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Start a Motorcycle Club

Motorcycle clubs are the backbone of the AMA, playing a key role in advancing the organization’s mission to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.  

If you plan to start a motorcycle club, it’s important to create a well-organized motorcycling organization that presents a favorable image to motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists alike.  

The purpose of this how to start a motorcycle club guide is to describe the structure, function and potential of motorcycle organizations and how to make motorcycling more enjoyable not just for you but for the community at large.  


Club Constitution

A motorcycle club constitution is a comprehensive document that contains and communicates all the rules and regulations that guide the operation of the club.  

Download a club constitution template you can use as you draft your own motorcycle club constitution.  


Club bylaws are your motorcycle club’s rules of operation. These bylaws establish the formal process by which club activities are managed and handled.  

Download a template you can use to guide how you draft your motorcycle club’s bylaws.  

Mission & Purpose Statement

Spend some time crafting mission and purpose statements that capture the goals and aspirations of your motorcycle club. These statements are the roadmap, strategic playbook, and rallying cry of your club.  

Mission Statement-

 A formal, brief statement of the aims and values of your motorcycle club, defining its fundamental culture, goals and values.  

Consider, for example, the AMA’s mission statement: “To promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.”  

This simple sentence clearly identifies the AMA’s goals (to promote and protect) and also provides the organization with focus (on the motorcycle lifestyle) and direction (toward the future).  

Purpose Statement-

While your mission statement describes what your motorcycle club does, a purpose statement represents why your club exists.  

A purpose statement for a motorcycle club might sound something like this: ‘We believe in the power of the ride, the connection people find while riding together, and in the thrill of two-wheeled freedom.”  

Often, once your purpose is established, you might consider setting a series of goals to drive that purpose. 

Community & Legal Considerations

Beyond the foundational steps of establishing a club constitution and bylaws, the question of incorporation is one that you and your fellow club members should also consider. Start by consulting with your accountant and/or lawyer to understand the financial and legal benefits — and any potential disadvantages — of incorporation. 

To get corporate status for your club, you must file the appropriate documents with your secretary of state. Most clubs file simple “Articles of Agreement” stating that the club is a voluntary corporation established for the purpose of furthering the sport of motorcycling, with no capital stock. It’s relatively simple to file incorporation papers, but you can also have a lawyer do it. To save time and money, be prepared for your initial consultation with your lawyer. Take along a copy of the club constitution and bylaws and have two or more club officers present. Also, be prepared to pay the filing fee. 

Nonprofit corporation status is available in most states for “not-for-profit” organizations. This type of incorporation avoids much of the financial burden of other types of incorporation. It’s the type of organization most favored by clubs operated not-for-profit but seeking protection from liabilities for individual members. 

The IRS and your state tax division may have separate requirements for nonprofit corporations. Become familiar with the requirements of each. Failure to comply with federal and state tax regulations governing your club could result in fines and loss of your corporation status. 

The AMA maintains a database of chartered club and organizer names but, oftentimes, organizations want to protect their name more broadly. You can check your state’s Secretary of State website to see if they have protected/registered their name. If no entity exists with the name you wish to use, then you can file with your Secretary of State to further protect your name. 

After the considerable amount of work you have done to get your organization together, make sure that you and the other members get the most out of your activities. 

The American Motorcyclist Association is the only national organization devoted to providing a full range of services to America’s motorcyclists and is equipped to effectively work for the betterment of all forms of motorcycling. Whether a rider prefers motocross or touring, the AMA exists to support and benefit motorcyclists of all types. 

Your organization will enjoy many services and benefits through its AMA affiliation. AMA’s full-time Government Relations Department actively combats all forms of legislation and regulation that is unfair to motorcyclists. The AMA Racing/Organizer Services Department helps organizers conduct events. 

Chartering your organization with the AMA makes your status available on the AMA website, which can lead to increased membership and exposure. 

Once you’ve established an AMA-affiliated club, take steps to establish and integrate your club as a positive force in your local community. Your good standing in the community is vital. 

As with any special interest group, people are going to be curious about the activity that has drawn you together. It’s up to you to channel this curiosity into a positive force to promote motorcycling in your community. The basis of good community relations begins with individual members of the organization. That is, simply by being responsible, civic-minded citizens you can lay a foundation on which acceptance and respect in the community can be built. 

Being a viable and valued part of the community requires more than just behaving responsibly. It means taking an active role in the activities that help the community improve and grow. Here are a few examples of easy ways you and your club can work to support your local community: 

  • Adopt-A-Highway or other litter pick-up 
  • Organization or participation in charitable fundraising projects 
  • Providing guest speakers for civic and service organizations, giving your organization the opportunity to present motorcycling in a positive light to some of your community’s most influential members 
  • Traffic control or escorts for parades, community celebrations, athletic events and other crowded activities 

It is a good idea to connect with your local police department. Set up a meeting that includes a couple of your officers. Brief the local police community relations officer on who you are, why you have formed your organization and what your plans are for being involved in the community. If you have designed an insignia or patch, be sure the police are aware of it. Seek to keep these lines of communication open. 

AMA EAGLES is a series of on-demand, educational training modules that empowers AMA volunteers with knowledge, tools and resources tailored to their interests. Through the AMA EAGLES program, members learn more about the association in order to become better volunteers, grassroots activists and membership promoters. There is no cost for AMA members to participate in EAGLES training. 

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