What Does 1%er Mean? Unpacking a Notorious Motorcycle Club Term

For the average person, the term “1%er” might not hold much significance. But for members of outlaw motorcycle clubs (OMCs), it carries a lot of weight. To understand the significance of 1%er, we need to dive into the world of OMCs and their culture. This article unpacks the meaning of 1%er and explores the history and perception behind this notorious term.

What are Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs?

Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs are groups of motorcyclists who organize themselves based on certain criteria, typically centered around a shared interest in motorcycles and a penchant for the outlaw lifestyle. These clubs often have tight-knit, secretive membership, and are organized hierarchically with a set of rules and bylaws.

Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs have been around in the United States since the 1940s, and they have always had a reputation for being involved in criminal activity. These activities range from drug trafficking to extortion to violent crimes, and have earned OMCs a fierce reputation throughout American culture.

The Founding of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club

The first major outlaw motorcycle club was the Hells Angels, which was founded in Fontana, California in 1948. This club grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, and many other clubs sprang up across the country as well. These clubs were often composed of veterans from World War II or the Korean War, and they were drawn to the adrenaline and sense of brotherhood that came with being part of an OMC.

What is a 1%er?

The term “1%er” refers to the belief that 99% of all motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens, while the remaining 1% are “outlaws,” or participate in criminal activities. This division between 99% and 1% comes from a statement made by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) in 1947.

At the time, the AMA was trying to distance itself from outlaw bikers and their criminal activities. They released a statement saying that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens, in an attempt to show that the majority of motorcyclists were not involved in the criminal world. But the outlaw bikers took this statement as an insult, and embraced the label of being part of the 1% who were willing to live outside societal norms and engage in criminal activity.

The Meaning of 1%er Today

Today, the term “1%er” carries a lot of weight in the world of OMCs. It signifies a dedication to the outlaw lifestyle, and a willingness to engage in activities that are frowned upon by society at large. For many OMCs, being a 1%er is a badge of honor, and they take great pride in being part of that select group of individuals who are willing to live by their own rules, regardless of the consequences.

The Perception of 1%ers

The perception of 1%ers has varied throughout American culture. At times, they have been portrayed as loveable rogues, living outside the strictures of society and defying authority in a way that many people find appealing. But at other times, they have been shown as violent criminals, engaging in activities that are abhorrent to most people.

Media Portrayal of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs

The media has played a significant role in shaping people’s perceptions of OMCs and 1%ers. Popular shows such as Sons of Anarchy have portrayed these clubs in a romanticized light, showing them as a group of rebels fighting against a corrupt system. But other shows and movies, such as Hell’s Angels on Wheels, have shown them as violent criminals, engaging in activities that are harmful to society.

Overall, the perception of 1%ers is complicated and multifaceted. It is unlikely that there will ever be a universally accepted understanding of what it means to be a 1%er, but for members of OMCs, this label holds a great deal of significance.

1%er Traditions and Customs

Being a 1%er comes with its own set of traditions and customs that are unique to the world of OMCs. These include things like patches, tattoos, and specific rituals that are performed by members of the club.

Patches

Patches are a key part of the identity of OMCs, and are worn as a sign of membership in a particular club. These patches often display the club’s emblem or logo, and may also include the member’s rank, nickname, or years of membership.

Tattoos

Tattoos are also a popular way for OMC members to show their dedication to their clubs. These tattoos often display the club’s emblem, and may also include other symbols or designs that are meaningful to the member.

Rituals

OMCs often have specific rituals that are performed during various parts of the membership process. For example, new members may be required to perform certain tasks or go through initiation ceremonies before they can officially become members.

Conclusion

The term “1%er” may seem insignificant to those who are not part of the world of outlaw motorcycle clubs, but it holds a great deal of weight for those who are. This label signifies a dedication to living outside societal norms and engaging in activities that are considered criminal by most people. Whether this label is seen as a badge of honor or a mark of shame depends largely on who you ask, but for members of OMCs, being a 1%er holds a great deal of significance.

Common Questions and Answers

  • What does 1%er mean? 1%er refers to the belief that 1% of all motorcyclists are “outlaws” who engage in criminal activities.
  • What is an outlaw motorcycle club? An outlaw motorcycle club is a group of motorcyclists who organize themselves based on certain criteria and engage in activities that are often considered criminal.
  • What is the history of the 1%er movement? The 1%er movement began in the 1940s and 1950s, when outlaw motorcycle clubs began to gain prominence in the United States.
  • What is the significance of patches in outlaw motorcycle clubs? Patches are a key part of the identity of OMCs, and are worn as a sign of membership in a particular club. These patches often display the club’s emblem or logo, and may also include the member’s rank, nickname, or years of membership.
  • What are some of the rituals performed by outlaw motorcycle clubs? OMCs often have specific rituals that are performed during various parts of the membership process. For example, new members may be required to perform certain tasks or go through initiation ceremonies before they can officially become members.

References

  • Barker, E. (2013). “The outlaw motorcycle club as a social movement.” Deviant Behavior, 34(2), 158-174.
  • Diaz, A. (2014). “The outlaw biker image and its effect on reality.” International Journal of Motorcycle Studies, 10.
  • Hopper, H. (2017). “A history of 1%er motorcycle clubs.” ABC News. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/US/history-outlaw- biker-clubs/story?id=47290405.
  • Kennedy, J. G. (1987). “The bikeriders.” Courier Corporation.

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