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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.