Bike Messengers

bike messengers enjoy coffee and donuts at the JR Thompson Center

Each year on October 9, Chicago celebrates Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day.

View Mayor Daley's proclamation from October 9, 2007.

Bicycle messengers (also known as bike couriers) are people who work carrying and delivering items by bicycle. Bicycle messengers are most often found in the central business districts of metropolitan areas. Chicago’s bicycle messenger companies employ more than 300 bicyclists who make an estimated 1.1 million deliveries each year. The City of Chicago encourages more use of bicycle messengers and encourages bicycle messengers to ride safely and responsibly.

Why Use Bicycle Messengers?

Bicycle messengers:

  • deliver documents and other goods in a timely, efficient manner;
  • can often travel faster than automobiles stuck in congested city traffic;
  • help relieve pollution, congestion, and gridlock by not adding to and by reducing the number of cars on the road; and
  • help to promote year-round cycling.

Encouraging Increased Use of Bicycle Messengers

The City of Chicago has identified several key strategies for increasing the use of bicycle messengers, and ensuring their safety:

  • streamlining the delivery process to make bicycle messenger services faster and therefore more attractive to use;
  • expanding services to new markets;
  • establishing safer conditions for bicycle messengers to help ensure a healthy working environment; and
  • encouraging bicycle messengers to ride safely and avoid riding behaviors that endanger themselves, pedestrians, and motorists.

Bicycle Messenger Companies

A Bicycle Messenger Service License is required for companies that operate bicycle messenger services in the central business district. Bicycle messenger licences are administered by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Portions of this text were adapted from:

Supporting Information Facts