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With more than 100 chapters spreading over 29 countries, the Hells Angels have become the largest, best-known motorcycle club in the world. Though certain members have made headlines for breaking the law over the years, there's one code of conduct they'll always follow: their own. From how to join and stay to what to wear and drive, these rules are no joke.
Want to join the Hells Angels? Well, the road to full membership can take years. You will start as a “hang around” and will be invited to their events. If you get noticed, you become a “prospect” who runs errands for senior members. After this trial period, the rest of the group may vote you in. This rule naturally triggers the next one.
There is a big rule for every Hells Angel prospect - you can never retaliate against hazing. According to the club's bylaws, this practice is designed as a test of their character. If you retaliate, you are out. Once a prospect passes the test, he becomes a Hells Angel and will receive an official vest with a special meaning.
The vest, emblazoned with the famous logo and name on the back, is considered sacred to Hells Angels. If one biker gets arrested, he would give his vest to his fellow member to avoid tainting it in jail. Even in the case of emergency treatment, one should do whatever possible to prevent his vest from being torn off. This rule might sound a little crazy, but wait until you see the next…
The Hells Angels have a strict discretionary policy. None of them are allowed to discuss their codes and members with outsiders. Their website clearly states that "We do not answer questions about members, not even missing ones." This is to keep everyone in the group protected.
Once you successfully join the group, there's no backing out. Members don't retire, and the only way to leave is being booted out for breaking a rule. The group is just like your second family and when one member dies, they all come to pay homage to their fallen brother.
Next: the rule all Hells Angels have to follow when driving on the road.
A Hells Angels group can be pretty large, taking up the whole street. You may wonder how they keep in order while riding. It turns out that the charter president and road captain lead the way, followed by older members. Newbies and prospects stay in the back.
If one of the Hells Angels bikers gets pulled over by the cops, they all stop. This not only helps them maintain the riding order but also signifies how united the group is. So, if you mess with one Hells Angel, prepare to mess with them all.
Coming up, this is why you never see women in the team.
The group calls itself a brotherhood. Thus, no women are permitted to join. Well, that doesn't mean there aren't women close to the Hells Angels, and many of them do have wives and girlfriends. A dutiful Hell Angels partner will probably understand this rule and try to obey it.
Once you join a Hells Angels charter, you become one part of the big family, and you're expected to put the family first. You have to attend meetings, gatherings, events, and more. Your partner needs to understand that she comes second to the club.
Next, this is why no one wants to break the rules.
Any member who fails to meet the group's standards will be in serious trouble. Word has it that the remaining members will burn off the tattoos of those who break the rules, or even worse, kick them out of the club.
There are rules at all times in the club, and when it comes to meetings, they have to follow Robert's Rules of Order. Robert's Rules tell them how to hold a democratic meeting. Questions are raised before the assembly, and everyone must stick to the agenda. If someone breaks the rule, he may be fined $100.
Hells Angels typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a tradition that runs along the same lines as the vest. Some charters will allow non-Harleys as long as they are American made. One of the other acceptable brands is Buell Motorcycles, which was established in Wisconsin in 1983.
Next, you won't believe how much these guys ride each year.
The motorcycle club members ride around 20,000 kilometers every single year. Members need to be true motorcycle lovers. If you can't keep up with your fellows on the road, you might want to hand in your vest and call it quits.
The bond between Hells Angels is meant to last a lifetime. Correspondingly, it comes with commitment. Any member shouldn't consider joining another biker club. Moreover, they need to be careful about who they connect with. As their website says, "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."
Given their past conflicts with law enforcement, it's no surprise that Hells Angels are not allowed to work as police officers or for prisons.
Though women are not allowed into the club, Hells Angels require all members to show respect and restraint towards women. Taking advantage of women is unacceptable behavior within the club. Anyone who violates this policy will have to face the consequences.
While Hells Angels have a tough reputation, the group has a no-tolerance policy towards illicit substance use. Stay clean, or you'll get kicked out.
Next: look at the golden rule of this group.
Don't be afraid of talking to them. If you treat them well, they’ll treat you well, too. Journalists who have interviewed the group find them "welcoming and warm." Neighbors of these guys have reported the same, too.
Non-members of the motorcycle club can buy its merchandise to show their support, but only members are allowed to wear official merchandise. If you are caught wearing Hells Angels outfit, you can expect punishment. So be sure to show your appreciation in a way that won't offend these folks.
If one Hells Angels group has claimed a specific area as their territory, no other group can hang around there unless they're riding through. And sometimes, they will have to fight against other gangs for control over the territory.
There are hundreds of Hells Angels charters around the world, and each has its own dress code. Some require all members wear black, while some allow blue jeans and camouflage patterns. These rules help to distinguish between the different charters on the road.
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