|A bike parked on a street sign outside the McDonalds on Milltown Road in North Brunswick, NJ.|
Knowing that a number of their employees rely on a bike to get to work everyday, one would think that these fast food restaurants would provided some official organized bicycle parking that preferably meets the basic APBP bike parking standards. Unfortunately this is almost always not the case and the sight of bikes parked to whatever the owner can find is common sight not only in New Jersey but at most fast food and chain sit-down restaurants all across the country.
And given no official bike parking and left with few other options, owners will often lock their bikes to trees. Chaining a bike to a tree will damage the bark and eventually kill the tree. Trees are expensive to replace if they are replaced at all, so the landscaping at the restaurant sites is often left permanently damaged and never given a chance to mature.
|This tree shows clear signs of structural damage which was likely caused by bike parking.|
So this is why we ask, "What would it say to America if McDonalds became 'Bike Friendly'?" We are not picking on McDonalds. Far from it! We focus on McDonalds because they are clearly the industry leader and we respect them for that. If McDonalds makes the move to standardize bike parking for their employees and guests, WalkBikeJersey believes that it would send a message across the entire restaurant industry. Their engineering consultants that do their local site plans would also be educated about proper bike parking design and hopefully the message would get out to the towns that do the site plan review and then possibly even to McDonalds' competition. There is clearly the potential for a positive feedback loop here.
Also, McDonalds is known for remodeling their restaurants at regular intervals. Both McDonalds featured in this story were entirely remodeled inside and out within the past 2 years and the North Brunswick location has been remodeled 3 times in the past 15 years. Their frequent remodeling schedule would allow them quickly implement universal APBP compliant bike parking at large portion of their restaurants.
|This APBP non-compliant "wave rack" located at the Somerville NJ McDonalds |
was far from the door and not immediately visible. It was also located too close to
the bushes seen here to be used properly or easily.
Some locations like the Somerville McDonalds have tried to do bike parking but didn't get the details quite right. This is a good sign but just the beginning. We hope McDonalds takes the lead here because not only would good bike parking be good for their employees but it would prevent damage to their landscape trees, limit liability when bikes are haphazardly park to signs and it would be good costumer service as well. And if McDonalds is smart, and we know they are, they could turn this into a great public relations opportunity.
Now if we could only get them to turn the "drive-up window" into a "walk-up window." We can dream, no?