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Ask BikePortland: How can I get a COVID-19 take a look at if I do not drive?


With the enormous nationwide and native spike in Covid circumstances because of the omicron variant, testing demand has skyrocketed, and suppliers can’t sustain. At-home assessments are scarce, and for those who can handle to safe an appointment at one in every of Portland’s testing websites, you may stumble upon an unrelated drawback: navigating a drive-thru testing middle and not using a automobile.

So it begs the query: What’s the take care of utilizing a motorbike at a Covid testing drive-thru website?

Hau Hagedorn, affiliate director of the Transportation Analysis and Training Middle (TREC) at Portland State College and a motorbike advocate, tweeted about her qualms with a Portland Kaiser Permanente Covid “drive up” testing website, and I reached out to study extra.

“The belief is that everyone who involves get a take a look at has entry to a car, and that’s not the case,” Hagedorn tells me.

This specific testing location is correct by a MAX cease, making it an incredible location for individuals who use public transit — till they rise up to the door and see the drive-up signal.

Hagedorn was capable of get examined through bike, but it surely was obvious that that was uncommon to the individuals working on the website.

“As a result of these institutions or providers are designed to help individuals in a sure means, when individuals do one thing that’s outdoors the norm, the parents which can be there to serve you aren’t fairly positive how you can take care of it,” Hagedorn says.

I’ve been to plenty of completely different Covid testing websites that deal with this concern in numerous methods. At Walgreens, the place I’ve been examined a number of instances, it appears to be required to drive via to the pharmacy window (I feel it’s as much as the person retailer’s discretion whether or not or not somebody who isn’t in a automobile will be capable to get examined).

However different locations are extra pleasant to individuals on foot or bike. Driving 4 blocks to the ZoomCare clinic on Hawthorne Blvd to get examined in my automobile would’ve been ridiculous, so fortunately the suppliers didn’t bat an eyelid after I walked up. The Healing free testing website at Rose Metropolis Futsal in Northeast Portland is about up in an out of doors cell clinic the place individuals wait in line standing outdoors, and I noticed somebody with a motorbike stroll up.

When Burgerville began permitting bikes to hitch the ‘drive-thru’ line in 2009, biking advocates throughout the Pacific Northwest noticed a imaginative and prescient of a world the place automobile possession isn’t taken as a right. In 2018, it grew to become enshrined in Portland Metropolis Code that drive-thrus should accommodate biking prospects.

So the reply to the query is: Your mileage might fluctuate. Like many issues bike riders face, it should usually be as much as every particular person particular person to advocate for themselves — and in so doing, hopefully extra care suppliers create processes that don’t assume everybody drives a automobile.

Have you ever tried getting examined for Covid and not using a automobile? Have you ever been turned away or welcomed? How do you assume we will flip the tide much more to normalize ‘bike-thrus’?

Get extra of your burning questions answered in our Ask BikePortland archives.