Cyclist says he was refused drive-thru at Costa Coffee – due to company policy ‘not to serve people on bikes’
A cyclist claimed he was refused service at a Costa drive-thru – when the store itself was closed due to the illness of several employees – because the company’s policy is ‘not to serve people on bicycles.
Liam, a cyclist from Aberdeen, says he was told by a cafe chain employee that bicycles were not allowed in the passing lane as they are ‘not legal, taxed or insured’. In protest, the cyclist then blocked the drive-in, prompting Costa employees to call the police.
While many restaurant and cafe chains have a no-bike policy in their drive-thru (usually for health and safety reasons), Costa’s refusal to serve Liam, which he has since shared on social media social media, was described by some Twitter users as “absolutely disgraceful”, although others described the cyclist as a “flagship”.
— Liam (@howsmydrive28) June 24, 2022
The incident happened on Friday evening, on the corner of Wellington Road and Abbotswell Road in Aberdeen, as Liam visited Costa while shopping.
Leaving his bike in the racks provided – which he says are only accessible by riding down part of the passing lane – Liam approached the store to find that due to a lack of staff due to illness, Costa operated a walk-through-only service, with the sign on the door saying, “You will only be served if you are in a vehicle.”
“I then hopped on the bike and rode to the order point where I was greeted with a cheery hello,” he told road.cc.
After submitting his order, Liam approached the collection window, where he says he could see the employee’s “falling face”.
“She then came up to the window and said they weren’t serving me as it was company policy not to serve people on bikes – exact words.”
According to Liam, another member of staff arrived and politely apologised, before insisting they had to follow Costa’s instructions, “because a car could come up behind and hit you”.
The cyclist – wary of motorists being asked to pass him – then moved his bike to the middle of the lane, blocking traffic.
“That’s when things got a little absurd,” he says. “She told me that bicycles are not allowed because they are not road legal vehicles and because they are not taxed or insured”.
> Costa Coffee offers a bizarre excuse to refuse to serve people on bikes while driving (then backtracks, but you still can’t get coffee)
The staff member’s explanation for refusing to serve people on bikes echoes the excuse used by Costa’s social media administrator in 2020 when asked about company policy.
The admin claimed the chain ‘can only allow road worthy, taxed and insured vehicles through the lane’, and told a cyclist they couldn’t use the drive-thru because ‘you are not taxed or insured to be on the road”.
He then quickly backtracked on the tax and insurance comment, but argued that cyclists were not allowed for health and safety reasons.
Liam’s long protest brought the drive-thru system to a halt and prompted a visit from police, who he said called him ‘pathetic’ and a ‘loser’ with ‘nothing better to do on Friday night “.
“The cops said ‘if we came by bike they’d turn us away too and that’s it,'” Liam said.
I bet they would serve a police cyclist in uniform… 🤔 I can understand the health and safety implications of having pedestrians standing in the road with vehicles, but as bicycles and motor vehicles use the same roads all the time, it seems a bit weird, strange the risk assessment.
—Mark Hodson (@markandcharlie) June 25, 2022
The cyclist also claimed that, to cope with the disruption and continue to serve customers, Costa staff were taking orders and receiving payment in cars from motorists.
“If they had really suggested this to me, I would have done it,” he says.
“They categorically refused to serve me but yet they bent over backwards to facilitate those arriving by car.”
A Costa spokesperson told road.cc the company is looking into the incident. We’ll update this story when we have more information.