Triple Olympic Champion Ed Clancy OBE has been named South Yorkshire’s new active travel commissioner.
Clancy has been appointed by South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard to work with him to make South Yorkshire a safer and easier place to walk and cycle.
Plans are underway to build more than 620 miles of accessible walking and cycling routes linking South Yorkshire’s towns and cities. The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) is investing £85 million in building the active travel network.
Clancy said: “I’m honoured to be South Yorkshire’s new active travel commissioner and I can’t wait to get stuck into the new role. I want to use my platform to break down those barriers that stop people walking or biking to get where they need to go. Too many of us are driving cars, that’s clogging up our roads and making them more dangerous.
“South Yorkshire has some of the deadliest roads in the country and this stops people choosing to walk or ride the short distances they currently drive, which just adds to the pollution and the danger. If you’re scared to cross the road, you’ll use the car instead.
“I’m committed to using my platform to get more people of all ages to walk, cycle, scoot or skate around South Yorkshire and this means giving people a real, safe choice when it comes to their journeys.”
Currently, one in four journeys under 500m are taken by car. According to Public Health England, 700 people a year die prematurely in South Yorkshire because of poor air quality.
Coppard said: “I’m determined to build a better-connected, more sustainable and healthier South Yorkshire and making sure everyone can walk or cycle where they want to is key to that.
“Right now our roads are too congested, it’s dangerous, it’s making us sicker and it’s stopping us reaching our Net Zero targets. Too often people don’t feel safe walking or cycling because our roads are too busy and we need to change that. No one’s going to leave the car at home if it’s easier or feels safer not to, and that’s why the work Ed will do with us is so important.
“That’s why it’s great to welcome Ed Clancy as our new active travel commissioner, it’s vital work and I’m sure he’ll be a huge success. I’m sure he’ll be a huge success and help us build a better connected, healthier and more sustainable South Yorkshire.”
Clancy won gold in Team Pursuit at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the London Olympics in 2012, and the Rio Olympics in 2016. He retired from Team GB in August 2021. His last professional race was in December 2021 as part of the inaugural Track Champions League competition in London.
Clancy will continue the work started by the previous active travel commissioner Dame Sarah Storey, and her work on the region’s Active Travel Implementation Plan. The plan details how over 1000km of routes, 800m of safe crossings and 230 sq km of low-traffic neighbourhoods will help to transform the region by 2040.
Yesterday, 6th February, Active Travel England announced £200 million to improve walking and cycling routes and boost local economies in England. South Yorkshire was given £1 million towards walking and cycling route plans, e-bike loans and training.