California law considers people on bikes "drivers". Yet the operators of such vehicles are too often impeded from "filling the tank" by businesses that refuse their basic right to purchase food and/or drink via the convenient "drive-thru".
How has this form of systemic discrimination against people on bikes impacted our region? The list is long, and includes lost productivity when people on bikes are forced to unnecessarily lock their bikes or ride on an empty stomach, loss of sales revenue by local businesses, lower bike modal share due to the continued existence of unnecessary barriers to active transportation, as well as night hunger pangs.
The stories of local residents personally affected by this issue are even more compelling. Take the case of Jeff Lam, a 17 year old Temple City high school student who commutes by bike to school, had his bike stolen after being refused the right to use a drive-thru. "Bonking" on his ride home after a long day at school and frisbee practice, Jeff was refused service by a national chain that rhymes with Kurger Bing. Faced with two bad choices - ride on slowly and painfully or lock his bike in a high-risk area, he chose the latter only to find his bike stolen a scant 15 minutes later. For a student of modest means it was a major setback, and more importantly one that could have been easily prevented.
Ruby Rosenschnell of La Verne didn't have a choice. After working the night shift, her local fast food options only had open drive-thru service. But each refused to sell to anyone not in an automobile. "It's hard to believe that in the 21st century I have to be in a car to buy a milkshake at 2:30am. It's not right. And it just doesn't make sense."
With the number of people on bikes in the SGV exploding, and the number of incidents where people on bikes are deprived of their constitutional right to purchase food as quickly and efficiently as possible rising, the time has come to take on this injustice. No longer shall the lack of a bicycle lock or friend who can watch your bike impede your ability to purchase food on-the-go via the drive-thru.
BikeSGV is thus pleased to announce it has launched a campaign to advocate for first-in-the-nation legislation to provide people on bikes equal access to drive-thru lanes in California. You can support this effort by emailing your local legislator and urging them to sign on to this campaign. You can also help spread the word by sharing this link and/or pictures of bikes in drive-thru lanes with the hashtag #BikeThruCA.
Want to learn more? Check out ActiveSGV's new podcast, ActiveLab