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tSlater

Drive-Thrus and Bicycles

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So, my friend and I were discussing this last night as I was suddenly hungry at midnight.. and no fast-food lobbies were open anywhere. Granted, I ended up going to a gas station for food, but I've attempted drive-thrus in the past. I think it is rather ridiculous that someone who has a bicycle and shoes as their only means of transportation simply cannot give a resturaunt business after the lobbies close, yet a motorcyclist can. After some research, I've found it to be an issue of insurance policies, but there does not seem to be much desire to improve their insurance policies.

So, I am going to start compiling a list of drive-thrus in the area and rank them for bicycle-friendliness. I'm thinking in a few month's time, I'll try to focus a Critical Mass to target one of these drive-thrus, and see if the resturaunt would really deny service to some 40+ people.

Exceptionally Friendly: (Actually provides tools to bicyclists to help place their order in drive-thru, such as a non-sensor based activation system.)

Accepting: (Allows bicycles in drive-thru.)

Burger King @ 28th & Clyde Park {1 trip}

Uncertain: (Sometimes allows, sometimes doesn't, employees seem apprehensive but still serve. May feel uncomfortable ordering from bicycle.)

Dislike: (Received service on bicycle, but told it is against policy and will not happen "next time.")

Wendy's @ 28th & Burlingame {1 trip}

Absolute Refusal: (Service absolutely refused to bicyclist.)

If any of you have ever attempted or used drive-thrus on bicycle, please let me know where and how well it went. I think it would be rather helpful to know the places where one can expect service and where one cannot, so that we won't have to be hunting around, frustrated.

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After some research, I've found it to be an issue of insurance policies, but there does not seem to be much desire to improve their insurance policies.

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So, my friend and I were discussing this last night as I was suddenly hungry at midnight.. and no fast-food lobbies were open anywhere. Granted, I ended up going to a gas station for food, but I've attempted drive-thrus in the past. I think it is rather ridiculous that someone who has a bicycle and shoes as their only means of transportation simply cannot give a resturaunt business after the lobbies close, yet a motorcyclist can. After some research, I've found it to be an issue of insurance policies, but there does not seem to be much desire to improve their insurance policies.

So, I am going to start compiling a list of drive-thrus in the area and rank them for bicycle-friendliness. I'm thinking in a few month's time, I'll try to focus a Critical Mass to target one of these drive-thrus, and see if the resturaunt would really deny service to some 40+ people.

Exceptionally Friendly: (Actually provides tools to bicyclists to help place their order in drive-thru, such as a non-sensor based activation system.)

Accepting: (Allows bicycles in drive-thru.)

Burger King @ 28th & Clyde Park {1 trip}

Uncertain: (Sometimes allows, sometimes doesn't, employees seem apprehensive but still serve. May feel uncomfortable ordering from bicycle.)

Dislike: (Received service on bicycle, but told it is against policy and will not happen "next time.")

Wendy's @ 28th & Burlingame {1 trip}

Absolute Refusal: (Service absolutely refused to bicyclist.)

If any of you have ever attempted or used drive-thrus on bicycle, please let me know where and how well it went. I think it would be rather helpful to know the places where one can expect service and where one cannot, so that we won't have to be hunting around, frustrated.

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League of American Bicyclists took on this windmill a few years ago. It was determined that the insurance requirement is bogus (no one speeds through a drive-up lane; the whole objective is to stop).

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League of American Bicyclists took on this windmill a few years ago. It was determined that the insurance requirement is bogus (no one speeds through a drive-up lane; the whole objective is to stop).

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I was driving a big truck a couple years ago early evening in December when I stopped for a quick soda at McD's in Lake City. The lobby doors had a marker written note saying "sorry for the inconvenience, we can't serve you inside". Never did find out why. Well, there's nothing else open in Lake City mid-December so I "walked up". The girl said I can't serve you here. I said you can't serve me inside either. She said "you have to drive up", I said "I'm driving that truck over there, do you really want me to drive up? I"ll do it if I have to". She took my order and served me.

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I work for McDonald's and we are not suppose to serve anyone that isn't in a vehicle. So do not try going to McDonald's.

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A friend of mine who worked at McDonalds as well (in fact, the very friend I mentioned above) told me the same thing. I usually prefer BK over McDonalds anyays.

Also, I did read about McDonalds with dedicated bike-thru lanes being present in Portland and possibly Milwaukee.

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I work for McDonald's and we are not suppose to serve anyone that isn't in a vehicle. So do not try going to McDonald's.

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So was anything done about it? I mean, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what you just said above, but was any action taken to get insurance companies to allow bicycle traffic? Or is it just a myth that most fast food franchisees' insurance actually bans bicycles from drive thrus? One that managers just believe because they heard it somewhere, not because they actually read the fine print of their insurance policies.

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The issue regarding drive thrus and walk ups is this. Most cash registers are next to the window. As a result it makes it a security risk to take payment for walk ups. Thats where the insurance companies get upset. The diffrence versus walk in is that the registers are typically underneath and have much harder time for somebody to open the register. In anycase most fast food restraunts consider bicycles the same as walk ups. Motorcycles are typically not an issue as they have Licence plates. As for the aspect of big trucks, the only time restraunts get upset with them walking up is when the lobby would be open and they park and go to the window. Most of the time when its late at night most fast food places would allow walk ups for big rig trucks.

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Then why don't they put their drawer underneath a shelf. That's a hard one to solve. Even inventing the wheel takes more brains than that.

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As for the aspect of big trucks, the only time restraunts get upset with them walking up is when the lobby would be open and they park and go to the window. Most of the time when its late at night most fast food places would allow walk ups for big rig trucks.

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Ok, so here is my own personal opinion. Let me first state that I'm a huge cyclist, so I support right for cyclist to the fullest.

However, I don't think bikes should be allowed service at drive thrus.

Reason #1

A cyclist risks being struck by another vehicle from behind in the queue. Now before saying it's no different than a street or parking lot, you must keep in mind that drivers are extremely distracted in these queue lanes. They are rifling for change, or moving stuff out of the way in the car, or turning around and managing the kids. You might think this is just the drivers fault, but the restaurants trust no one. The cyclist may try to sue the establishment since the incident occurred on their property. Probably a rare chance of this happening, but when it does, the insurance company won't be happy bailing the restaurant out of a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Reason #2

Not every cyclist is smart. As much as I wish they all were, some are very stupid. If given service at the window. They will attempt to ride down the street and balance food and drink. I can do "no hands" and switch through an ipod and drink Gatorade with the other hand, so it wouldn't surprise me others could do the same. The cyclist crashes and get seriously hurt (or someone else does). Like the first situation, people like to point blame in certain ways even when it's the victim's poor judgment. The restaurant gets sued, same story.

Reason #3

Employee safety. This is probably what most people think of. Employees prefer the distance between the customer and themselves, especially when working late at night. The customer cannot easily reach the employee from a car, so these types of situations are avoided. The customer is also least likely in a vehicle to throw a drink back at that employee as a prank to avoid getting it on their car or themselves. Also take note of the license plate situation stated above. It's hard to ID a delinquent cyclist. A drawer system is a good suggestion, but most restaurants will consider my other points before investing in one of those.

I realize sometimes you are hungry and need a late night snack, and you find it unreasonable that you have to own a car in order to get service. But you know? That's just the way things are, and it's not your decision as to whether or not it should happen. These places are private property, so they can make their own rules if they feel it's an issue of safety. During the daytime, there's no excuse for parking your bike and walking in and sitting down to enjoy your meal. I don't see many crate or bike rack owners out there, so I'm going to assume the majority of the people that would ever ride a bike through a drive through and receive service are going to be heading back to their place with only 1 hand on a handlebar.

Sorry if I ruined the party, but it's my own personal belief, and I really don't find it unreasonable.

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Tony, I figured it out.

Take a pedicab through, and have the passenger order.

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DT Burger King permits pedicabs, but I certainly don't have one at home and they're not legal on Wyoming streets.

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Ok, so here is my own personal opinion. Let me first state that I'm a huge cyclist, so I support right for cyclist to the fullest.

However, I don't think bikes should be allowed service at drive thrus.

Reason #1

A cyclist risks being struck by another vehicle from behind in the queue. Now before saying it's no different than a street or parking lot, you must keep in mind that drivers are extremely distracted in these queue lanes. They are rifling for change, or moving stuff out of the way in the car, or turning around and managing the kids. You might think this is just the drivers fault, but the restaurants trust no one. The cyclist may try to sue the establishment since the incident occurred on their property. Probably a rare chance of this happening, but when it does, the insurance company won't be happy bailing the restaurant out of a multi-million dollar lawsuit....

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Due to July's fast food expenses being WAAAAY over budget, I'm banning myself from any fast food places for the month of August. So, I'd love to hear if anyone else is trying various places on bicycle, because I'm not. =p

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