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I stopped by the Walgreen's Pharmacy at Western, Milwaukee and Armitage on my way home from work today to pick up a prescription. I decided to go through the drive-thru, because the process of taking off and putting on my gloves, goggles, balaclavas, and helmet, then taking my lock out of my paniers, locking up my bike, followed by removing and carrying both of my panniers into Walgreens, for a quick pickup seemed asinine. I waited for about five minutes and the car in front of me stuck his head of the window to tell me that the cashier wanted asked him to let me know that they can not help bicyclists. So I went home. I called and spoke with the pharmacists who said that it is a safety issue, because another car can pull up, not see the cyclist and hit them. She apologized and stated that in this weather they should certainly make exceptions.

Regardless to the weather outside, I think its unfair that cyclists can not use the drive-thru. Anyone have similar experience or know of a place that has good drive-thru bicycle service?

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The other safety reason is because of armed robbery. I doubt you can find bike drive through. Maybe you can get them home delivered?

If that had happened to me I would have just walked my bike into the pharmacy with me. I often do this anyway at my local Walgreen's, and not only do they not ask me to leave it outside, I have on one occasion had an employee offer to put my bike in an out-of-the-way location inside for me while I take care of business.

Disappointing, sorry that happened.

Most fast foods have similar policies and it's very rare to get them to waver-- although we went through a bunch of drive-throughs on a Critical Mass ride (November 2003 maybe?) and people were actually served at one place that had a recent history of refusing cyclists.

I also vaguely recall that Chase (most likely Bank One at the time) was refusing cyclists at the drive-up and reversed their policy  (our advocacy org may have helped with that, a little fuzzy on the memory here.)

Both my bank and credit union in Chicago Heights serve bicyclists at drive up windows. A bank in Urbana has a big Bikes May Use Lane sign over one of their drive up lanes.


This lady got a company to change it's policy:

A group of friends and I attempted this when were 12 or so at a DQ, they served us that one time but said not to do I again.

Looks like this was a big issue recently in Portland:

And that cyclists ended up welcomed city-wide:

I sent an email to the guy that dealt with Portland letting him know this situation exists here as well and asked him to respond.

This has been a problem for years.  Here's an email I received from McDonald's USA on 7/21/2010, after being ignored at the drive-through at Clark & Touhy:

Hello Tom:

Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald's.

We apologize for your disappointment on a recent visit to McDonald's. You may be interested to know that McDonald's values the safety of our customers. As such, for safety reasons, McDonald's policy states that customers who walk up or arrive on bicycles to the Drive-thru windows should not be served at the windows. This policy also applies to those customers who operate motorized wheelchairs or non-licensed motorized vehicles. During hours when the front counter is open, we would welcome the customer inside to have his or her order taken at the front counter.

We hope this information has been helpful. Again, thank you for contacting McDonald's. We hope to have the opportunity of serving you again soon under the Golden Arches.

McDonald's Customer Response Center



Please do not "reply" to this email response. No "replies" can be received through this mailbox. If you wish to contact McDonald's Customer Response Center again, please visit our website at


You wrote:

I'm curious to know if I can order at the drive-thru while on my bicycle.  Last evening, I was out on my bike and I wanted a snack at a McDonald's on north Clark Street in Chicago.  I hadn't thought to bring my bike lock with me, so my two options were to either bring the bicycle into the restaurant with me, which I figured no one would appreciate, or use the drive-thru.  I rode up to the drive-thru menu board and waited patiently several minutes, but got no response from the order-taker.  While waiting, a very impatient woman in a car behind me began screaming insults and cursing like a drunken sailor at me for being in the drive-thru, so, figuring my safety was compromised by having an insane patron behind me, I simply rode away from the restaurant without ordering my snack.  Now, the road raging patron who threatened me was definitely not McDonald's problem, but I got to wondering if maybe she was correct.  Is my bike too light a vehicle to trigger the "I'm here!" signal to the order-taker inside?  I thought at the very least, I'd be visible in the drive-thru camera.  Or are bikes prohibited in the drive-thru and the order-taker was simply waiting for me to go away?  Next time, should I simply ride up to the drive-thru window and order face-to-face--though I would think this would slow down the drive-through operation, as they wouldn't be able to begin assembling the order until I had appeared at the pick-up window.  Any suggestions for me?

They use insurance as an excuse. I've had luck at some places and turned away from others.   Can't remember, it's been awhile. 

Petition time?

All I know for sure is that Wendy's won't let you buy a Frosty via the drive through even when it's 90 degrees out. 

PNC doesn't allow you to bike thru the drive thru for service either. It's a pretty big ordeal to unload two kids and lock up a cargo bike just to make a business transaction but they cite insurance as the reason. There is a walk up window that can be used at the one on Fullerton but it is only open when the actual building is not.

You can walk your bike into the Walgreens at Armitage and Milwaukee.

The party line at North Community Bank is no bikes in the drive thru lane, though some of the tellers who know me will accommodate my insurance liability breach at the Ogden and Grand branch.

No bicycles or roller blades allowed at Charter One or White Castle, but motorcycles are allowed at both. They both cite insurance as the reason. I'm not sure there is any statistical evidence to show increased risk of harm from allowing bicycles, roller blades, or pedestrians for that matter. I suspect it was just someone's dumb idea and everyone simply followed like lemmings going over a cliff. None of these drive throughs are really what I would consider to be high speed traffic lanes, certainly not the White Castle. At least now that the White Castle counter is no longer 24 hours by my house (only the drive thru is 24 hours) I no longer eat White Castle "food" ever. My body thanks me especially the next day, but they are missing out on my money. That said, this really needs to change or they need to add a service window for non-motorized traffic complete with a real protected lane, think "separate but equal" (note my bitter sarcasm).


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