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How Are Women in Motorcycle Clubs Treated?

How Are Women in Motorcycle Clubs Treated?

Motorcycles are a great source of joy and freedom for both men and women. But due to the bad image of riders and motorcycles, it is considered unsafe and improper for women. The act of riding is the same for both men and women. You need to learn how to use the clutch, throttle, and brakes. The riding rules are the same for both genders.

Also, the process of acquiring the motorcycle license is also the same. Then why is society not accepting of women in the world of motorcycling? Especially if they are a part of a motorcycle club.

To answer this question, we need to understand the motorcycle culture in the United States and how it all began. In the U.S., motorcycle culture started after World War II. The veterans or soldiers used motorcycles during the war, and later tried to recreate the same feeling of adventure, freedom, and brotherhood.

As a result, different motorcycle clubs were formed. The main goal was to enjoy the thrill of riding. However, the change from military life to regular civilian life was difficult for veterans to adjust to. They started to get involved in mischief and unruly or rebellious behavior. The clubs also gave these bikers free-hand to manage their anger by disobeying the law.

Though the bikers didn’t start any illegal activities at first, they started wearing leather jackets and adopted a care-free lifestyle. The loud engines of their motorcycles were a symbol of their protests.

Unfortunately, the media promoted motorcycling as an activity of law-breakers. Different movies, ads, and magazines began showing riders as the trouble-makers. The society too accepted this image of the bikers, pushing them into illegal activities.

Therefore, bikers were seen as loud, angry, and dangerous people. Similarly, any woman who dared to ride a bike at that time was also seen as rowdy. Due to this bad reputation, women were always stopped from riding or joining motorcycle clubs.

Luckily, Harley Davidson and other motorcycle brands helped to make motorcycling more accepting. Slowly more women started riding the bikes. But joining a motorcycle club is still seen as a wrong decision for a woman.

To fight this, many she-bikers made their own female-only motorcycle clubs. But what about motorcycle clubs where males are in control. How are women treated in these clubs? Are they respected? Do they have to take part in illegal activities? What challenges do they face on a daily basis? And is it something you should become a part of? This article aims to provide all the information about women’s experiences and roles in motorcycle clubs. 

1. What is a Motorcycle Club?

What is a Motorcycle Club?
Photo Credit: Complex

A motorcycle club is a group of riders who share their love for motorcycles. These groups are run by proper administration. There are nine main positions in most of the motorcycle clubs. These include: 


The President is the head of a motorcycle club and oversees all the activities happening in and out of the club. The President is the final decision maker in all matters. All the members have to follow the orders of the President.

Vice President

The Vice President is the second highest authority in a motorcycle club. When the President is absent, the Vice President makes all the decisions. He acts as a bridge between the President and the club members. He is also incharge of all the plans and missions of the club. Furthermore, the Vice President manages different committees within the club to ensure smooth operation. 


The Secretary of a motorcycle club maintains all records and reports. He communicates with other clubs or organizations. He is also responsible to call member meetings to discuss different issues or to inform members about rules. When an event or a mission is organized, the Secretary is responsible for informing members.

Road Captain

The road captains plan and organize different rides and activities. They get all their road runs approved by the Secretary. Road captains are also responsible for managing logistics. 


The treasurer collects the money made from different road missions of the club. The treasurer also maintains records of the club’s finances. He is responsible for paying any bills and expenses of the motorcycle club and providing written records as proof. 

Sergeant at Arms

In a motorcycle club, fights among members are quite common. Therefore, one member is made Sergeant at Arms who is responsible to ensure peace. The main duty of the Sergeant at Arms is to think about the club’s safety and make decisions accordingly. In this mission, Enforcers also help the Sergeant.

If a Sergeant at Arms sees a club member disobeying the rules of the management, he reports it immediately. Therefore, it is also his duty to ensure that management’s orders are being followed.


As mentioned, Enforcers also ensure that the club's rules and policies are followed by all the members. Enforcers also protect patch members in a fight or attack. Enforcers also have to uphold the reputation of the motorcycle club.

Patch Member

Members or riders in a motorcycle club are called ‘patch members,’ which means they have earned the special biker patch of the club. By a rule, only accepted members are allowed to wear an MC biker patch or colors.

Patch members join the club as prospects. They then prove their abilities and get promoted to the member rank. As a result, they also get a patch that is worn on the biker jacket or vest. Members can attend club meetings, take part in road rides and missions, and also wear the colors of the club.


A prospect is the lowest rank in the order of a motorcycle club. A prospect is anyone who wants to join the club but does not have the patch yet. Patch members are incharge of the prospects. To get accepted in the club, prospects must carry out all the duties assigned to them by the members.

It is worth knowing that all prospects are males. There are no female prospects in male-controled motorcycle clubs or MCs. Therefore, they also cannot get higher positions in these motorcycle clubs.

However, women motorcycle clubs have female members. But in these clubs traditional ranks do not exist unless it is also an outlaw club. 

2. Types of Motorcycle Clubs

Types of Motorcycle Clubs
Photo Credit: Furies MC

Motorcycle clubs arrange group rides, charity events, take part in motorcycle rallies, and also hold meetings.

However, some motorcycle clubs are involved in crimes. Based on the activities of motorcycle clubs, they can be grouped into different types. Each type of group has a different policy about women riders or members. 

2.1 Motorcycle Brand Specific Clubs

Motorcycle Brand Specific Clubs
Photo Credit: Harley Davidson (H.O.G)

Some riders build a club based on their most liked motorcycle. For example, Harley Davidson motorcycle riders are members of H.O.G or Harley Owners Group. Any woman who owns a Harley and enjoys riding can become a H.O.G member. Plus, she can take part in different motorcycle events organized by Harley.

Members enjoy discounts during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Anniversary celebrations, parades, and concerts. H.O.G also offers biker patches to its members. For this, you are not required to perform any illegal “duties.”

Another great motorcycle club that women can join is the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America. Much like H.O.G., this group has a supportive community. Women riders can join and share their passion for riding with other male and female riders.

Some outlaw motorcycle clubs also have a one-brand-only motorcycle rule. For example, Hells Angels Motorcycle Club demands that all riders own a Harley Davidson motorcycle. In these groups, women cannot become members. 

2.2 Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs

Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs
Photo Credit: Atelier Magazine

Outlaw motorcycle clubs are involved in some illegal things, such as getting money from people by force, illegally selling drugs, and damaging public or private property.

Outlaw motorcycle clubs also call themselves 1 percenters. This is because only one percent of motorcycle clubs in the United States don’t follow the rules of American Motorcycle Association (AMA)

You might be surprised to know, but there are also some female-only outlaw motorcycle clubs. These clubs have traditional ranks and colors or three-piece biker patches. 

2.3 Legal Motorcycle Clubs or Riding Groups

Legal Motorcycle Clubs or Riding Groups
Photo Credit: New York Post

All the motorcycle clubs that follow the rules of American Motorcycle Association (AMA) are called law-abiding motorcycle clubs or MCs.

These motorcycle clubs are created to support riders who want to share their passion for riding. These clubs also work for the betterment of society. They take part in charities and other noble causes. You will often find a law-abiding motorcycle club helping someone on the streets.

In these social clubs, women are treated as equals, unless it is a male-only riding club. To become a member, you only need to attend their event or meeting, pay the fee, and join.

2.4 Social Riding Clubs or Groups

Social Riding Clubs or Groups
Photo Credit: SAINT

Some social riding clubs are not organized motorcycle clubs. These clubs are a group of riders who share their love for custom motorcycles, stunning aftermarket parts , unique paint jobs, or adventure touring .

Social motorcycle clubs or riding clubs are small and usually include riders from a small area. They enjoy riding and exploring together.

People from different walks of life can come together to form well-linked social motorcycle clubs. These may include motorcycle mechanics or other professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, retired racers, etc.

Although there are a few traditional and large women motorcycle clubs. The majority of female biker clubs fall under this category. 

3. Are All Motorcycle Clubs Outlaws and Dangerous for Women?

Are All Motorcycle Clubs Outlaws and Dangerous for Women?
Photo Credit: Orange County Register

It depends. There are only 1% outlaw motorcycle clubs, and all are not dangerous for women. First off, in an outlaw motorcycle club, women cannot become members, unless it is a purely female outlaw motorcycle club, which is rare. Secondly, the women linked to these clubs themselves say that it is a myth that all outlaw MCs harm women or treat them badly. There are two types of motorcycle clubs when it comes to their treatment of women:

  1. Those who respect the member’s wives or ol’ ladies as an equal. Though they are not the members, they are well-treated.
  2. Those who treat women as objects, material things, or property.

Category 1

On different social media platforms and online forums such as Facebook groups, Reddit, and Quora, many writers have introduced themselves as wives, fiancees, or girlfriends of the members of outlaw motorcycle clubs. They reveal that they are always treated with respect from other members.

The woman of a motorcycle club member is called ol’ lady or an associate. She is not allowed to attend meetings, cast a vote, or wear patches (in some clubs), but she is never made to feel disrespected or unsafe

Category 2

Some motorcycle clubs disrespect women a lot. They tolerate their presence because they help their men make money or because they are beautiful. These women are not seen as partners or equals to their men and are not respected as wives.

In the paper “Biker Women,” Quinn, James, and Forsyth, Craig J. discussed how women are actually treated in different motorcycle clubs. This paper was presented in 2009 at the Annual Meetings of the Mid-South Sociological Association Lafayette, L.A.

In this paper, the author wrote that women are never allowed to wear full-colors, or patches of the club. He wrote the ol’ lady of a patched member wears a top rocker that defines her as property. 

“A patched ol’ lady in the Angels or the Outlaws wears a property patch, which consists of a top-rocker that describes her as the ‘property of’ and a bottom rocker that lists the club name.”

He further wrote: 

“Bandidos use the same sort of “property patches” for their ‘main ol’ lady.” Pagans do not provide any patches for women.”

This study further discussed that just like the patch, its wearer is also considered the property of the club. This means the woman of one club is off-limits to other motorcycle club members or bikers.

In these outlaw motorcycle clubs, women are expected to obey their man and other members. But they should also be tough to fight for the club and support their man. For this reason, these women may carry weapons. Some men may use their ol’ ladies for selling drugs because police usually does not search them.

Women are also expected to be loyal to their men even if they hurt them.

The treatment women get in motorcycle clubs varies. Some motorcycle club members are quite respectful and protective of the women linked to patched members. Others just use them for their gains and expect loyalty, but don’t treat them well. 

4. What is the Role of a Woman in an Outlaw Club?

A woman can only visit an outlaw club if her husband or fiancee is a patched member. No other member can approach her or harass her as per the rules. But she has no official duties or role to perform.

The ol’ lady also cannot interfere in the duties or tasks assigned to her partner. Her only unofficial role is to support her man and not share anything about the club with the outsiders.

When a woman attends a motorcycle event where members of other clubs are also present, they are told to keep a safe distance and stay near their own club’s members.

Most of the fights between motorcycle clubs start with someone disrespecting a woman related to the member of another motorcycle club. Therefore, women are expected to help stop these problems and not create them.

5. Role of Women in Female Motorcycle Clubs

Role of Women in Female Motorcycle Clubs
Photo Credit: Insane Throttle

As the name suggests, women have complete power in a female motorcycle club. They take part in rides, arrange events, and also support charities.

The main responsibility of a member of a woman-only motorcycle club is to work for women's empowerment. They need to uphold a positive image so more women can ride bikes and feel safe.

Members are expected to create a female-friendly environment in the club. Any she-biker who wants to enjoy the motorcycle culture without getting in trouble can join this sisterhood. 

6. Last Words

In the modern world, anyone can ride a motorcycle regardless of their gender. But when it comes to motorcycle clubs, traditions are still in place. Women don’t get positions of power in motorcycle clubs, especially in outlaw MCs.

The best option for a woman biker wanting to join a motorcycle club is to become a member of motorcycle brands’ clubs, such as H.O.G., or choose a female-only motorcycle club.

Women who get linked to a motorcycle club due to their love interest may be treated well. But it all depends on the club’s rules and the person they are involved with.

Some motorcycle club members are very caring and polite. Others just treat women as objects or property. They might use women, abuse them, or put them in danger.

If possible, stay away from illegal motorcycle clubs. Choose social riding groups that are true motorcycle enthusiasts and empower women. These people can enrich your motorcycling experience and also help you become a better rider. 

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