Merton cyclists criticise bike "research" funding

This Is Local London: Mayor Boris Johnson wants 2010 to be the 'year of the bike'. Photo: GLENN COPUS Mayor Boris Johnson wants 2010 to be the 'year of the bike'. Photo: GLENN COPUS

Cyclists have slammed a £25,000 grant intended to fund research into how Merton residents can be persuaded to get on their bikes.

The money, from Transport for London (TfL), will not be spent on practical cycling aids but is intended to fund research and help Merton become one of 12 outer London ‘biking boroughs’.

Merton Cycling Campaign’s Richard Evans said: “I’m fed up with hearing nonsense like this. We don’t need any more studies. It’s just a way of pretending to do something when actually you’re not.

“We need action on the ground. For that sort of money we could put in a lot more cycle parking around the borough, particularly in town centres.”

Fred Ellis, the founder of Pedal4Health, added: “£25,000 would have paid for a lot of cycle training courses in the coming year.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants to make 2010 ‘the year of the bike’ by opening two cycling superhighways, one running from South Wimbledon to Bank, the other from Barking to Tower Hill. Other proposals include two Skyride events in outer London, where cyclists can enjoy car-free roads for a day, and a central bike hire scheme.

A TfL spokesman said boroughs have flexibility to spend money they receive from the Mayor to improve transport and can prioritise cycling if they want to.

He added: “Merton is one of the London boroughs that will benefit from the two pilot Cycle Superhighways launching this summer, with approximately £155,000 earmarked as part of the scheme for cycle training, cycle parking and other initiatives to encourage Merton residents to make their journeys by bike."

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