Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey has been announced today as Sheffield’s first commissioner for walking and cycling, with plans to introduce an electric bike scheme.
In her role she will work to deliver an ‘Active Travel Plan’ across the city to see more residents travelling by foot, bike or public transport.
Dame Sarah will hold the position for two years and work alongside local authorities, community groups and the government to implement the strategy.
She believes that her e-bike scheme will encourage more people to cycle around Sheffield’s seven hills.
At an unveiling at Sheffield Hallam University this morning, she said: “I’m proud and excited to be the first Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region.
“I believe active travel is a less stressful way of moving about, and helps to create the foundation of a happier workforce and a happier population.”
Dame Sarah is the most successful British female Paralympian in history, having won five gold medals for swimming and nine for cycling across seven Paralympic Games, while breaking 76 World Records.
She wants the government to offer up grants to help roll out more e-bikes across the country, and to increase tax breaks for cyclists to match motorists’.
Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “By prioritising active travel, we can improve people’s health, cut carbon emissions and reduce congestion. But you don’t have to be a professional cyclist – or indeed a gold medal winning cyclist – to travel in a more active way.
“By making little changes to the way that we travel, we can all do our part to create a healthier and more active society.”
A similar initiative has been established in Manchester, where Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Chris Boardman is working with Andy Burnham to create a ‘Bee Network’ of safe cycling and walking routes.