No bikes allowed at the McDonald’s drive thru

First published on August 6, 2006

Just so you know, bicycles aren’t allowed at a McDonald’s drive thru. Only motorized vehicles are allowed. Apparently it’s a safety issue. Motorcycles, however, are more than welcome at the drive thru. And does McDonald’s offer bike racks? This then gives the bike rider no choice but to leave his/her bike unattended outside (well, I suppose one could bring one’s bike inside, or are there safety rules against that to?).

Since I refuse to write a personal blog, let’s just say that “somebody” tried to get service at the McDonald’s drive thru while riding a bike and was denied. This made him/her a bit upset… and he/she concluded that not only is McDonald’s bad for one’s body, but also bad for one’s spirit.


42 Responses to “No bikes allowed at the McDonald’s drive thru”

  1. Julia says:

    This was such a funny description of he/she’s unfortunate event!

    They also deny walk-throughs! Again for same so called ‘safety issues’….

  2. Leah says:

    Funny…we were just having this conversation around the campfire. Someone else was saying that A&W actually accepts walk-throughs, even though their policy is not to. So, since they take walk-throughs, they probably would take bike-throughs! You, I mean….he/she should try it! (the one at Scott & 72nd)

  3. aries cobaria says:

    Last night i went to Macdonald 1:00 am in the morning, I beg that manager would you let me buy a burger and fries cause my wife is craving for it but she declined my offer…….

  4. Manager at Mcd says:

    RE: No walk-throughs

    The policy of no walk-throughs is to ensure not only employee safety, but the safety of customers in their vehicles.

    It is easy for someone on foot (not inside a motorized vehicle) to assault and/or pull a clerk from the window of the drive-through booth. Also, people on foot have a tendency to be drunk (at early hours) and harass motorized customers as well as cut in line.

    Personally, I’ve seen walk-throughs steal from motorized customers, as well as intimidate and generally be obnoxious to both staff and motorized customers.

    While the above instances are unfortunate, any policy must be adhered to regarding all customers, even sober and respectable ones. This is to avoid discrimination lawsuits and the like.

    While I’m no PR spokesperson for McDonald’s, I am a manager at a Canadian location and just hope to shed some light on the issue. The staff and management who adhere to the policy are NOT doing so to be rude or disrespectful, so please don’t take a refusal of service personally!

    If you have any questions, feel free to email them to me (however, most messages not on my safe list get sent to my junk-mail so I may or may not get to read them!)


    [email protected]

  5. Peter says:

    Thanks for your comment. I suggest that McDonald’s make sure that all locations have bike racks.

  6. Terry says:


    I had the same experience last night at the Ajax McDonalds. Admitidly this was after a few beers, but we weren’t extremely drunk, not more than most motorized vehicles in the same line.

    This is a clear case of discrimination against pedestrians. The sociological damage done by not accepting bikes far out weighs any safety issues. Does this not imply within society that cyclists are second class citizens? I wish I had the money to take this on.

  7. Henry says:

    They do turn you away with a condescending and discriminatory attitude, don’t they? But I actually don’t mind. I feel sorry for them since they don’t get to experience the joy of riding this bike. Plus I save so much on car insurance that I bought a brand new digital camera with video record function. The next time I get turned away impolitely, it’s going on youtube.

  8. Keith says:

    In response to “Manager at Mcd” above:

    [The policy of no walk-throughs is to ensure not only employee safety, but the safety of customers in their vehicles.]

    However, it is not the only way to ensure this safety, if indeed it does, and it has serious issues with fairness (among others) which make it significantly suboptimal.

    [It is easy for someone on foot (not inside a motorized vehicle) to assault and/or pull a clerk from the window of the drive-through booth. Also, people on foot have a tendency to be drunk (at early hours) and harass motorized customers as well as cut in line.]

    As far as I know, anyone on foot can get in line whether or not their order is accepted or served and then perform these activities. The windows should clearly be constructed so that food and money can be exchanged, but clerks can’t be. If this is a known problem and pedestrians aren’t somehow prevented from entering, then I see a liability. The activities mentioned are clearly illegal whether or not someone has ordered a meal and it should be possible to remove and prosecute them without discriminating. Cutting in line probably happens frequently inside the store as well and I’m sure there is be a policy on that short of closing down. A good start at night would be to have a separate pedestrian line. Being drunk in a car is much more dangerous than being drunk outside of a lethal weapon, so the drive-though is the better candidate for closure at early hours.

    [Personally, I’ve seen walk-throughs steal from motorized customers, as well as intimidate and generally be obnoxious to both staff and motorized customers.]

    There have no doubt also been plenty of obnoxious motorists. Anyone who does steal in the walk-through will not be hanging around to pick up their order, so they aren’t really customers and they could easily just place themselves in line without ordering. Any motorist at the front of the line could also just step out and rob the next customer in line or leave enough space to squeeze a car out in the middle of the line. Presence of a vehicle is hardly prohibitive.

    [While the above instances are unfortunate, any policy must be adhered to regarding all customers, even sober and respectable ones. This is to avoid discrimination lawsuits and the like.]

    Yes, they are unfortunate instances. Adherence to a flawed policy is not the best solution, however. The “no service” policy is not being applied to all customers, only those without motorized vehicles at hand.

    I do see how a ban would make any person standing in line stick out and put people on alert (if they knew about the ban). It might prevent a small number of problems with customers who are not there solely to molest drivers and therefore actually order, but who are unable to control themselves in line. I can’t believe that is a substantial quantity and there is a solution for that in a walk-up window away from drivers and supplied with any needed windowing typical of 24-hour convenience store.

    If I was making the laws, any business serving both foot traffic and motor vehicle traffic would be required to have opening hours as long or longer for pedestrians. People can get out of their cars and walk (roll or hobble) in. Allowing the business access to city services such as water, sewer, electricity, etc. implies to me a responsibility for the business to serve the citizens fairly.

    [While I’m no PR spokesperson for McDonald’s, I am a manager at a Canadian location and just hope to shed some light on the issue. The staff and management who adhere to the policy are NOT doing so to be rude or disrespectful, so please don’t take a refusal of service personally!]

    It doesn’t seem rude, but the corporate policy comes off very much disrespectful to me and my way of life. I think that a poll would quickly verify that others agree.

    [If you have any questions, feel free to email them to me (however, most messages not on my safe list get sent to my junk-mail so I may or may not get to read them!)]

    Mailed as suggested.

  9. Ken says:

    I just would like to say that we should close drive thurs when they close the fast food restaurant for the night because it’s only fair for everyone to be treated as a perosn & not based on how we get around because not every person can or afford to drive a “motorized” vehicle. A restaurant is a person service NOT an auto service….So its only fair once again that every person get served just as long as they are behaving themself & pay for the service they recieved. I can understand about the safety isues at drive thrus but it only work if every person get served whether it’s 2 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon. Let make this world more universal, stop discriminating & get rid some of these ridiculous barriers we have in society today. Thanks, Ken…St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

  10. Jerry says:

    "It is easy for someone on foot (not inside a motorized vehicle) to assault and/or pull a clerk from the window of the drive-through booth. Also, people on foot have a tendency to be drunk (at early hours) and harass motorized customers as well as cut in line."
    I think refusing service would INCREASE the likelihood of a clerk being pulled through the window, imagine a slightly tipsy but hungry bruiser being refused a burger because he isn't DUI! BTW, has McDonalds confirmed this policy? I don't eat their stuff, but I have never been refused at any other drive up, including banks

  11. Wally Anti says:

    Amen, I actually know the reason for the ban. Get ready because it only gets stupider.

    In the 90’s an bicycler rode through a drive thru (I think it was McD’s) and was run over by an auto driver. That’s right. Because some dumb ass motorist needed his fat ass happy meal a bit faster, a biker had to die. To add insult to injury they decided to punish all bikers for the motorists stupidity. Sorry, but things this retarded just get me really upset.

  12. Wally Anti says:

    Manager at Mcd:

    You sir really believe all of that BS? I mean I know you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to work at McD’s but c’mon. I’ve got news for you. Most drive thru customer’s are drunk off their asses at 1am no matter how they got there. Whether they are on foot or not doesn’t change the fact that they are going to harrass each other. Maybe you could, I don’t know, turn away people who are actually breaking the law by engaging in public intoxication. I’m sure those motorists never smash into each other in the drive thrus either huh?

    I hope being a corporate tool gives you some pleasure because it’s making me sick.

  13. Ken says:

    It’s me once again…

    Why don’t they close the drive-thrus when they close the dining area for the night? It only sound logical & fair instead of the fast food joints "picking & choosing" of who they wanna serve just as long as the customers or potential customers are behaving themselves.

    Thanks, again! :)

  14. sam says:

    Yeah! Safety issue my ass! I was already ordered and thru when they told me they wouldn’t serve me.

  15. Caitlyn says:

    I totally walked through a Mc Donalds drive thru once.
    It was like one in the morning too. =P

  16. Peter says:

    I was at a Dairy Queen that had a specific walk-through-only lane. I appreciated that :)

  17. Carlos De Smedt says:

    well, we actually did that
    but no bike, just an imaginary school bus, check the video …
    so much fun to see McDonald attendant face…

    Reply from Peter: Fun times. I should try that here…

  18. muzzil says:

    Last night I went to a drive thru on bike (greater Wash DC Metro Area) and they seemed to take my order but when I made it to the window they had not logged it.

    I said, "you didn’t make my food", this after a 12 mile ride so it might have been taken the wrong way. Yeah, they didn’t take me seriously or they have the same policy.

    Then the guy took my order and delivered.

    Bikes are cars in many instances, I believe if I was riding sidewalks I can be ticketed if the cop really wants to harass me.

  19. migsthemerciless says:

    I was refused service last night at a McDonalds in West Australia because I was a pedestrian. I felt infuriated and humiliated. I would like to take McDonalds to task on the issue. I’m seeking legal advice. Anyone else feel that this policy is a gross violation of their rights?

  20. Randall Krause says:

    I was denied service at McDs tonight as well because I was on foot, and this whole thing has me infuriated. What about people who have a physical condition that impairs their ability to drive a motorized vehicle? It’s flat out discrimination. If the concern is "Safety" then they shouldn’t even have a drive through.

    Like someone else pointed out, a driver can just as easily get out of his car and harass other drivers and mug them if he really wants. Not to mention, a pedestrian could do the same even if he ISN’T there to place an order. Unless they are somehow being disorderly or otherwise engaging in unlawful activities, they should be entitled to eat and drink just as much as someone who owns a car. Does that not seem logical?

    This wouldn’t be a big deal to me if it wasn’t for the fact this is a food service establishment and they DO recognize pedestrians at other hours. For example, drive-in theatre is not a necessity. Also the point of that business is to cater just to drivers always. But when it comes to restaurants, which provide food and drink, they should not be able to selectively deny a group of people whose mobility is naturally endowed by their Creator.

  21. Jim says:

    Its was 7:10 AM there was no one in the drive through. The order taker said she could not serve me. I just wanted a sausage burito, milk and coffe. I ws told they couldnot serve me, and I could park my bicycle at the front door. This is 16th and meridian, no plavce close to lock my bike up. I was on my wa to the fari to volunteer at Peddle and Park. I had rode my bike through there before. I have gone through starbucks, with no problems.

    The manager said even the way I was dressed I looked as if I would not do anything wrong. I did not understand.

    So i parked y bicycle inside and placed my order. I paid the manager, the counter help was questioning her why she would not serve me.

    When the order taker came up to the counter and asked the manager if she was going to do what she said, they traded palces. And I just left. I would not eat any food they would serve at this time.

    So I rode to the McDonalds at 38th and Illinois, the service at the drive through was great.

    Good luck getting my business back.

  22. blah says:

    Forget about walk up or bicycle up to McDicks drivethroughs… now they don’t even allow motorcycles to drive through…

    Unless of course the immigrant at the window did not understand english enough to know the difference between BICYCLE and MOTORCYCLE…

    I’ll try again and if he refuses the order I’ll make a stink in the lane and ask for the manager while holding everyone up… then I’ll see what they say…

  23. Biker says:

    Probably just some stupid kid, I always go through drivethus on my Motorcycle, Rotten Ronnies, Booger King, Wendys, Tim Hortons etc…

    Hmmm…. perhaps I should look into my current diet eh?

  24. Jim says:

    Starbucks will take bike ups. olo or walk throughs.

    If they have issues with the outside foot or bike traffic maybe I should not be there. Why would I want to leave my bike outside with no place to chain it up. Or have to unpack to go inside.

    Broad Ripple set on the Monon trail. I wonder what their policy is?

    I haven’t been back. It sounds like Micky Dees has other issues.

    I have lost some weight.

  25. J says:

    I just bring my whole bike inside if there are no bike racks. What are they going to do about it? I’m a paying customer.

    I wouldn’t recommend this in heavily populated places like San Francisco or NYC, though. I’d just leave my bike to a streetlight outside.

    Thank goodness I live in San Jose.

  26. wei says:

    My local White Castle in NYC is open 24/7 with both drive thru+walk in store and I never see any problems occur.

  27. Scott says:

    I tried to take my bike inside the San Francisco McDonalds today and they told me to leave! There was hardly anyone in there and plenty of room, of course there was no place to lock it outside. I would never eat there myself, I was picking up for a sick friend. Now I will never eat there for sure.

  28. Billy says:

    I experienced this at the Mcdonalds on Townsend and 3rd street today in San Francisco. After skipping breakfast, I wanted to snag 2 burritos. I wasnt proud that I decided to go to Mcdonalds — I was hungry. I rode in the street all the way there, as I do every day for my commute, as I am a vehicle in the eyes of the law. I got in the drive through lane and suddenly I was swarmed with 3 employees saying I could not go through the drive through lane and to go to the front instead. I did not want to try to find a place to lock my bike up and as I am a vehicle, I stood my ground. I sat in the lane for 10 minutes waiting on them to take my order when finally they did, and told me not to come back through the lane.

    I asked the immigrant manager why bikes were not allowed. He said 4 wheel vehicles only. I then asked him about Motorcycles, and he had nothing to say about that. Finally he said hes actually about safety. He pointed to the cement posts on the side of the drive through that were all scratched up from cars hitting them. This actually does make sense, until you see that to get to their ‘outdoor dining area’ you have to cross over the drive through. Protect the bikers but let the pedestrians get hit by exiting cars? It doesn’t add up.

    If I can get pulled over and arrested for DWI on my bicycle, you better bet I am going to enjoy the same rights as a motorized vehicle when I want to grab some grub.

  29. Jennie says:

    KFC served me last night on my bicycle so good on them. Having received such great service from KFC I was very disappointed at McD’s short sighted attitude today.

    Vote with your feet and buoycott McD Full Stop!

  30. tony says:

    Letter and experience woth Mcdonalds:
    Went though the drive thru with my motorized electric bike. Tryed to order food & was told only cars can buy food through the drive-thru. I then asked, ok what about motorcycles, they said motorcycles can as well. So i guess since my bike is electric and dont burn fossil fuel, im not allowed to use your drive thru. I would have no problem with that except for the fact im not gonna leave a $3000.00 bike outside to go in and order. I just find this to be discrimination if this is truely your policy.

    Their reply:
    Thank you for sharing your comments with McDonald’s regarding your recent visit to McDonald’s located at 1814 Central Ave, Albany.

    First, I apologize that you were disappointed in your experience. It is our hope that all customers have a pleasant experience each and every time they visit.

    However, the information you received from the store was correct. It is McDonald’s policy to only allow state registered motor vehicles in our drive-thru. This is NOT an issue of discrimination; rather it is a matter of safety. Clearly, as I am sure you have noticed, the vast majority of our customers who use the drive thru are in four-wheeled vehicles. So as a matter of safety to our customers, we do not allow people to use our drive-thru who 1) walk up to the window 2) who are on bicycles 3) who are on other two-wheeled cycles.

    So i guess its more of a fact of if the state gets a registration fee.

    Again, I apologize for your disappointment.

  31. Big Boy says:

    You’re all a bunch of idiots. If this is all you have to comment on, get a life and stop wasting it on bull shit. There are clear safety concerns surrounding this policy, for both you the customer and staff. Don’t you think if McDonalds was able to get a few extra bucks in the till they would. Drive Thru’s are clearly defined as such, for motorised vehicles, not idiots on foot, bike, horseback or any other form of transport. Next you’ll be asking why can’t you ride your bike into the dining room and be served at the front counter.

    And to the clown above, if you choose to ride a $3000 bike, thats your choice. I bet you don’t try and ride it around your local supermarket when shopping for groceries, so why would you expect to ride it through a DT.

  32. Don says:

    …just what part of the term "drive-thru" does your bird brain not understand?

  33. joe says:

    i went through tim hortons on an e-bike made my order got to the window and the manager came and said i had to pay inside

  34. Marcus101RR says:

    Honestly, i tried this with a Bike and Walk. No success, whoever says or came up with the rule that its the safety of Customers or Clerks is wrong. Absolutely Wrong. Anything can happen, the next customer could be on a motorcycle or in a car with a hand-ready handgun and put a heist on the cashier, so clearly this was not well thought out. The likely-hood is low, but nonetheless, it still involves risk.

    It was done for these reasons:
    1. To piss off sad and unfortunate souls who crave something fast past midnight and can walk or bike to Burger King or McDonalds without wasting gas money.
    2. To control and annoy unfortunate customers.

    Now for the cons:
    The Cashier/Workers at past midnight do nothing else in the restaurant except fool around (true story). Stood there for 5 minutes watching them splash water or push around wheels on the floor waiting to get my order, only to realize "No Car, no service" WTF? Might as well say "No Black People, no Service".

    Someone should take this to court

  35. qpzmrtyu says:

    As a dt worker i want all of you to shut the hell up about the bike thing and the walkup thing u see i was shot twice by a walk up customer who cut in line at 2 in the morning he was mad that he hadnt been served the morning before while walking he thought i was the employee that refused him so from that point on if you walk to my window i dont even acknowledge youStarve for all i care

  36. goolag says:

    agreed that it seems unfair and inconvenient; I have been frustrated that I can’t stop at my bank while walking my dog or while riding my bike–can’t go in with bike or dog and can’t go thru drive thru. I am wondering if the difference btwn bike and motor bike is that they have a license number to report if they are assaulted

  37. Bike Rider says:

    If you want a license plate, then start regulating bicycles like other vehicles on the road. Have a license and registration and such.

  38. Not 24 Hours says:

    …So. I went to my local mc donalds at 1am hungry to find that the door was locked…Surely this was a mistake..? So I went to the other door. No such luck. Then, I had to go through the drive through..And got my answer. They close their doors at 12am, and also don’t accept pedestrians through the drive thru.

    Something tells me that they should change their misleading ’24/7 mcdonalds’ sign, and change it to ’12/7 mcdonalds for pedestrians’ ’24/7 mcdonalds drive thru’ or something like that…How contradictory. They shouldn’t have a 24/7 sign if it isn’t 24/7 for all. They need a sign saying ’12/7′ too because that’s what it is. annoying.

  39. E-bike rider in brantford ontario says:

    Hello i am a E-bike rider in Brantford Ontario Canada i was hoping some one could shine some light on my issue please earlier today i went to a Tim Horton’s drive thru on king gorge road in Brantford as i pulled up to the speaker to place my order the lady on the mic said you are not allowed to use thru drive thru you have to park in come in the store front so puzzled i replied okay i turned around and left i went to another Tim Horton’s location and they took my order and served me at the drive thru like a regular customer my question is why did one Tim Horton’s say i was not allowed to use the drive thru but another Tim Horton’s took my order and served me like a regular customer

  40. I-Zip Rider says:

    Totally shut down at Wisconsin McDonalds for riding my E-3 Dash through the drive-thru at drive-thru only hours. I am well informed of WI law about the bike and push the 750 watt 20 mile an hour limit for trail riding. When I informed the attendant at the intercom that I was on an electric bike he said, "let me hear the motor". I pulled the throttle and skidded the wheel on the pavement and he then said that I was faking that. I told him I would pull around and show him at the window, but had the window slammed in my face. My guess is that they would serve a gas powered bicycle weather it had WI plates or not. If you ask me, that would be more dangerous, and I really doubt that McDonalds could prove that E-bikes break their policy. In order to do so, there would have to be a listing within their policy of E-bike specifications, similar to the state’s trail and road policies. I don’t normally eat there, but my friend who was riding a regular bicycle didn’t want to pedal all the way to George Webb’s. I should also add that I was the only customer in line with my friend waiting off to the side. My final question would be, if they would serve a customer on an electric powered scooter, then what part of their policy would determine the the refusal of an E-assist?

  41. AnnaBanana says:

    Head over to Fast Eddie’s instead. They specifically have walk-up windows for pedestrians and cyclists, and have had for the last 30yrs at every location. Fast Eddie’s gets it. Tim Hortons has burgers now too and they’re 24hrs. It’s not a "Big Mac" but it’s proper service for those who don’t own a motorized vehicle.

    @ McDonald’s
    It would take a very small redesign to set up setting on the drive thru windows that only opens halfway to serve anyone not in a motorized vehicle. Keeps your staff safe regardless of who comes thru.

    The world is becoming more eco-conscious, and antiquated policies about having to be in an enclosed motorized vehicle but not providing save spaces to lock up non-motorized vehicles. Cyclists & eBike riders don’t want their mode of transportation stolen, which is why most people with them use the drive thru.

    Things to consider

  42. Lee says:

    I’m an avid cyclist from Canada, and use my mountain bike all year around, but I’d have to agree with Ken and all (anti-no bike drive thru) so stupid, especially during covid when everything closed early, or for the people who get off of work late. It’s a major discrimination problem, and I think they should make walk/bike thrus. What about E-bikes, and scooters? Technically they have motors, or are they discriminated against too because they don’t have fuel in the motors?

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