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Fast food chain cites health & safety - but customer certainly isn't lovin' it ...

A cyclist who was refused service at a McDonald’s drive thru has taken on the burger giant, demanding to know why staff wouldn’t serve him.

Alistair Thompson, a councillor on Portsmouth City Council, was out riding with his four-year-old son when he decided to pop into the drive thru at the Pompey Centre for a happy meal.

He told the Portsmouth News that having placed his order at the speaker, he was told he couldn’t pay for his order at the next window.

Even when the driver of a car in front offered to pick up his meal for him, the member of staff serving wouldn’t allow it. He added that as there are cycle lanes in the area, including towards the restaurant, it seemed counter-intuitive to ban cyclists from the drive thru.

"I got to the pay window and I was told 'you can’t stay here,'" he said.

"I had been queuing just like everyone else. The worker was a jobsworth. A woman in the car in front said she would buy the Happy Meal for me but the worker said “no, you can’t do that”. It was complete nonsense.

"I was told I had to park up and pay in the branch.

"I have written to McDonald’s headquarters and I am awaiting a response. I wouldn’t have minded so much if the food was for me, but it was a treat. It was the attitude which I didn’t like."

He said that he wasn’t able to park and go inside, because the trailer on his bike would have blocked traffic.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: ‘McDonald’s supports the health and environmental benefits of cycling. However it is our policy not to serve cyclists through the drive-through lane.

‘The Highway Code, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and our own hygiene and safety department were consulted when forming this policy.’

The incident comes a few weeks after a woman was fined after taking her horse into a McDonald's restaurant in Greater Manchester.

She was refused service in the drive thru in Whitefield, so led the animal into the main restaurant where it defacated on the floor.

A statement posted on the Facebook page of Greater Manchester Police's Whitefield Division read: "The staff refused to serve the women due to company policy.

"The woman then took the horse into the restaurant, who ended up doing his business on the floor. The sight and smell of this caused obvious distress and upset to customers trying to eat, as well as staff members."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

71 comments

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zeb [49 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyway, the "health and environmental benefits of cycling" are largely offset by the simple act of eating at McDo.

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Dr. Ko [192 posts] 3 years ago
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At least they have clean toilets, this Bank holiday I ended up in the City (around Bank), McD being the only open option. Ordered a tea, used the toilet, nipped the tea - bitter as do not actually prepare your tea but rather take a cup, hang in a bag, add hot water, close lid.  2

Better should have crossed Tower Bridge for a tea at Teapod Design museum!

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deadlyhifi [7 posts] 3 years ago
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I'd give a shit but describing McD as food is somewhat debatable. And attempting to poison a 4 year old with it...  39

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jackh [121 posts] 3 years ago
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Laughable "health & safety" excuses...

I wish companies would stop giving H&S a bad name, because it has saved countless lives particularly on building sites and in industrial work, with there "we don't like it so we'll just say its H&S" jobsworth excuses...

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AndrewRH [56 posts] 3 years ago
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I ask McDonald's too. Their reply is on the SpaceForCycling website...
http://spaceforcycling.org/2013/07/24/mcdonalds-drive-thru-not-open-to-p...

I had an encouraging reply back from CEO of Costa Coffee who are installing a drive thru in Basingstoke, so would be interested to hear confirmation from people there if they serve to people on bicycles.

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giff77 [1256 posts] 3 years ago
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I had this on way home from work after night shift and was refused at the window. The jobsworth then wouldn't let me in with the bike. I shouted the order over from the door. The guy then had to walk over for the money. Return with the change. Then had to walk back for the order. I then sent him back for more condiments. My parting shot was didn't he now wish he did it the easy way  19
Ironically the same drive through has a line of drunken pedestrians at 2am in the morning at the hatch. A greater risk than a sober cyclist I would have thought.

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localsurfer [202 posts] 3 years ago
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I used to do this all the time, with no problems. Even saw someone do it on a horse once.

Bit weird to not allow it.

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Nick T [951 posts] 3 years ago
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I wouldn't fancy my chances on a bike lining up alongside the type of people who frequent a McDonald's drive thru.

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andyp [1460 posts] 3 years ago
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'I'd give a shit but describing McD as food is somewhat debatable.'

Sadly not everyone can afford swan.

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mattsr [16 posts] 3 years ago
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There's nothing wrong with a Maccy Dee's oocasionally. Snobs.

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Gkam84 [9090 posts] 3 years ago
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I've been served on a drive thru on my trike, I just blagged it and said I couldn't get off as my wheelchair was in the car miles away, unless they would help me turn the trike after I cycled into the outlet, they would be better serving me at the drive thru.....(p.s. I don't have a wheelchair and can get out of my trike unaided most of the time)

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Cantab [95 posts] 3 years ago
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AndrewRH wrote:

I ask McDonald's too. Their reply is on the SpaceForCycling website...
http://spaceforcycling.org/2013/07/24/mcdonalds-drive-thru-not-open-to-p...

I had an encouraging reply back from CEO of Costa Coffee who are installing a drive thru in Basingstoke, so would be interested to hear confirmation from people there if they serve to people on bicycles.

Have you got some kind of cup holder on your handlebars? And hopefully a very secure lid on your cup too, because otherwise I can foresee a very unfortunate meeting between some hot coffee and lycra clad skin  13

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chokofingrz [407 posts] 3 years ago
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If life gives you lemons... make a packed lunch.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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McDonald's - the Evans Cycles of fast food?

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fatty [77 posts] 3 years ago
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"...the food was a treat".

A treat?? Eh?? What the hell does that kid (assuming that's who it was for) have to endure when he has done something bad?!

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zeb [49 posts] 3 years ago
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andyp wrote:

'I'd give a shit but describing McD as food is somewhat debatable.'

Sadly not everyone can afford swan.

No,neither caviar. But want a cheap snack or a "ready meal"? Eat an egg with bread. Or make a soup (2 leeks, 2 potatoes). At least it is healthy, delicious and no more work than having to heat up a ready meal full of palm oil and fructose syrup.

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Angelfishsolo [134 posts] 3 years ago
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I value my body too much to poison it with a Mc D.

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forgetmeyes [2 posts] 3 years ago
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Well, Macdonald's TV ad in Singapore shows that drive-thru order is possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svc1zpblGI0

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bendertherobot [1147 posts] 3 years ago
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Ignoring the health debate for now.

The policy is rubbish. To be refused service you must enter and queue in the lane. By the time you are refused you are already in a dangerous place according to mcd's. if they want to implement the policy then they should man the entrance.

The policy doesn't apply to motorbikes, of course........

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eurotrash [88 posts] 3 years ago
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McD is expensive if you consider you could cook a decent meal for the same price (and much healthier... and yummier cause McD is pretty crap tasting). But that's neither here nor there. McD's stated policy, back when there was that thing with the horse rider, is that they don't serve horse riders or cyclists in the drive through. So why the big deal? If it's against their policy rather than a spur of the moment decision by a burger flipper, then stop acting like you're the injured party. Really a non story.

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cidermart [489 posts] 3 years ago
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I have been refused on a motorbike as they couldn't hear me apparently? They did hear what I next called them though funny that  4 .

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ch [188 posts] 3 years ago
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Jack in the Box refused me, but Taco Bell said OK. Last night I took my bike inside Jack in the Box and they didn't throw me out (the bike is trained not to defacate in public restaurants). $3 for a Waffle Sandwich which was no more than 4 or 5 man bites but packed 470 calories. As it was the only "meal" in a 306km ride with 5576m of climbing, I think the bad stuff was probably burned up.

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iainecg [9 posts] 3 years ago
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McD's are worried that motorists might not see a cyclist or horse rider at the drive-thru. You mean that someone too busy scoffing chips/burger, juggling drinks and change as they drive off might not be in safe control of a tonne or more of metal, well unless there's a horse around no sh*t sherlock! Talk about missing a trick - a quick ride through for coffee on a club run perhaps? Even Pickles seems to realise it's safer for motorists to get out of their tin boxes to buy things!

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I love cycling [1 post] 3 years ago
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The HSE do a daily web update of stupid health and safety excuses. I've used the McD's drive thru in Sandbach on quite a few occasions for coffee and cola (and maybe the odd burger) when I've been on a long one over that way.

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downfader [203 posts] 3 years ago
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I think the HSE should close down MaccyDs for being a breach of health and safety!! LOL!  21

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4ChordsNoNet [15 posts] 3 years ago
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On Saturday evening (31st August 2013) I went into the drive through on the A23 in Waddon, next to Pets at Home. I was followed by three girls walking through it.

They were served and I watched them pay for and then collect their food from the window.

Why can pedestrians walk through, but cyclists are not allowed to cycle through?

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Simon E [2778 posts] 3 years ago
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You are what you eat. McD is junk.

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mattsr [16 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm so annoyed by the food snobbery displayed in these comments that I'm off out tomorrow for a McDonalds. Yummy!

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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andyp wrote:

'I'd give a shit but describing McD as food is somewhat debatable.'

Sadly not everyone can afford swan.

Swan! Sounds delicious. I'm still waiting for the larks' tongue McFlurry.

I used to work in McDonalds and, to be fair, the food really is crap. Would not be cheap (for what it is) at half the price. It is beef in a legal sense (as in it was once cow), but not in any good butcher's definition of the word. They were impeccably clean in my branch though (Bradford city centre, if you're interested - look for the Blue Plaque outside saying 'Ghedebrav worked here for a bit when he was skint'), so I'll give them that.

Subway are better. Healthier options and (selfishly, for me) better for vegetarians. Never driven through one on a bike though  22

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Al__S [1053 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder what they saw in the Highway Code that was in any way relevent to this?

Anyway, if they're going to have such a policy, they need to have clear signs at the entrance to the lane. Being told it is "against policy" when you reach the pay window is ridiculous- as they've already let you get into a position that apparently their own policy says is dangerous.

(would always avoid such places myself, but for the purposes of this discussion the nutritional or otherwise delights of their food is rather moot)

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