We’d like to welcome Lee Craigie, our new Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland. As Lee’s exploits with the Adventure Syndicate show, she’s a woman with a great deal of strength and stamina – both of which she’s going to need in her new role.
The idea for an Active Nation Commissioner came in the wake of the bikelash that saw the Bearsway route truncated and cycling infrastructure in Ayr removed altogether. According to Transport Scotland, her role will be “to help progress the recommendations of the Active Travel Task Force Report and ensure that walking and cycling is accessible and inclusive for all”. Although much of the coverage of her appointment has concentrated on her role as a national advocate for walking and cycling, we hope that she won’t be confined just to encouraging individual Scots to be more active. It is among the powers that be – and especially among local authorities – that the real advocacy needs to take place.
The Active Travel Task Force made some strong recommendations including considering a “policy of reducing urban traffic and transferring carriageway space to active travel” and multi-year funding for active travel infrastructure (and even funding long-term maintenance) and we hope that Lee will have the authority she needs to make them happen. As Lee herself says, she specialises in taking people out of their comfort zones – which is exactly what our policy makers need. If she can get some of our less forward-thinking councils to take the brave decisions Scotland needs to enable cycling and walking for everyone, then she really will have taken on and smashed the toughest challenge of her life. In comparison, 24-hour mountain bike races in the depths of midwinter will be a walk in the park.
However, she won’t be doing it alone. We’ll be doing what we can to support her in this role, every step of the way. We look forward to working with Lee as, together, we make Scotland a cycle-friendly country.