BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — PeopleForBikes has sent out a confidential request for proposals (RFP) seeking bidders for a contract to provide more accurate statistical data on bicycling participation in the U.S.
The four-page RFP was quietly sent to a small group of companies on May 14 with proposals due back less than two weeks later on May 27. The RFP timeline calls for a review committee consisting of PeopleForBikes staff members and/or members of the group’s 17-person board of directors to select the contractor on Tuesday.
In the request, PeopleForBikes tacitly acknowledges that industry growth appears to be stalled based on various studies done outside the industry, such as the annual participation study done by the National Sporting Goods Association.
Dustin Dobrin, director of research and information at the NSGA, announced last week that bicycle riding participation had declined 9.4 percent in 2013 compared with 2012, when participation posted an increase of less than 1 percent.
However, despite what appears to be a downward trend, the PeopleForBikes’ RFP also notes that it appears short trips on bicycles may be growing. Nonetheless, existing studies fail to provide the depth or breadth required to clearly understand participation trends, the proposal notes.
The proposal outlines three objectives that a contractor must meet:
- Deliver reliable statistical estimates of participation that includes all riders regardless of age and for all types of riding whether recreational or for utility.
- Benchmark participation rates so that PeopleForBikes can measure the effectiveness of its efforts to improve participation.
- Develop a survey methodology that could be applied in specific geographic areas. The survey tool would seek to measure the impact of investments in local infrastructure on participation in hopes of standardizing how participation and growth are measured in the future.
The RFP offered no estimated timeline as to when the various objectives should be met or when PeopleForBikes would start to release its findings. Developing a methodology to learn how infrastructure spending affects participation would be difficult. However, information gleaned from community or regional surveys could help the group better target its efforts and make a stronger case for increased funding.
The group reviewing the RFPs will evaluate the proposals based on factors including: timeline and budget; a clear understanding of project goals; ability to meet those goals; and vendor qualifications, skills and capacity.
Charlie Cooper, the group’s new vice president for membership and development, sent out the proposal. Cooper, who is well known within the industry, had been president of Leisure Trends before its recent purchase by the NPD Group. Leisure Trends currently develops sell-in and sell-through data for the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association.
PeopleForBikes, composed of the PeopleForBikes Coalition and PeopleForBikes Foundation, had an annual budget of $6.8 million in 2012. The Coalition, which is composed of industry members and is primarily a trade association, had a budget of $3.3 million.
The Foundation, on the other hand, essentially solicits grants and other funds for various projects like Safe Routes. It had a $3.8 million budget. PeopleForBikes should release its 2013 financials soon.
Another entity, Bikes PAC, is essentially a political action committee. In 2012, it raised $75,000 for re-election campaigns for members of Congress who support cycling.