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Eleanor McMahon is a cycling advocate, senior executive and former legislator. Her career has included senior roles in business, government and the not-for-profit sector. She spent the early part of her career on Parliament Hill where she held a number of positions, including Press Secretary to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Her experience also includes time with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Petro-Canada, the United Way Ottawa, the Ontario Medical Association, and the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
The tragic death of Eleanor’s husband, Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Greg Stobbart - killed in June 2006 while cycling, by a driver with several convictions for driving under suspension - led her life in an entirely new direction. In response to this unthinkable loss, Eleanor began a campaign to improve road safety in Ontario. In 2008, she launched the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, a provincial cycling policy and advocacy organization that brought together cycling groups from across Ontario to work with municipalities to make their communities more bicycle-friendly.
Eleanor also lobbied for enhanced penalties for suspended drivers in Ontario. As a result of her advocacy, “Greg’s Law” was passed on April 22, 2009 and became law in September 2010, making our communities safer by reducing the number of suspended drivers and repeat offenders on Ontario’s roads.
In 2014 Eleanor decided to seek elected office in order to further the work she started at Share the Road, and was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Burlington, Ontario. While there, her work included legislative change, enhanced infrastructure funding as well as education and awareness initiatives. She was appointed to the Cabinet in 2016.
Eleanor’s advocacy led to significant changes to Legislator Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), the legislation that governs motorists and cyclists. In 2015, Ontario became the second province in Canada to pass a one metre “Safe Passing Law”. In 2016, she tabled a Bill creating two new sections of the HTA: Careless Driving Cause Death and Careless Driving Cause Bodily Harm. The Bill, which passed in December 2017 also contained important Vulnerable Road User provisions.
In 2017 Premier Kathleen Wynne asked Eleanor to co-lead the cycling file as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. During her tenure important advancements included: the first Cycling Tourism strategy for Ontario, leveraging existing tourism assets and advancing development of an 8,000 km (5,000 mile) cycling travel and tourism route in Canada’s largest province. In December 2017, Eleanor announced $100M in cycling infrastructure funding for communities across the province, the largest in Ontario’s history.
13th Annual Greg's Ride in Support of Share the Road Cycling Coalition - Every year, Share the Road hosts Greg's Ride, a fundraiser to support its determined advocacy to change hearts, minds and laws in Ontario to protect and promote cycling. Published September 14, 2018 in Special Report: Cycling