A tweet from BBC transport correspondent Tom Edwards during yesterday's Tour de France appears to suggest that the £6m cost of hosting part of the race has come from Transport for London (TfL)'s cycling budget.
The budget for London, set earlier this year, included a total of £107m allocated to cycling for 2014/15. But in March, TfL commissioner Sir Peter Hendy admitted there had been an underspend on the cycling budget in previous years and 'didn't know' if there would also be one for 2014/15. TfL have yet to confirm whether or not the £6m came from the cycling budget.
The Cyclists in the City blog calls the use of the infrastructure budget to fund a tourist event 'inappropriate', citing the slow roll-out of TfL's various improvements to London's cycling provision. But given the huge turnout across the TDF route, the boost for tourism (not to mention for cycling itself) and local spending, it's clearly not an easy comparison to make.
In fairness to TfL, changing the layout of a number of key junctions and routes can't be done overnight. It's probably also reasonable to assume that many projects aren't completed within the budget year because of the eternal enemies of project management — lack of resources and bad planning. But it would be fair for London's cyclists to want to see as much money as possible being spent on their infrastructure and be able to ask questions if the budget isn't being spent or diverted elsewhere.
In other cycling news this week, an anonymous Guardian article has provoked criticism for saying that other cyclists are as much of a danger as the capital's motorised traffic. Underpinning a certain amount of this kind of criticism is the 'drivers do X too' argument. We pointed out last year that pitting one set of road users against another is unhelpful and counter-productive. Just as unhelpful, in fact, as the oft-repeated (and incorrect) 'road tax' argument. Cyclists have also complained that the police are being 'over-zealous' in their fining of traffic infringements — a complaint that many London motorists will certainly sympathise with.
Also see: our gallery of the London stage of the Tour de France.
Photo by nottheviewsofmyemployer in the Londonist Flickr pool.