Chicago Department of Transportation

Chicago is Giving Away 5,000 Free Bikes Through 2026. Here's How to Get One

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A 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 said Monday.

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."

“Every resident in our city deserves equitable access to safe, reliable, and affordable clean transportation options,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

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

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 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.

How to apply

Paper and online applications will be available starting July 18 on this page. Applications close Aug. 4.

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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