From secret codes to rules most of the society would strongly frown upon, American biker gangs have a lot they don’t want us to know about.
Here’s something that will surprise no one: Biker gangs have secrets. What may be a shock is the type of secrets they keep. You would fully expect a leather lock-down of the location of the bodies of those two teenagers … or the name of their meth connect in Reno.
But bikers have other secrets, some of them unexpected. These previously unearthed behind-the-scenes rules keep those MCs in line while they slop around in hog heaven. It’s the only way to keep a bunch of lawless types in line and accountable to someone.
Bikers are thought of as having the ultimate amount of freedom – no job, no rules, nobody telling them what to do. But that is simply not true. They have jobs and rules like everybody else and if they aren’t followed, bad things can happen. But don’t tell anyone. Here are ten things the biker bad boys keep under wraps.
10 Ownership Society
The whole “Me Too” movement hasn’t exactly made its way to biker culture yet. Perhaps, give it another hundred years. MCs actually consider women property, a tangible that can be shared or even given away without any thought to what it might do to the female in the equation. It is not uncommon for biker women to be passed around from rider to rider until they are used up and left somewhere to pick up the pieces of their broken life.
9 Cracking The Code
The patches on a MC member’s vest tell a story. They let you know what club and chapter the wearer belongs to and whether or not they are still a pledge. But a more secretive system of numbered patches goes even deeper by letting others know that the wearer has committed certain acts. For instance, it is well-known that the number 13 signifies that the bearer likes taking drugs and (more than likely) also distributes them.
8 These Outlaws Play By The Rules
Motorcycle clubs are very strict when it comes to their organizational structure. Much like a corporation, MCs operate under exacting rules and regulations meant to keep a bunch of outlaw-types in line. And it works. They have board meetings and follow the rules of succession. Older members are seen as wise and in most cases will have the final word. The military-like hierarchy is likely due to the fact that a high percentage of club members are veterans.
7 War Ensemble
Motorcycle clubs were kick-started after WWII. Military men returning from the front lines found life in post-war America a little empty. They longed for that brotherhood and camaraderie that came with battle, as well as the military’s penchant for strict rules and hierarchy. MCs became safe havens for veterans who couldn’t easily integrate back into society after witnessing the horrors of war. And just like when you serve your country, club members are expected to follow orders.
6 Just Like Fight Club
What happens within an MC is nobody else’s business. A patch-wearer knows all too well that he is not allowed to share with others the daily happenings of the club, or disseminate information regarding the structure or rules of the organization. Very bad things happen to those who disobey golden rule number one: you don’t speak about the club with outsiders. This rule comes into greater importance when an MC is confronted with an investigation by law enforcement.
5 Separation Anxiety
Much like “Hotel California,” you can check out of an MC any time you like … you just can never leave. Once that patch is sewn onto your back, you are in it for life (and possibly death). That means the motorcycle club is the center of your leather-vested universe, forever. Sure, you can “retire” from the gang and hit the shuffleboard courts, but you are still considered part of the pack, oxygen tank and all.
4 The Color Barrier
For the most part, outlaw bike clubs are segregated due to a long history of whites-only membership rules that most MCs employed. If a club has mostly white members, it is likely the case that it has ONLY white members. Racism and exclusion is baked into the MC legend, thanks to decades of strict adherence to what were societal norms back in the ’50s and ’60s. Mixed-race and non-white clubs do exist and thrive on the paved landscape, however they are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to a certain breed of biker.
3 High Times And Misdemeanors
It would be easy to assume that outlaw biker types would be a bunch of drug-taking maniacs prowling the streets looking for trouble. How dare you. When it comes to drug use among MCs, to each his own, apparently. Some clubs forbid its members from using certain drugs. Others actually require drug ingestion as part of their unwritten rules. Either way, it is bad for business to be out in public looking sloppy wasted and drawing negative attention to the MC.
2 Law & Order: Special Biker’s Unit
You would think that a bunch of greasy outlaw bikers would steer clear of anything having to do with court or the law. Actually, motorcycle clubs have no problem hiring attorneys and heading to court to protect their house or intellectual property. Hells Angels successfully sued Disney for using their name in the film Wild Hogs. One of the most famous recent cases saw the Mongols win a long-fought legal battle over the rights to their name.
1 Order To The Chaos
Much like during a meeting of the board of directors of a corporation, motorcycle clubs also adhere to strict rules of order during discussions or meetings. Seniority plays a big part here, as does compartmentalizing tasks and information. Members are not free to speak their mind or even speak at all unless the organizational structure allows. Otherwise, things could get out of hand very quickly in a room full of violent alpha males with “Born To Lose” tattooed on their bulging biceps.
Sources: Thrillest, Riding Club Vs. MC, The Life of a Rider, Iron Skull Outlaw MC