Chicago Department of Transportation

Applications to Get a Free Bike From the City of Chicago Close Thursday. Here's How to Apply

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If you're in the market for a new bike, you may be able to get 1 of 5,000 free bikes Chicago is giving away -- but that's only if you get your application in before the deadline closes.

The new program, called Bike Chicago, will provide 5,000 free bicycles, as well as "maintenance and safety equipment" to Chicagoans by 2026, a press release from the Chicago Department of Transportation stated last month.

The program is part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's $188 million Chicago Recovery Plan, in conjunction with the city's goal to "increase affordable and climate friendly mobility options."

The program is set to begin this summer with the distributing at least 500 bikes to eligible residents. It will gradually increase distribution until 5,000 bikes have been provided, the city said.

Applications for the program close Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Here's how to apply.

In order to be eligible to apply for a bike, applicants must:

  • Be a Chicago resident
  • Be at least 14 years old
  • Have a household income at or below 100% of the Area Median Income for Chicago (for instance, under $104,200 for a family of 4)
  • Not already own a bicycle
  • Live in an area that faces higher mobility hardship (see this map for more)

Those under 18 will need a guardian present when picking up the bike and equipment.

Deadline to apply

Paper and online applications opened July 18 on this page. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4 in order to be considered.

When will bikes be distributed?

According to the CDOT, bikes for qualifying residents will begin to be distributed in August 2022. The will continue to be distributed each spring and summer of the following four years until 5,000 bikes are distributed.

Depending on demand, the city may implement a lottery for years 2-4 of the program for residents that qualify.

Here's more information.

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