Bylaws create the solid foundation that will hold your motorcycle club together. If they are written careful and strictly followed they will ensure that your club will survive the many challenges that will confront it over the years and decades. If you look around forty years from now and your motorcycle club is still around it is likely that the constitution you create today will be largely responsible for your club’s success.
When you create your bylaws you should keep in mind that this document will be the great club equalizer that will be the law from which no single club member can out rank, disregard or move against. There should be great consideration and thought put into the creation of this document. Once written, the bylaws will be the roadmap that will guide your members.
This article series will show you what your club’s constitution should contain and give you basic instructions on how to write them:
· The bylaws should begin with a creation/amendment date prominently displayed at the top. This date will allow all members to know that they have the most up-to-date version with a quick glance.
· There should be a table of contents to allow members to quickly search and access desired sections.
Article 1 should stipulate the date of the inception of the motorcycle club. Along with the club’s birth date it will state what the name shall forever be. It should give the physical address and the website URL, Facebook page URL, email, phone number and other contact information.
Section 1 The Club:
Section 1 of Article II should explain what the physical makeup of the club should be. It will state how many members a club contains (or an unlimited number of members) and what the male and female members shall be designated (i.e., property vs. members). It will designate what percentage of the membership must own motorcycles (in Georgia this is 80% of the club’s members) and how long a membership will last (i.e., until the member dissolves their membership or violates the constitution).
Section 2 Membership:
Section 2 of Article II generally states what is required to be a member of your motorcycle club. It should state the requirements of regular or prospective (probationary) membership. It will state the minimum age of a member and what qualifications the member should have on their driver’s license before they can join. It will stipulate how a prospective member (hang around) will become designated as a Prospect and how the Prospect will become a regular member. It will also state the minimum age required for membership.
Section 2a: Prospective Membership:
Section 2a of Article II will detail the conduct of a Prospect during the prospecting period. It will specify the duties of the Prospect’s sponsor and the duties of the Prospect. It will list all requirements of a Prospect and specifically state what a Prospect cannot be asked to do and what cannot be done to a Prospect by regular members.
Section 3a: Auxiliary Membership
Section 3a of Article II will discuss auxiliary membership or the duties of club Property. It will tell how old the auxiliary members should be and discuss the nature of their association with the club and what it will take for them to gain their colors.
Section 4: Initiation
Section 4 of Article II will state what is required during the club’s initiation of a new member.
Section 4a: Inactive Members
Section 4a of Article II will specify how inactive members will be treated and what will be considered a period of inactivity. It will detail how the MC will grant members a leave of absence, emergency leave or relieve duty responsibilities from a member for special circumstances. It will also state how long leave periods can be granted.
Section 4b: Continuous Good Standing
Section 4b of Article II will specify what is required for a member to be in good standing with the MC. Usually if a member is current on dues, stands duties, and has completed a specific membership period of time; they could be considered in “Good Standing,” for example.
Section 5: Discrimination
Section 5 of Article II will contain the motorcycle club’s anti-discrimination clause if one is desired.
This article has been an examination of what general subjects are contained in Article I and II of well written motorcycle club bylaws. Join me in my next article as we delve deeper into how to write motorcycle club bylaws.