Last Updated on February 7, 2024
Motorcycle patches are more than just stylish accessories – they are visual indicators of group affiliations, ideologies, and even criminal activities within the motorcycle subculture. While patches can be a great way to express personal beliefs or support for a cause, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential consequences associated with certain patches.
- One Percent Patch: Rebel biker badge for the 1% who don’t play by the rules.
- White Cross Patch: Grave-watcher symbol in motorcycle clubs.
- Patches Affiliated with Big Five Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs): Gang loyalty patches for Hell’s Angels, Mongols, Outlaws, Banditos, or Sons of Silence.
- Nazi Symbols: Old symbols with a dark history, now linked to white supremacy.
- Red Cross Motorcycle Patch: Originally humanitarian but adopted by hate groups due to KKK ties.
- Skull and Crossbones Patch: Mortality reminder worn by some bikers with dark humor.
- DFFL Patch (Dope Forever, Forever Loaded): Signals drug use and ties to Hell’s Angels, linked to the illegal drug trade.
7 Motorcycle Patches to Avoid
We’ll look at 7 motorcycle patches to avoid because of their dubious meanings and possible legal ramifications.
1. 1% Patch, 1%er or Outlaw Patches
- Signifies membership in the one percent of bikers who don’t conform to societal rules.
- Typically sewn in white or gold onto a black diamond or square background.
- Rooted in the Hollister Riots of 1947.
Wearing the One Percent patch (1% patch) signifies that the wearer is part of the one percent of bikers who don’t conform to society’s rules, identifying with an outlaw motorcycle gang. Originating from the Hollister Riots in 1947, this patch is typically sewn in white or gold onto a black diamond or square background.
According to the nih.gov, Thus, the “1%” patch (Figure 1) is worn only by clubs immersed in criminality and large enough to defend the claim to be the “baddest of the bad.
It’s advisable to steer clear of this patch unless you are an outlaw motorcycle group member to avoid misunderstanding and potential conflict.
2. The White Cross Patch
- Indicates the wearer has witnessed the desecration of a grave or theft from a tomb.
- Symbolizes membership in a motorcycle club.
- May be misunderstood or mocked by those outside the club.
The white cross patch symbolizes that the wearer has witnessed the desecration of a grave or the theft of an item from a tomb, indicating their membership in a motorcycle club. This patch can be easily misunderstood or mocked by those outside the club, making it advisable to avoid wearing it to prevent unintended consequences.
3. Patches Affiliated with Big Five Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs)
- Associated with notorious gangs such as Hell’s Angels, Mongols, Outlaws, Banditos, or Sons of Silence.
- Wearing these patches without membership is considered disrespectful and can lead to trouble.
- Represents loyalty and commitment to the respective outlaw motorcycle gang.
Wearing patches associated with notorious outlaw motorcycle gangs like the Hell’s Angels, Mongols, Outlaws, Banditos, or Sons of Silence can lead to serious trouble.
According to the Department of Justice (.gov), The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence pose a serious national domestic threat and conduct the majority of criminal activity linked to OMGs, especially activity relating to drug-trafficking and, more specifically, to cross-border drug smuggling.
These patches represent loyalty and commitment to these organizations, and wearing them without membership is considered a display of contempt for their leadership and charter. For safety reasons, it’s best to steer clear of any patches resembling these infamous gangs.
4. Nazi Symbols patches
- Includes iron crosses, swastikas, SS bolts, and Totenköpfe (death’s heads).
- Once worn with dark humor, now associated with white supremacy.
- Wearing Nazi symbols perpetuates harmful ideologies and is frowned upon in modern motorcycle culture.
The use of Nazi symbols, including iron crosses, swastikas, and SS bolts, was once prevalent among motorcycle clubs with a dark sense of humor. However, the association between motorcycle culture and white supremacy has given these symbols a darker connotation. To avoid sending the wrong message and perpetuating harmful ideologies, it’s crucial to refrain from wearing patches with Nazi imagery.
5. Red Cross Motorcycle Patch
- Originally represented the humanitarian organization but adopted by hate groups.
- Historical ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
- Despite the Red Cross’s request to refrain, it persists in use by hate groups.
Originally representing the humanitarian organization, the Red Cross motorcycle patch has been adopted by white supremacist groups due to its historical ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Despite the Red Cross’s request to refrain from using the patch, hate groups persist in employing it. Wearing this patch can lead to misunderstandings and may be associated with activities during incarceration, making it advisable to avoid it altogether.
6. Skull and Crossbones Patch
- Depicts a skull with crossed bones, symbolizing a continual reminder of mortality.
- Worn by some motorcycle riders for its dark sense of humor.
- Used by criminally-minded motorcycle clubs to indicate wrongdoing.
The skull and crossbones, symbolizing mortality, may be misinterpreted as a sign of danger or criminality, especially by those unfamiliar with motorcycle culture. Worn with dark humor by some riders, this patch is also associated with criminally-minded motorcycle clubs, signifying engagement in wrongdoing.
Universally recognized, the patch can contribute to stereotypes, portraying riders as intimidating or dangerous, potentially deterring those unfamiliar with the culture. Traditionally reserved for higher ranks in motorcycle clubs, wearing this patch without appropriate status may lead to misunderstandings and conflicts within the community.
7. DFFL Patch (Dope Forever, Forever Loaded)
- Proclaims the wearer is a drug user and consistently in possession of narcotics.
- Linked to criminal motorcycle organizations, particularly the Hell’s Angels.
- Considered divisive and associated with illegal drug trade involvement.
The DFFL patch is one of the most divisive options available due to its explicit association with drug use and criminal motorcycle organizations. Wearing this patch carries legal risks and undermines efforts to maintain a positive and responsible image within the motorcycle subculture.
Individuals interested in fostering a safer and more inclusive community should exercise caution and avoid displaying patches that glorify illegal activities.
While motorcycle patches can be a great form of self-expression, one must be aware of their meanings and potential consequences. Avoiding patches associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs, hate symbols, or criminal activities can help prevent misunderstandings, conflicts, and legal troubles.
Before attaching any patch to your clothing, take the time to understand its significance within the motorcycle subculture to ensure you convey the right message.
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