CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) today announced the launch of Bike Chicago, a new program that will provide 5,000 free bikes, as well as maintenance and safety equipment, to Chicagoans by 2026. Supported by Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s historic $188 million investment in climate mitigation and environmental justice initiatives through the Chicago Recovery Plan, Bike Chicago will kick off this summer, with at least 500 bikes distributed to age and income-eligible Chicagoans throughout the program’s first year. Over the next four years, CDOT will gradually increase distribution until 5,000 free bikes have been provided, as part of Chicago’s goal to increase affordable and climate friendly mobility options.
Online and paper applications will be accepted from July 18th until August 4th and bike distribution will begin in August (see below) . The bikes will be given out over the next four years, with the first distribution happening next month. If you have not already, you can apply for the program on the city of Chicago website or at City Hall. Chicago giving away 5,000 bikes to eligible residents — how to apply Applications for the first giveaway close on August 4. You must be a Chicago resident and at least 14 years old to qualify.
“Riding a bike is an affordable, sustainable, and healthy way to travel that reduces car congestion and improves quality of life,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “Along with improving and expanding the City’s network of bike lanes and trails, CDOT is committed to making biking a more popular and practical option for all residents – and Bike Chicago will do just that. We’re excited to launch this program and start distributing bikes and safety gear this summer and throughout the next several years.”
The City of Chicago’s commitment to advancing Bike Chicago is tied to the recent release of the 2022 Climate Action Plan that outlines strategies and actions to prioritize low-carbon mobility options like walking, biking, and transit use to reduce emissions. On road transportation is the City’s second-largest source of emissions and a major contributor to climate change.
“Every resident in our city deserves equitable access to safe, reliable, and affordable clean transportation options,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Bike Chicago accelerates both the City’s climate and equity goals by providing new workforce pathways, bikes and supportive resources that promote safe biking and a healthy low-carbon transportation ecosystem for all Chicagoans.”
For the first year of Bike Chicago
, a portion of the bikes will be assembled by and distributed to participants in our Greencorps Chicago Youth Program, a green jobs training program for students in Chicago public high schools. Additional bikes will be distributed to other participants in CDOT 2022 mobility programming, including the Chicago SAFE Ambassadors’ Learn to Ride program
, the Open Boulevards events, and then on a first come first serve basis for residents that qualify. To be eligible, applicants must:
- Be at least 14 years old (those under 18 will need a guardian present when picking up the bike and equipment);
- Have a household income at or below 100% of the Area Median Income for Chicago;
- Not already own a bicycle;
- Face higher mobility hardship; OR
- Be a participant in a CDOT Mobility program.
When picking up their bike, bike recipients will be given information and resources they need to confidently travel the City’s bikeways network and keep their bike working for years to come. The free bikes will be a single speed commuter model that will be simple to maintain and function well on Chicago’s geography. Recipients will be matched with the appropriately sized bike based on the height that they specify in their application.