Cycling enthusiasts have accused Croydon Council of failing to build up cycling networks in the borough by not bidding for enough funds.

Between 2006 and 2010, the council was able to bid for a share of £61m from Travel for London (TfL) to invest in cycling networks in London.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show, despite being the largest borough in London with the highest population, Croydon invested just £4.50 for each resident on cycling compared to Camden’s £28.89 and the city of London’s £157.42.

Austen Cooper, co-ordinator of the Croydon Cycling Campaign, claimed the council underbid, had been underallocated and underspent the funds from TfL over the past three financial years.

He said: “We were told repeatedly there was no money available to invest in cycling.

"These figures tell a different story, and show that councillors and senior managers have failed in the last four years to properly scrutinise and manage cycling projects.

“Croydon Council bid for a seemingly impressive £2.235m, but this was eclipsed by Camden, who drew up plans to spend £7.294m.

"In effect, Croydon applied for just 30 per cent of the project values that Camden had in mind.

“If you want to cycle through the centre of Croydon legally and safely, you cannot do it.”

The Croydon Cycling campaign went on a bike ride around the borough to show councillor Dudley Mead the extent of the problem.

And Mr Cooper said they had faith Mr Mead would support them.

He said: “What we now want to see after the election is a council dedicated to listening to what cyclists really want and need and making sure that transport planners, environmental officers and highways engineers work together to deliver this vision rather than get away with serving up excuses and poor performance.

"We hope the council will co-operate effectively with Mayor Boris Johnson’s biking boroughs scheme to promote cycling in outer London.”

Council Leader Mike Fisher said: “In the whole of outer London there has been a lower take up in terms of cycling. There are greater barriers.

“We have been talking to Boris Johnson about how we can improve cycling and how we can overcome the barriers like cycle security.

"We have also spoken to him about making Croydon the first place in outer London to take up the cycle hire scheme.”

Opposition leader of the Labour group Tony Newman said: “It is not surprising, the council likes to talk the talk on green issues.

"This is evidence, the council has a poor record in cases where there is money available and they are simply not spending it.”

A council spokesman said: “The level of funding requested in previous applications has reflected what was felt to be appropriate to the circumstances at that time.

"The situation remains under constant review, and future applications will take into account the level of funding available.

"The council is keen to encourage greater take-up of cycling.”