30 Strict Rules Members of the Lawless Hells Angels Must Follow
Hells Angels aren’t fugitive staff of hell who got bored of inflicting punishment on departed souls. It is an international association of motorcyclists called the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC).
But Hells Angels aren’t just a group of motorcyclists who love to ride Harleys—they are a highly organized group that follows a strict code of conduct. But what are these rules?
No Experience Serving in Law Enforcement
The Hells Angels are pretty particular about their freedom to live their lives as individuals and as a group. Having a former or serving member of law enforcement in their ranks will deal a fatal blow to this aspiration.
For this reason, membership in the organization means closing the door against the possibility of joining any law enforcement agency.
Once an Angel, Always an Angel
Hells angels don’t resign or retire—they can only get expelled. Plus, you aren’t likely to see a member of the HAMC associating with any other biker group.
This commitment is because once a person joins the organization, it becomes your family for life. Hells Angels take their loyalty pretty seriously and won’t hesitate to relay their displeasure to any member who defects to a rival team.
Missing Members Must Remain Missing Even in Conversations
Hells Angels are forbidden from revealing the identity of any “missing” member of the association, even during discussions.
The club recognizes the need and the right of members to go off the grid once in a while or as many times as is necessary. This rule helps protect members from any brushes with the law.
Many Hells Angels Charters are Strictly Caucasian
Historically, Hells Angels are a strictly Caucasian group. So, if you haven’t been seeing much of black, Hispanic, and Asian Hells Angels, or any at all, it is because the group isn’t big on racial diversity.
Although each charter of the organization can bend the rules, many have decided to stick by it. Thus, don’t be surprised to see non-Caucasian members once in a while.
The Vests Aren’t Something to Play With
If you’ve seen enough Hells Angels, you should know their vests are a signature item. Every member must hold their mostly-jean or leather vests in high esteem.
Therefore, you are highly unlikely to see any member treat their vests poorly. In fact, a Hells Angel would rather go bare-chested when faced with an unsavory situation than soil their vests.
It’s Got to Be a Harley or Nothing
By the time the HAMC was formed in 1948, Harley-Davidson motorcycles were the gold standard. So, keeping with their tradition of rock-solid loyalty, the HAMC has decided to stick with this iconic motorcycle brand.
Another reason for this decision stems from the patriotism of the founding members of the HAMC. Most of the first members were war veterans who couldn’t bring themselves to patronize non-American brands.
No Talking to the Media
If you love speaking into a microphone and appearing on TV, you would probably not fit in as an Angel. That’s because one of the rules is “no talking to the press.”
Hells Angels thrive on secrecy and believe the press isn’t worthy of their trust. Plus, there’s no telling what an over-excited member could reveal in the heat of the moment.
Becoming an Angel Is Like Running for Office
You may be pretty amused to discover that attaining Hells Angel membership is as difficult as running for public office, maybe even more so. You would first be placed on probation (hanging around) for up to several years before you are designated a “prospect.”
During this period, you would be required to run errands and prove yourself worthy of membership. Finally, after being a prospect for up to several years, your membership will be decided by vote.
Angels Never Ride Alone
Hells Angels never ride alone; although this is not in the strict sense of the word. Angels love to ride in a convoy to show their sense of brotherhood.
Therefore, if one brother has any reason to stop, including because they were pulled over by the cops, every member stops with him. This act of comradeship could be pretty intimidating for police, especially when the brothers are riding in large numbers.
Hells Angels Love to Ride
If you aren’t a big fan of motorcycles or motorcycle riding, then Hells Angels aren’t for you. Every HAMC member is expected to ride together with their buddies for long distances.
Precisely, the brotherhood is expected to ride in a convoy for at least 12,000 miles every year. This rule ensures that members maintain rock-solid connections and unity among themselves.
Sorry, No Sisters Allowed
Hells Angels don’t allow women into their ranks. This decision is founded more on tradition than a dislike for the female gender.
So, until the rules change, don’t expect to see a woman Hells Angel. However, women can take part in the bike rides, provided they are well acquainted and compliant with the rules of the association.
Illicit Substance Use is Outlawed in the Brotherhood
It is a widely held view that Hells Angels are perpetrators of various forms of criminality. To wash off this negative label, the group has set a rule to clean house.
One such rule is a ban on illegal drugs. Substance use by members is strictly frowned upon. A violation of this rule could lead to ejection from the group.
Hells Angels Ride According to Their Rank
Hells Angels are an organized group, a quality apparent during their rides. No matter how many riders are in the procession, they are arranged in a certain order.
The chapter president is the first in every procession, followed by the road captain. The rest of the company will come after in order of seniority.
Angels Handle Rule Breakers With Iron Fists
Hells Angels take their rules seriously, and rule breakers will have a tough time in the group. There are several methods employed by the HAMC to keep erring members in line.
These methods include fines (most commonly used to punish members who miss meetings), tattoo removal, all the way to expulsion. Fines for missing meetings could get as high as $100.
Absence From Meetings Is a Grave Offense
Hell Angels expect a full house in every meeting of the brotherhood. The group greatly frowns on member absence during their get-togethers.
If you are a hang around or prospect, you’re expected to appear at every meeting as an absence even once may destroy your chances of attaining full membership. The absence of full members can be excused if they can provide convincing reasons.
Only Members Can Wear The Logo
If you aren’t a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation, you should probably not be wearing the association’s logo. Members are under strict instructions not to allow non-members to wear the group’s logos.
The Angels seriously frown at the use of their logos by non-members.
Members Are Expected to Treat Women With Respect
Hells Angels don’t want disrespectful men in their ranks, especially those who are horrible to women. All men are required to treat women with care and respect at all times. Additionally, sexual assault is strictly forbidden.
Members must be perfect gentlemen to their wives, girlfriends, or any other woman they may come across. This rule may be unexpected given their no-female membership policy but taken seriously and well-enforced.
Want to Join? Then Don’t Ask
Hells Angels don’t accept membership requests, whether they are verbal or written. According to a statement on their website, “If you have to ask, you probably will not understand the answer.”
The surest way to become an Angel is to lobby for an invite to their get-togethers. You can do this through a friend who is a member. During the event, members will observe you to see if you are a good fit.
Don’t Tell on a Brother
Angels understand that not everyone will be on their best behavior all the time. Therefore, to protect unity and brotherliness in the association, all misbehaviors must be handled in-house.
This means that no member is allowed to tell on another to the authorities or anyone at all. Every member counts on their brother to preserve their worst secrets.
Angels Serve the Community
In contrast to misconceptions that Hells Angels constitute a menace to society, the association ensures that they contribute to their communities. Every member is expected to provide service to the community in any way they can.
So, you shouldn’t be surprised to see Hells Angels organize and participate in community clean-up initiatives. Hells Angels also engage in charity work.
Hells Angels Love to Be In Charge of Their Territory
Just in case you weren’t aware, every Hells angel charter is entitled to control a specific territory. So, in the spirit of mutual respect, no member of a foreign territory is allowed to intervene in another one.
Failure to maintain territories can lead to some unsavory consequences for erring members. However, angels can ride in most territories if they secure the permission of the presiding charter.
Members Believe in the Golden Rule
For Hells Angels, trouble should only come to those who deserve or ask for it. So, if you don’t want to run into any issues with a member, treat them with respect, and they will do the same to you.
Angels believe that the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is full of wisdom. So, the brothers are peace-loving and kind until they meet someone who doesn’t deserve to be greeted by either quality.
Every Angel Must Wear the Uniform
Hells Angels have a specific dress code for members and members are expected to strictly adhere to this code at every official engagement. This dress code includes an official vest with the “Hells Angels” inscription and logo.
Each vest tells which charter a brother belongs to. Just so that there is no confusion. Failure to appear in the dress code or correctly dressed attracts severe penalties.
Members Expect to Be Hazed
Every junior member of the HAMC should expect some hazing from the seniors. They must run errands and fulfill obligations no matter how annoying. Hang arounds and prospects are the major recipients of these treatments.
Hazing helps prepare the mind of every intending member for service and loyalty to the brotherhood. Prospective members who resist hazing in any way will spoil their chances at membership.
The Brotherhood Comes First
Once anyone becomes a Hells Angel, they are required to place the club above any other engagement. Their family members should also adopt the same attitude.
This means that no Angel must place any other hobby or entanglement above riding with the brothers or attending hangouts. Every member must fulfill the interest of the association before any other interests—the brotherhood must come first.
Meetings are Organized—Violators Will be Sanctioned
If you were expecting Hells Angel meetings to be rowdy and disorganized, prepare for a shock. The opposite is the case—the Angels do not joke with orderliness.
Members must not interrupt any meeting in any way. Members must act with decorum and raise their hands to be recognized to speak. Erring members can be fined up to $100.
You Can't Link to a Hells Angels Website
If you are wondering why this article has only mentioned the Hells Angels website without linking to it, here’s your answer: Linking to the official Hells Angels website is not allowed.
Angel chapters are free to have their own websites. However, just like the central website, these too may not be linked to in any instance.
Angels Don't Care About the Apostrophe
You may have noticed that the apostrophe is missing from the name Hells Angels. Most people who know about the group have spotted an omission of an apostrophe before the first “s.”
However, the club doesn’t see any errors. It loves the name just the way it’s spelled. It is hard to tell if this “error” was intentional or just a mistake that stuck.
You Must Protect Your Brothers From Other Gangs
Not only does the club preach against mixing with other gangs, but members are also instructed to contend with other gangs. Brothers must have each other’s backs, especially when they need defense from rival motorcycle clubs.
Any threat to one is a threat to all. Therefore, every member must play their role in dealing with rival gangs who try to square off with a brother.
Members Must Honor Fallen Angels
When any Angel is laid to rest, expect to see overwhelming solidarity from the brothers. They take these ceremonies pretty seriously. Not only must every member be present during such functions, but their behavior must also communicate the solemnity of the event.
Hells Angels turn out en masse to witness the laying to rest of a brother. Such events have seen up to 3,000 brothers in attendance. Every fallen Angel is precious to the team.