What are some reasons that business owners choose to prevent cyclists from using the drive-thru? Are there legal issues?

  • Why the advocacy tag? Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 4:48
  • 3
    What's the chance a cyclists is going to super-size?
    – mgb
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 4:52
  • Generally I've only seen the sign where it also says "NO PEDESTRIANS". And I suspect it's mostly because there's a danger that a driver would not see them and hit them. Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 11:50
  • Are there any businesses that allow it? Seems to be implied by the title and I've never noticed any.
    – dotjoe
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 21:11
  • 2
    After hours (when walk-in was no longer open) I have both been served and run off by fast food chains when trying to go through the drive-thru on foot. Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 18:02

3 Answers 3


Probably one of two camps:
1) They just don't think it's proper to ride a bike through a drive through, it's for cars they say.
2) They don't know if it's going to expose them liability if a cyclist is hurt or killed by a car pulling in to or out of the drive through.

  • 3
    I would strongly suspect of the liability issue as being the main reason. Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 19:26
  • 1
    One is for liability of a bike getting hit another is for the safety of the employee. A guy on a bike or a pedestrian can commit a crime (armed robbery, assault) and it will be near impossible to catch vs a guy in a car with their license plate. But, I have gone through the drive through a few times on a bike...
    – BillyNair
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 6:04
  • @BillyNair Though I think you're on to something, a lot of a certain chain specifically, but not uncommon in general for others, in my area have anti-crime windows whereby only one thing (money or "food") is passed through at a time, and only in one direction. Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 18:04
  • I highly doubt that, or they wouldn't allow bikes in parking lots, either. Besides, when was the last time you've seen anyone in a drive-thru exceeding 5mph?
    – Ernie
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 21:34
  • @ernie - It's not likely that a cyclist would be hurt going through a drive through, it's more the irrational fear of the business owners that someone could be hurt (especially dumb kids or scammers) and then sue the business. A lot of places have signs all over their property banning bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades for the same reason.
    – Benzo
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 17:37

Having cars in a drive-through is easy because they can only go by the ordering|payment|delivery windows one at a time.

Any bicycles or pedestrians in that funnel could overtake each other and make a big confusion out of the sequence. That would ruin the process for the business because it's specifically meant to only handle an unchanging sequence of customers.

Plus, drive-though is faster than going in. If lots of pedestrians walk through the drive-through then you'll end up having a long queue inside and outside which also ruins the business model for the drive-through.

  • 2
    I think most people have experience being in a line. I don't imagine they would overtake each other in that situation.
    – House
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 17:52

When I tried it at McDonalds, they told me they were only insured for motorized vehicles coming through the drive through and would not serve me.

They had a campaign on at the time promoting something along the lines of how their food was healthy when enjoyed as part of a healthy life-style. I pointed out that I was cycling as part of my healthy lifestyle, and they really ought to do everything they could to support me with that. When I emailed them later to ask more about it and suggested they allow bikes through the drive through, they blatantly ignored my suggestion and replied restating that their insurance didn't cover them for bikes.

When I mentioned to the person at the window that I didn't have my bike lock, they told me I could take my bike inside! I wish now that I'd taken them up on the offer - I'm sure I would have struggled through their double set of doors, and my bike would have become an obstacle to other diners - but I was a bit annoyed at the time so I went elsewhere to eat. :)

  • Me and my friends have taken our bikes into stores that did not provide bike racks, when anyone says anything we just tell them we would have locked our bikes outside if we could.
    – BillyNair
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 6:06
  • A retail sporting goods chain let me+1 leave bikes near front. Also, the golden arches do not equal healthy, LOL. Great story. Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:59

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