By Alex Ballinger published
Costa Coffee has been forced to explain why cyclists are forbidden from using drive-through lanes.
The coffee shop chain begins to partially re-open stores across the country, but many locations are offering drive-through only service, with some cyclists turning up to get their caffeine fix only to be turned away.
After being asked on Twitter why cyclists aren’t allowed to use the Costa drive-through, the company has been forced to explain the policy.
A member of the social media team has also apologised repeatedly after saying the reason was because cyclists aren’t “taxed or insured to be on the road.”
Coffee giant Costa re-opened a further 181 stores on Thursday (June 4) after the coronavirus lockdown, bringing the total number of open branches to 501.
The debate was sparked after a Twitter user said: “What does Costa Coffee have against cyclists? Apparently it’s health and safety. I can’t get a coffee drive-through on a bicycle even if I put the coffees in my basket.”
Costa’s official Twitter account responded to the query, saying: “Due to strict health and safety guidelines, our teams will not serve any customer that is not in a vehicle when passing through one of our drive-through lanes.
“Apologises for any disappointment caused.”
When asked the reason for the policy, another member of the Costa social media team said “You’re not taxed or insured to be on the road,” prompting a backlash from cyclists.
The Costa worker who wrote the tweet has admitted he was wrong and has apologised on multiple occasions.
British Cycling tweeted: “To be clear for anyone following this conversation, there has been no such thing as road tax in the UK since 1937. Drivers - of which many are cyclists too - pay Vehicle Excise Duty based on their emissions. All our members are insured.”
Chris Boardman added: “Hoping to see an official apology from Costa Coffee.
“And hopefully confirmation they welcome all ‘vehicles’ at their drive-through windows.”
“What responsible company claiming to ‘look after the world we live in’ wouldn’t?”
After repeated requests from cyclists, Costa has offered a number of explanations as to why riders aren’t allowed in the drive-through lane.
Costa said in a tweet: “Health and safety to people in the lane is the main reason. Costa’s drive-through lanes are also designed for motor vehicles and are not designed operationally (e.g the order speaker is only triggered by a motor vehicle pulling up).”
In another tweet, Costa said: “Due to strict health and safety guidelines, our teams will not serve any customer that is not in a vehicle when passing through one of our drive-through lanes.
“We can only allow road worthy, taxed and insured vehicles through the lane to meet relevant insurance requirements.”
Cycling Weekly has approached Costa Coffee for a more clear explanation of the policy, but has yet to receive a response.
Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.
Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.
Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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