If you’re looking for a new bike, you might be able to get 1 of the 5,000 free bikes Chicago is giving away, but that’s only if you apply before the deadline ends.
The new program, called Bike Chicago, will provide 5,000 free bikes, plus “maintenance and safety gear” to Chicagoans by 2026, a Chicago Department of Transportation press release said last month. .
The program is part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $188 million Chicago stimulus plan, in conjunction with the city’s goal to “increase affordable, climate-friendly mobility options.”
The program is expected to begin this summer with the distribution of 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.
To be eligible to apply for a bike, applicants must:
- Be a resident of Chicago
- Be at least 14 years old
- Have a household income at or below 100% of the area median income for Chicago (for example, less than $104,200 for a family of 4)
- Not already owning a bike
- Live in an area that faces higher mobility difficulties (see this map for more)
Under 18s will need a guardian present when picking up the bike and equipment.
Deadline to apply
Paper and online applications opened on July 18 on this page. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, August 4 to be considered.
When will the bikes be distributed?
According to CDOT, bicycles for eligible residents will begin being distributed in August 2022. They will continue to be distributed each spring and summer for the next four years until 5,000 bicycles are distributed.
Depending on demand, the city may set up a lottery for years 2-4 of the program for residents who qualify.
Here is more information.