McDonalds: The Bicycle Test

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Okay, I’ll admit it, I was trying to create an incident.

I decided to ride my bicycle out on Sunday to go get treats for everyone for our evening snack: Shamrock Shakes from McDonalds. And since there was no bicycle rack to park my bicycle, I decided that the easiest way for me to make my purchase would be through the drive through. After all, I am legally a vehicle, I have to use the road and not the sidewalk. So I should be able to drive through as well as anyone else.

I went to the McDonald’s on Chouteau Trafficway near Interstate 35. It has two drive-through lanes with order stations. I chose the outer of the two, since it was empty, and waited for someone to ask to take my order. But no one did. I watched three cars go through the other lane and have the order taken, but no one ever asked me.

I read a sign that people with hearing  or speech issues could have their order taken at the first window, so I rode up to the window to ask how come no one had asked for my order.

The person at the window said her manager said she couldn’t take my order but that I could go inside and place one. I asked why and where I was supposed to park my bicycle, since they didn’t have a rack. She said I could chain it to the railing up front.

So I went inside and placed my order and talked to the manager. I explained being a legal vehicle not able to use her drivethrough. She discussed how the sensor didn’t register my presence to take my order because it needed a certain weight and had some sort of magnet, and that they didn’t serve the bicycles in the drive-through because of safety issues with cars whipping around them and running into a cyclist.

Now McDonald’s is a private business serving the public. I wish I could have used the drivethrough, but as a business they have a right to make their own choices. They saw a safety issue, and chose a way to serve me that wasn’t excessively inconvenient. It would have been nice to use the drivethrough, it would have been nice to have a bicycle rack. But they took steps to be accomodating and explained the situation.

So I give McDonald’s that particular store, a passing grade for accessibility and openness. I don’t give them 5 stars, but I do appreciate what they did, and how they explained it.

But that is only one store. Anytime I want to cycle to a different McDonald’s I’ll have to go through the parking issue again. At least I know they don’t design the sensors to trigger for a bicycle (which is about as bad as being a cyclist at a traffic light that doesn’t recognize you — but that should be the topic of another post).

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