What grinds my gears – drive-throughs


SLt M.X. Déry, Contributor ~

A story ran in a local paper a few weeks back about a Saanich resident riding her bicycle through a Tim Hortons drive-through and being refused service. My first thought when I read the headline was to dismiss it as just a weird B.C. thing, but the more I thought about it, the more I agreed they should have served her.

First off, because a bicycle is a vehicle.

Under the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA), which is where all the rules on cycling are, a bicycle is a vehicle. It is unique in sometimes having its own lane, but as far as the road goes, it is the same as a scooter, car, or truck.

This surprises many when I complain openly to them about poor cyclists who ignore traffic signs and/or seem to think they are entitled to the right of way at intersections. Crosswalks are for pedestrians not timid cyclists who insist on staying atop their vehicles.

While I concede the rider could have parked her bicycle and walked into the coffee shop, there are two issues: first, that’s the purpose of the drive-through, to avoid getting out of your vehicle, and second, let’s all just admit there is not enough quality bicycle parking in Greater Victoria.

For all the talk of Greater Victoria improving life for cyclists, the main upgrades have all been in the core, with very little around the rest of the city. There are no bike lanes for my entire ride to and from work. Most bicycle racks have a miniscule amount of available spots and space, making a bicycle jut out into pedestrian traffic.

The response from the business on this incident is they only accept vehicles insured under the MVA, which is a laughable distinction since drive-throughs don’t verify your car is insured before they take your order.

They do have a point that bicycles can’t be insured in B.C. under the MVA. While I wish it would remain optional, I believe cyclists should be able to insure their vehicle. Cyclists have accidents too, hit other vehicles, are hit by other vehicles, and have their bikes stolen. What if I burn a stop sign and slam into the side of your car? Why can’t you recover damages through ICBC and my premiums increase?

It is a broader question than the one at issue, but it is a valid point of discussion. If we are to treat bicycles as vehicles, perhaps it is time to require registration and optional insurance.

Lastly, Greater Victoria prides itself on taking a firm stance on climate change and pushing for an active lifestyle. It would seem the city should encourage local businesses to cater more to cyclists.

Even if businesses did allow cyclists to go through their drive-throughs, let’s all agree that you won’t suddenly see hundreds of cyclists using it, but it is a simple symbolic gesture.

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