cause implications or complicate the club will not be allowed in.
Even though they have broken laws, the crew isn't always seen as a criminal organization. British Columbia, for example, doesn't perceive the group as being criminal. But the US does, especially when the club has sued many law enforcement agents due to harassment. This may be why they keep them out.
Member For Life
The second a person accepts their membership, they can't ever give it up. This explains why it can take up to a few years for both sides to come to a verdict. The system of allowing people in can seem discouraging because it separates those individuals who are serious about joining from those who aren't.
The dedication to Hells Angel is no joke - the motorcyclists take it very seriously. Once a person is voted in, they are given a patch that says, "AFFA" which stands for "Angels Forever: Forever Angels." And they really mean what the patch says. They are in the club for good.
Must Own This Bike
As a motorcycle club, it's clear that the bike itself plays a crucial role. And while it may seem obvious, the members did include it as a rule. All the group members must own a Harley Davidson bike. It's a necessary thing they need to even be evaluated to join.
Ever since Hells Angels was created in 1948, they have been driving Harley Davidsons. We know how loyalty is important to them, so it comes as no surprise that they have stayed committed to the brand since then. It has become an integral part of their legacy.
Protect the Vest
While their bike may be their top priority, their vest comes as a close second. Each person in the group is given a vest with the iconic logo and name of the club. Each jacket is also personalized with a patch that includes the member's name and their charter.
The Hells Angels are so dedicated to keeping their merch intact that even if they get injured, they will make sure their vests aren't ruined before getting medical care themselves. And if they are arrested by the police, they will immediately give the vest to another member to make sure it won't get destroyed behind bars.
No Outside Friends
Any member with friends outside of the group must ensure that those outsiders are supportive of the club and their beliefs. The website states, “never combine your support to Hells Angels with other clubs, street gangs, or others if you are unaware of the relationship between those others and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.”
The infamous group has been known for making sure they are the only motorcycle club in their area. It's easy for them to kick others out because they are of one of the largest clubs. Any person who is voted in should be willing to say goodbye to their friendships that don't meet the club's requirements for friends.
Zero Impersonations Allowed
It's no secret that the Hells Angel cherish their vests, but that's not the only article of clothing they are passionate about. Any clothing that aims to impersonate the Hells Angels club is strictly forbidden. They have a very serious no impersonation rule.
An outsider should never be seen wearing a shirt or any other clothing that looks like Hells Angels merchandise. The group themselves must give out or sell the item for anyone else to be allowed to wear it. Others cannot try to pretend like they are members.
The Golden Rule
Although arguably many of us were taught this life lesson when we were younger, the Hells Angels club takes it very seriously in their adult life: They believe that everyone should treat others the way they want to be treated. It's really quite a simple rule they must follow.
Respect is earned - they don't just hand it out to any person. If the members treat others with respect, they will get it back. The lower-ranked members must treat the higher-ups in the club with the uttermost respect. We don't even wanna know what the outcome of disobeying this may be…
Riding In Order
It seems like the group has a rule for nearly everything, even the way they drive on the road. For many years, the higher ranking members rode at the front of the clan. The charter president was on top, and it went down the seniority list, reaching the newest members at the back of the line.
They even have regulations when it comes to other motorcyclists on the road who are not a part of the club. No one should try and enter the middle of the group, they shouldn't even think about trying to separate the members from riding with each other. Any person who does this should be ready to receive consequences.
Always A Team
These men do everything as a team as they consider each other family. They are one united front. So when they need to stop on the side of the road, they all pull over. Whether it be for mechanical problems or if a police officer pulls them to the side of the road, each member must stop.
There are a few reasons why this rule was instated. The first is that it represents a sense of unity and shows that the club is one consensus. Secondly, stopping together is also for securing their safety. It reduces the chance of a rival hurting an isolated member.
It's clear that commitment is important for the Hells Angels. So they expect their counterparts to be there for everything. Whether that be a meeting or a regular hangout, they have to show up. If they don't, it's a sign of carelessness they have for the group.
Showing that they don't care or even respect the others poses a risk for being thrown out of the exclusive crew. It's also a disadvantage for the members who don't attend because they lose their right to vote on important club matters. This rule shouldn't be taken lightly.
Riding The Miles
Based on reports from the Hells Angels website, the group of men reaches nearly 12,000 miles every year riding their motorcycles. Of course, as a top motorcycle club, it's expected that they often go on long rides together. Every member is meant to be ready at all times to hop on and go.
This means their bike should be consistently checked upon and kept in good condition. And it's not just the men who get to go on these adventures. Any member who has a partner should also be aware that their "old ladies" will also be joining them for the trips on the back seat of the motorcycle.
Just as the club is extremely private, so is their online presence. Not just any person can have access to the club's official website - they must receive permission from the members. This may be because it contains information regarding where the group will meet as well as other secretive details.
It's possible that in time it may be more accessible to the public. But for now, watch out for other fake websites that claim they are the Hells Angels club, as it is probably not true. There is only one real site that only the real members can get to.
No Media Allowed
It is prohibited for any member to ever talk to any media outlets or share private information. What they do on a day-to-day basis should only be known to those attending the activities. The things the members do are top-secret and shouldn't leave the inner circle.
A major reason this rule was implemented was that the media has the tendency to switch things around and make things appear differently. It is too easy for some things to be skewed, and they may be misrepresented to outsiders. This is why the Hells Angels club tries to avoid this as much as possible.
Not only is it known between the members that there is a certain level of confidentiality they are expected to uphold, but it is also a written rule. It is written on their website, "We do not answer questions about members." And that means any members, whether they are missing or not...
The innermost members of the group are the only ones given access to the exclusive information. That means that there are many members (those low in rank) who are also kept out of the loop. So, it's obvious that outsiders are specially kept out of knowing anything.
There are hundreds of Hells Angels charters all over the world - each one with a different dress code given to its members. Some allow the men to wear shorts, while others strictly disapprove of the article of clothing. Typically they wear black, jeans, and some even wear camouflage.
The group looks like they belong with one another when they are seen cruising down the streets. The dress code is important to make sure they don't stand out from the rest of the clan. This rule helps them maintain their spot as one of the best motorcycle clubs around.
Although the members portray themselves as being rugged, strong men, deep inside they have a soft spot. The Hells Angels always make sure they are giving back to others whenever they can. They do a lot of charity work, yet they still have a reputation as "bad" boys.
They often participate in events that help raise money for local schools and for children with special education. These men are very involved with their communities - sometimes they even step in as guardians for kids who are in difficult home situations.
Must Protect Each Other
The club will go to great lengths to protect its brothers. And, of course, also the integrity and reputation of the Hells Angels. They have never shied away from standing up for themselves against many large companies. At one point, they even went head to head with Disney.
The movie Wild Hogs had the Hells Angels logo on it, along with their trademarked name. This didn't sit right with the club. But instead of getting angry, they took them to court and sued the entertainment company. This wasn't the only time the motorcycle crew had issues with Disney.
"Hells Angels" Name Origin
It's not hard to spot that the crew's iconic name Hells Angels, is missing the apostrophe that should be there according to grammar rules. And it's not that the club doesn't know that it's missing, it's that they don't care! They won't change it because it has been the same way since it was created in the 1940s.
It doesn't seem like the missing apostrophe ever bothers the club members. It is clear they value tradition and loyalty, and they don't let the opinion or even rules of others impact their decisions. So, it looks like they will be keeping their name the way it's been for many decades.
Can't Join Other Groups
Joining the club means dedicating a lot of time to being with them, joining activities, and going on long drives. While it may seem obvious that the members would probably not have enough time to join other clubs, it still needed to be a written rule they made.
In fact, being affiliated with a different motorcycle group is seen as a stab in the back to the Hells Angels - it's basically forbidden. After all, being voted in is a high honor, so why would the members spend so long trying to get into only join another club?
As potential members wait to be voted in, they are required to run many errands for the members of the club. It is essentially their way of hazing their prospects. But, it's not the type of hazing where violence is involved. Instead, they are given boring jobs that they are expected to happily complete.
...That means always having a smile when going to grab a coffee or picking up the dry cleaning. The possible future members need to do all the mundane tasks without ever complaining. This "hazing" can take many years before the inner group comes to a decision, so it can be pretty exhausting.
No Hobbies Allowed
By now, it's pretty obvious that Hells Angels expects their members to make the club their number one priority in their life. That means no joining other groups, not having unsupportive friends, and no having other hobbies. Driving motorcycles should be the only recreational activity they participate in.
The men of the club spend the majority of their time with one another. Driving, planning activities, etc. - it can be hard to find the time to include other hobbies into their lives. The only thing they are allowed to do is (obviously) take care of their Harley Davidson and make sure it's in pristine condition at all times.
No Speaking Unless Prompted
When the Hells Angels have a meeting, they take it very seriously. Those in charge shouldn't have to go off schedule, which means any questions the members may have should be asked before it officially starts. It's imperative that they don't interrupt the session.
Anyone who speaks when not spoken to will be fined $100. Wow, they really mean business when it comes to these meetings. They have this strict rule to avoid getting off track and spending too long discussing irrelevant topics. Okay, so perhaps it's a reasonable request...
There are many things that the Hells Angels prohibits from their club members. But one thing they are very serious about staying away from is illegal substances. Anyone found to be involved with any substances should expect to receive harsh ramifications.
Because the club often has interactions with police officers, we understand why they have this rule in place. Yet, there have been situations where they were associated with substance abuse. In 2002, the FBI and DEA discovered that the Rochester charter was linked to a narcotics ring. The VP of the club was given 25 years behind bars.
The Only Way Out
It's no secret that the club sees loyalty as a necessary thing for all of its members to have. Not just that, but they must also be committed to the gang. Once they're in, they become a part of the family, the brotherhood. It's one of the reasons why the process to join is so tedious.
Club members are not allowed to retire or ever leave their spot in the Hells Angels. It's a lifetime commitment, sometimes even more so than marriage. The only way to be removed from the club is if they let someone go for doing something wrong. It's a shameful discharge, so many try to avoid having this happen to them.
Follow The Rules (Or Else)
Just as in nearly any other club, this motorcycle crew has very specific strict rules they expect their members to obey. So much so, that following the rules is one of their rules. It's very strict because they don't let it go when someone disobeys the regulations.
The consequences vary depending on the charter and the president of that specific group. They can either just be kicked out with a "dishonorable discharge," or the leaders might remove the member's tattoos that are related to the club. So, we'd recommend following the rules or not joining at all!
Marking Their Territory
Whenever a new charter is formed, they must mark their territory. This is usually done to show other clubs that they can't mess with their area. And if other motorcyclist groups try to, then they will face problems with the Hells Angels. And unfortunately, their battles with other groups tend to turn violent.
For a while now, this arguably well-known club has been in battle with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. Recently they opened a new club in Halifax. Which, of course, led the Hells Angels to view this as a rivalrous and inconsiderate act. This is why their location is sacred - they don't want others to take over.
Battling Other Clubs
The Hells Angels may be in the 1% of motorcycle clubs, but they aren't the only ones. The top clubs all have an unspoken rule with one another that if a location is marked by a club, then no other group can attempt to take it over. Yet unfortunately, there are some gangs who disobey this rule.
When that happens, the Hells Angels don't hold back. They are willing to do anything necessary to protect their territory and their members. And it's quite easy to do so considering how large the group is. But with such a massive community, it's no doubt they have many rivals - like the Mongols, the Bandidos, and the Outlaws.