Mandatory Rules The Bandidos Motorcycle Club Has To Follow

After the Hells Angels, the Bandidos Motorcycle Club is the second-largest biker organization in the world. The club originated in San Leon, Texas in 1966 and now has over 2,500 members, 303 chapters, and is present in 22 countries. While they may seem tough on the outside, there are numerous rules the Bandidos have to follow to keep their membership. Here are some of the most unusual rules that Bandidos can’t break.

All Potential Members Must Go Through A Screening Process

A member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang sits on his motorcycle
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

All prospective Bandidos club members must have a sponsor who has known them for at least five years. Then, the prospective members need to go through a background check.

Bandidos members go with the prospects to their hometowns to interview their families. This is done to make sure their identity checks out and they aren’t involved with the police.

Getting Through The “Hangaround” Period

a woman riding on the back of a bandido
Sturgis Zone/Pinterest
Sturgis Zone/Pinterest

Becoming a full-fledged member of the Bandidos is no easy task and usually takes at least two years. Every aspiring Bandido must complete three tiers before becoming a member.

The first is the hangaround period where a man will just hang out with the chapter they want to join. Then, they will be in the prospect and probation periods. The chapter president will determine how long each man will stay in each tier.

Don’t Scare The Public

bandidos hugging a woman at a funeral
Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images

While the Bandidos may seem very intimidating, they don’t necessarily want to come off that way. They actually want the public to approve and respect them.

Bandidos are told to always be on their best behavior among civilians. However, this can quickly change if someone provokes them in a negative way.

Bandidos Stay For Life

Members of the Loredo, TX chapter of the Bandidos motorcycle club
David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

Those who set out to join the Bandidos are expected to stay in the club for the rest of their lives. If someone wants to leave, they need to get direct permission from their chapter president.

There are still many ex-Bandidos who have been harassed or shunned by their former club members. Also, those who leave with club tattoos need to get them removed.

The Price To Pay For Joining The Bandidos

bandidos at fashion week in Berlin
Volkreich/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Volkreich/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Not only do Bandidos have to go through initiation rituals, training, and more to become a member, but being in the club isn’t free.

In order to secure their spot as a Bandido, riders have to pay $550. About half of the fee goes towards a patch and the other half goes into a club trust. The trust is used for legal representation, funerals, and more.

Never Skip A Meeting

Members and supporters of the motorcycle gang, Bandidos
Ernst Van Norde/AFP via Getty Images
Ernst Van Norde/AFP via Getty Images

Like many clubs, the Bandidos hold regular meetings to go over important updates and club details. They highly recommend not skipping any of these meetings.

Bandidos are expected to attend all meetings held by their chapter, but are allowed to miss for work, illness, or if they’re serving time in prison. They’re expected to get permission to skip beforehand and after three absences they are asked to leave the club.

Don’t Testify Against Another Member

Members of the Bandidos biker gang
Fairfax Media/Getty Images
Fairfax Media/Getty Images

If one of their fellow club members gets arrested, other members are often asked to testify on their behalf.

One of the most important rules for the Bandidos is to not testify against other club members. Many members who’ve done this in the past have been placed in witness protection programs.

What Happens In The Club, Stays In The Club

a Bandidos club member parking his motorcycle
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

While the Bandidos is a well-known motorcycle club, they need to keep their affairs private. Anyone who discusses club business to non-club members is in for a rude awakening.

In order for the Bandidos to keep things discreet, they will do in-person meetings in places that are hidden away, talk in code, and use burner cell phones.

Avoid Asking For A Promotion

Members of the motorcycle gang
Jens-Ulrich Koch/DDP/AFP via Getty Images
Jens-Ulrich Koch/DDP/AFP via Getty Images

Similar to many organized clubs, there is a certain hierarchy that comes with the Bandidos. Members are often given the chance to prove their loyalty, which can include a promotion.

However, club members are never allowed to ask for one because they are only expected to earn it. They must also congratulate those who have received promotions.

They Must Always Give Back What They Borrow

Bandidos attending a funeral
Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Oftentimes, members of the Bandidos will borrow items from other chapters or clubhouses. This can be anything from cash, motorcycles, appliances, or cars.

It’s expected that they take great care of whatever items they borrow and they have to return them once they’re done. Not doing so can lead to fateful consequences.

They Have Strict Motorcycle Regulations

Members of the Bandidos on motorcycles
Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images
Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images

All members of the Bandidos must own at least one Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but they are allowed to own other American-made bikes as well. Those just need to have a minimum engine size of 750cc.

Also, members can’t spend more than 30 days not riding their motorcycle without a valid excuse. Failing to do so will cause the chapter to pay a $500 fee.

They’re Told Not To Respect Authority

Members of the motorcycle gang
Jens-Ulrich Koch/DDP/AFP via Getty Images
Jens-Ulrich Koch/DDP/AFP via Getty Images

Club members have to do several things to prove they’re more than just tough. Bandidos are not allowed to fear authority and they must “have a general disdain for the rules of society.”

Members are not supposed to cooperate with law enforcement. Those who break any of these rules may be fined, knocked down a rank, have a patch taken away, get kicked out of the club, or beat up.

Maintaining Club Regalia

Policemen surround a member of the biker group 'Bandidos'
Martin Rose/Getty Images
Martin Rose/Getty Images

It’s easy to point out a Bandidos member when they’re wearing their club garments. All have an insignia with a caricature of a Mexican bandit with a sombrero holding a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other.

Members are supposed to care for their uniforms and are never allowed to sell them. Also, if they lose any of their club regalias, they often won’t get new ones.

Patches Must Be Placed A Certain Way On The Vest

bandidos in their vests
Jens Wolf/Getty Images
Jens Wolf/Getty Images

Bandidos members often show off their patches on their official club vests. Most of their patches need to be placed a certain way.

The Top and Bottom rocker, Fat Mexican, 1% diamond, and MC patches need to be on the back of the cut and visible from 150 feet away. They must also place another 1% diamond patch over their heart.

Members Have To Sign Over Their Motorcycles

a woman on a motorcycle
Susannah Ireland/Getty Images
Susannah Ireland/Getty Images

After riders get voted in as pledges for their chapter, they must sign over their rights for their motorcycle to the Bandidos. These riders are expected to represent the entire organization, not just their chapter.

Pledges must go to every meeting, party, or bike event where there will be other Bandidos present and they can’t miss any national or regional rides.

What Happens If Someone Gets A “No Contact” Status

bandidos members giving each other a hug
Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images

While all Bandidos are expected to stay in the organization for the rest of their lives, that’s not always possible. Sometimes ex-Bandidos are given a “No Contact” status.

Those given this status are no longer allowed to communicate with club members and vice versa. Also, this doesn’t apply to one clubhouse, but all Bandidos around the world.

Proper Funeral Etiquette

Funeral for Bandido with members riding motorcycles
Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Bandidos are loyal for life, so they expect an impactful ceremony for their afterlife. They have several funeral etiquette requirements.

All members must ride by themselves to show off the patches that celebrate the services completed by the fallen member. Attendance is absolutely mandatory for a Bandidos funeral, but not every member gets one. For example, someone who takes their own life doesn’t receive a funeral.

A Disgusting Initiation Ritual

the bandidos members taking a photo
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Some may shield their eyes in horror after learning about one of the Bandidos initiation rituals. When a biker joins the club, they must put on a special vest.

The other club members will put human waste on the vest and the biker must ride on the road while still wearing it. They are only able to remove it once the waste dries.

Women Can’t Join

women wearing the bandidos vests
Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images
Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

The Bandidos do not allow women to be club members. Instead, they are allowed to be associates. Associates support the Bandidos by doing menial tasks and making sure the needs of the club members are met.

The women are also known as “Ol’ Lady” or “Proud Bandido Ol’ Lady” (PBOLs) and will wear a “Property Patch” in public to show which man they belong to. Also, men are allowed to own more than one “Ol’ Lady.”

Honesty Is A Golden Rule

A member of the motorcycle gang
Jens-Ulrich Koch/Getty Images
Jens-Ulrich Koch/Getty Images

One of the most important rules among the Bandidos is to never lie. The club does not accept any member who lies, steals, or uses illegal substances.

This may seem extreme coming come from a biker club, especially when they were notorious for stealing motorcycles and using illegal substances in the 1960s and 1970s.