Brian Cooke, a part time board member for Transport for London and taking home £18,000 a year from – yup – a transport body – seems not to know that roads are funded by general and local taxation. He has tweeted: "Cyclists as cyclists pay virtually nothing toward road funding."
BikeBiz executive editor Carlton Reid replied: "Motorists as motorists pay nothing toward road funding. Roads are paid for by taxation."
Last week Cooke – who describes himself as "strong Conservative" and was sacked as boss of TravelWatch for making a pro-Boris political statement in the last mayoral election – tweeted that cyclists don’t pay for a "road fund licence": the road fund was abolished in 1937.
Today’s social media exchanges began when @hounslowcycling tweeted about a bus that, earlier today, had driven into a cyclist in Feltham. Despite the bike being shown under the front wheels of the bus, Cooke responded to the tweet writing: "more reasons for compulsory registration and insurance for all cyclists", without explaining how such measures could stop a bus from running into a cyclist.
Councillors have previously called for the stretch of road to be made a 20mph zone. Cooke didn’t like that either, asking "what evidence says 20mph would help?" When various respondents gave him links to evidence, he blanked them. Last week he had a twitter spat with cycle racer Tom Staniford, calling him a "liar" and threatening to sue him for "deformation." (Staniford has two law degrees, and after Cooke learned this he blocked him on Twitter.)
In another Tweet from today Cooke says: "Make more cyclists obey law and Highway Code." He also called JustMandyH a "rude lying cow."
UPDATE: Cooke deleted the "cow" tweet on Wednesday evening and earlier today deleted his Twitter account.
Just the kind of chap we need influencing policy and infrastructure decisions at Transport for London, eh?
Grab some popcorn and follow the unfolding madness here…