Why is it that everything with the initials CC in its name turns out to be such a let down for cyclists? We have Carboot Circus, (Bristol) City Council, and of course Cycling City.
Bizarrely the City Council were awarded Cycling City status back in June even though they continue to back profoundly unpopular plans by West of England Partnership to convert the city's one outstanding cycle route, the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, into a Bus Rapid Transit route.
Not an auspicious start for the 3 year project and things have continued in much the same vein, with local democracy being an early victim as vested interests position themselves to pocket the £20 million of taxpayers' money being thrown at Cycling City. Ordinary cyclists have found themselves very much out in the cold, even to the extent of being refused entry to consultative meetings.
So anxious are the Council to keep trouble makers (i.e. anyone who doesn't agree with what they say) out of the decision making process that they went so far as to nominate the person who they wished to be the representative of the Bristol Cycling Campaign (hmm, another CC) on the Cycling City Stakeholders' Panel, an outrageous presumption that the Cycling Campaign meekly accepted.
But there are thankfully a few local cyclists who take exception to the arrogance of the Council and their acolytes. Led by the redoubtable Joshua Hart (above), they are making a last ditch attempt to gain some influence over the process of determining where the funding should go at a meeting of the Stakeholders' Forum (no, not the Stakeholders' Panel - confusing, isn't it? It's meant to be.) to be held at Fairfield High School, Allfoxton Road, Horfield this Wednesday at 6pm.
It has to be said that the prospects do not look good. Word is that the spending plan has already been stitched up amongst the vested interests, including of course local charities like Sustrans, who will no doubt find themselves with substantial roles (and funding) in the Cycling City project. The termination of the project in a little more than 2½ years makes for rushed decisions and short term thinking.
But who dares wins, in the end. So now is the time for the city's cyclists to ask themselves whether they are content to have their tax money spent to bolster the prestige of the incumbent vested interests or whether they want their tax money spent in a manner that is targeted firmly at making Bristol better for cyclists. If they don't show what they're made of now they may never get another chance.