Eleanor McMahon, Founder
Eleanor McMahon, Founder and CEO, Share the Road Cycling Coalition
Eleanor McMahon has spent most of her career as a communications, government relations and marketing professional. Her work includes senior roles in the private, public and non-for profit sectors. She spent the early part of her career on Parliament Hill in roles of increasing responsibility including that of Press Secretary to the Right Honorable Jean Chrétien.
She has worked at Director, Public Affairs, Petro-Canada, as Vice President Communications and Marketing at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Vice President Marketing and Communications at United Way Ottawa/Centraide Ottawa.
Following the death of her husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart -- killed in a cycling collision in June 2006 -- Ms. McMahon has been working to engineer legislative change in Ontario and has lead the development of a provincial, grassroots cycling policy and advocacy organization in Ontario -- the Share the Road Cycling Coalition. The Coalition was launched in 2008, and since 2009 Ms. McMahon has worked as its CEO on a full time basis.
In November 2008, Ms. McMahon was successful in getting “Greg’s Law” tabled in the Ontario legislature as part of a larger Road Safety Bill, Bill 126. The legislation, which passed on April 22nd 2009, targets suspended drivers and repeat offenders and is named after Sgt. Stobbart, killed by a motorist who had been convicted five times for driving under suspension. Greg’s Law came into force on December 1, 2010.
The Share the Road Cycling Coalition was created to unite cycling organizations from across Ontario and works with and on behalf of municipalities to enhance their ability to make their communities more bicycle-friendly.
Ms. McMahon is a frequent speaker on active transportation. She continues to visit jurisdictions in Ontario, the United States and Europe to study best practices in cycling accommodations, law enforcement approaches, legislative, and education and awareness programs.
In March 2010 the Coalition released “When Ontario Bikes, Ontario Benefits -- a Green Paper on Bicycling in Ontario”, an evidenced-based report that makes the case for a new Ontario Bicycle Policy, and an enhanced role for the Ontario government. Work on the Green Paper started at the Coalition’s first Ontario Bike Summit in September 2009 in Waterloo. In November 2012 Ms. McMahon and the Honorable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Transportation Minister, launched the first bicycle policy update in Ontario in 20 years at a press conference in Ottawa, releasing the document for consultation. The Ontario Bicycle Strategy provides an overall policy framework for the provincial government in the important areas of infrastructure funding, bicycle travel and tourism route development, education and awareness and legislative updates. In August 2013 Ms. McMahon, together with Transportation Minister Glen Murray launched the final Ontario Bicycle Strategy, #CycleON, and is a member of the Minister's working group charged with developing Action Plans to deliver on the Strategy's initiatives. These include changes to the Highway Traffic Act and active transport funding for municipalities.
In June 2010 Ms. McMahon moderated a panel discussion at the global cycling conference, Velo-City in Copenhagen. In 2011, Ms. McMahon was asked to serve on the panel for the current investigation by the Ontario Coroner into cycling deaths between 2006-2011. The review, including 14 recommendations for improving cycling safety in Ontario, was released in June 2012. Ms. McMahon was a speaker at the 2013 National Bike Summit in Washington.
Each year the Coalition hosts an Ontario Bike Summit which brings together municipal leaders, planners, engineers, law enforcement and public health professionals together with cycling enthusiasts and advocates to discuss and share best practices in bicycling and ideas on how to improve cycling in Ontario.The Ontario Bike Summit includes a lobby day reception at Queen’s Park with MPPs from across Ontario, bringing them together with constituents – Bike Summit attendees – to discuss an enhanced provincial role in funding infrastructure, improving cycling policies/ legislation and advance cycling generally.
In 2014 the Coalition will, in partnership with local organizations and municipalities host 5 local/regional Summits and 9 Share the Road Rides across Ontario to promote cycling Ms. McMahon is currently working on planning the 2014 Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto April 13-15th.