30 Rules All Hells Angels Must Follow
This is perhaps the most famous rule of the Hells Angels- they ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Nothing else. You can’t join the club if you ride any other motorcycle. When the Hells Angels were formed, Harleys were American-made, cheap and easy to maintain, all of which appealed to the club.
Follow the Stages
Those interested in becoming a Hells Angel have to start by hanging around the club (they’re literally called Hang Arounds). Eventually they become prospects, but that can take years. Even once they’re a prospect, it can be several more years before they become full members of the club.
Follow The Voting Process
The entire charter votes on new members, and there’s no rule about when a prospect is voted into membership. Basically, the club votes on making a prospect into a new member when they feel it’s time, and not a minute sooner.
Most clubs enforce a pretty strict dress code. Members are expected to wear jeans, often black jeans, and black shirts, along with their vests. Shorts are definitely not allowed (though, frankly, wearing shorts while riding a motorcycle just seems like a bad idea anyway.)
The Vest is Sacred
The famous Hells Angels vest is treated with reverence. Only full members of the Hells Angels can wear one, and they go to great lengths to protect them. If a Hells Angel is arrested, he’ll hand his vest to another member before the police take him away. If he realizes he’s about to crash, he’ll try to ensure the vest isn’t damaged in any way.
Code of Silence
Much of what is known about them comes from books written by people who managed to gain their acceptance. The club has strict rules about not speaking to outsiders. They can’t discuss anything about the club, but they especially can’t discuss other members of the Hells Angels.
Riding Order (senior members in front)
When the club hits the road, they always ride in a specific order. The most senior members of the club go first, while the prospects and hang arounds are in the very back. As they increase in rank and seniority they move up in the line.
Solidarity (no one left behind- pull one over and they all pull over)
Hells Angels take their responsibilities to their fellow Angels very seriously. They have a deep sense of solidarity. In fact, if the police pull one Angel over, the whole club will pull over with them.
No Contact with Other Clubs
Like most biker clubs, the Hells Angels are exclusive and don’t particularly like other clubs. If you want to join, you’d better not have any contact at all with other clubs. Even just having a friend who’s a member of a different motorcycle club is a problem, and if they find out, there’s no way they’ll let you join.
No Cops Allowed
This one’s not too surprising, but police officers aren’t allowed to join the Hells Angels. In fact, both the police and the Hells Angels have rules against that. The reasons for that may seem clear but the Angels actually try to present a pretty clean image, and this contradicts that a bit.
No Women Allowed
Sorry ladies, but the Hells Angels don’t allow women in the club. It’s men only, and they probably don’t really care if people find that offensive. If you’re wondering why they don’t allow women, well, who knows? It’s not on their website, and we don’t recommend asking them.
Once an Angel, Always an Angel
There’s no such thing as an ex-Angel. Once you’re in, you’re in for life. It’s a huge commitment, so prospective members need to be absolutely certain they want in. That’s one reason it takes so long to be voted in to full membership.
Starting a Charter
If you want to start a charter, don’t ask how to do it- their website says in no uncertain terms that if you have to ask, you won’t understand the answer. There is, however, some information on how to do it. First, though, you need a group of bikers who’ve been riding together for years- they don’t let just anybody start a charter.
Don’t Talk to the Media
While Hells Angels can’t speak to outsiders about the club, the rules are a bit more strict on what they can say to the media. In fact, they aren’t allowed to talk to the media at all, so if you ever see a biker being interviewed by a reporter, you can be sure that they aren’t a Hells Angel.
Apparently, the rules of grammar are part of the rules they rejected. It should be Hells Angels, not Hell’s Angels. Why the missing apostrophe? Why have they never corrected it? Well, as they would explain, YOU miss the apostrophe, but they don’t.
Hells Angels are expected to be at meetings, rides, and other club events. Prospects and Hang Arounds especially need to strive for perfect attendance if they want to convince the members of the club to vote them in. Full members have a bit more leeway, but they’d still better have a good reason for missing a meeting.
Logos for Members Only
Whether you just like the logo or you want to show your support for the club, do not wear the Hells Angels logo. That privilege is reserved for full members of the club. They won’t take it lightly if they see non-members wearing it, so it’s best not to.
Zero Tolerance for Drugs
You might assume, given their reputation, that drug use is rampant among gangs like the Hells Angels. Where the Angels are concerned, at least, you’d be wrong. They have a strict, zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug use. It makes sense when you think about it- they spend a lot of time every day on motorcycles. You definitely want to be sober for that.
Don’t Link to Their Website
You may have noticed that, although we’ve mentioned the Hells Angels website several times, we haven’t included a link to it. That’s because they require that you secure their permission first before you can share a link to their website, and there’s no guarantee that if you ask for permission it will be granted.
Don’t Talk to the Police
Once again, there’s a rule regarding who they can talk to, and what they can talk about. This is time, it’s the police. Hells Angels are forbidden from talking to the police about nearly anything. They’re really not supposed to talk to them about missing members, though.
Take the Hazing Like a Champ
Prospects will be hazed. It’s just a fact of life for Hells Angels prospects. Sometimes the hazing can get pretty intense, but no matter what happens, the prospects can’t retaliate. If they do, they’re automatically out- and won’t be allowed to attempt to join the club again.
Respect the Ladies
Once again, a rule that’s maybe a little surprising given their public image. Hells Angels are all required to treat women with the utmost respect. Consent is always required, and breaking this rule is definitely grounds for banishment.
Buell Bikes Are Ok
There is exactly one exception to the rule that they all have to ride Harleys- some clubs will allow Buell bikes as well. That’s because the company was founded by one of the designers from Harley-Davidson and, eventually, Harley-Davidson bought a controlling interest in Buell bikes.
The Golden Rule
You remember the Golden Rule from your childhood: “Treat others as you want to be treated.” Turns out the Hells Angels live by that rule too. If you run into one of them in public and treat them with respect they’ll be polite and respectful right back. If you’re rude to them, they’ll be rude to you.
Serve the Community
For an “outlaw biker gang” the Hells Angels are incredibly community-oriented. Each chapter regularly engages in major fundraising events to donate money to local charities, sometimes giving away tens of thousands of dollars each year.
Don’t Take a Job at a Prison
For what are probably obvious reasons, Hells Angels are forbidden from taking a job at a prison. Frankly, it would be pretty shocking if most prisons didn’t also have rules about not hiring Hells Angels. In general, Hells Angels and law enforcement don’t usually see eye to eye.
Don’t Ask How to Join
We’ve already described the basic process for joining the Hells Angels- show up and hang around them until they vote you in as a member. There’s one thing you can never do if you want to join them, though: don’t ask how to join. As they say, if you have to ask how to join the club, you probably won’t understand the answer anyway.
The Club Comes First
When you join the Hells Angels, you’re becoming part of something bigger than yourself. It really is like a big, extended family. And, like a big family, members are expected to put the club first at all times. Hence, the rules about not talking to the media or the police. What the club needs is more important than what you need, always.
Robert’s Rules of Order
Take a minute and picture what a Hells Angels chapter meeting is like. Did you imagine people shouting “point of order,” reading the minutes of the previous meeting, making motions from the floor, seconding those motions and voting on them? No? Well, you pictured it wrong. Hells Angels chapter meetings follow Robert’s Rules of Order, which ensuring that each meeting goes smoothly.
Prospects Do the Dirty Work
Just one of those Hells Angels rules you can’t get around. Prospects can’t expect to be voted in if all they do is hang out around the club. They also have to set up for each meeting, clean up after the meeting, and generally do whatever the full members tell them to do. That might mean fetching the coffee, or it might mean washing their bikes. Either way, they’re expected to do it without complaint.
Every so often you might spot Hells Angels working security at concerts. It started with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, who reportedly paid them in beer. They probably don’t accept beer as payment anymore, but they do still provide concert security when asked.
Honor the Fallen
Possibly the most important Hells Angels rules of all. Honor The Fallen. The funeral for a fallen Hells Angel can resemble a military funeral in ways. There’s lots of ceremony around it and the Angels take honoring their late brothers with the utmost seriousness. Hundreds, if not thousands, of bikers may show up. You can expect them to be on their best behavior, too.
Patriotism is Important
The founders of the Hells Angels were largely World War 2 veterans, and as a result patriotism is baked right into the club’s culture. In fact, during the Vietnam War, they rather famously offered their services to the President. He turned them down, of course, but their enthusiasm for their country has never wavered.
Hells Angels are one-percenters, and proud of it. Not one-percenters in the way you might think, though. The term supposedly originated when the American Motorcycle Association released a statement saying that 99% percent of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens, implying the remaining 1% are outlaws.
Ride Every Day
This is a motorcycle club, after all, so loving to ride is obviously a prerequisite. Angels ride every day, putting thousands and thousands of miles on their bikes together each year. Riding on your own isn’t enough, you’re going to be riding with the club every day unless you have a really good excuse to miss a ride.
They’re Territorial Even in the Hospital
Each Hells Angels chapter has a clearly defined territory, and they’re very protective of it. It’s not just rival clubs they keep out, it’s also other Hells Angels chapters. They’re so protective of their territory, in fact, that they won’t even allow rival club members to use the hospitals in their territory, and vice versa.
More Patches = Higher Rank
When you see Hells Angels out riding, you’ll notice that each rider’s vest is unique, with not only different patches but a different number of patches. That’s because, as each member increases in rank, he gets more patches. New members start out with nothing but the main logo patches on the back.
One Big Family
To outsiders, The Hells Angels are a biker gang, or a club. To members, it’s a family. The other members are their brothers, and they treat each other as such. The bonds between them are real, and they’re every bit as loyal to each other as they are to their blood relations- and sometimes more so.
You can’t wear their logo- seriously, we can’t emphasize that enough- but you CAN show your support for the club in other ways if you want. There’s plenty of gear available for purchase to outsiders. Check their website for support gear and buy anything you like. Don’t worry, if it’s for sale on that site it’s made for non-members to wear and use.
Follow the rules
Hells Angels generally reject the rules of society, but that doesn’t mean they live a lawless existence. They have their own rules which they live by, and they expect members to adhere to them rigidly. Breaking the rules results in banishment, which means you’d be kicked out of the club and prohibited from all contact with other Angels.
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