Liberal politician Eleanor McMahon – founder of Ontario's Share the Road Cycling Coalition – has been appointed as Ontario's Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. She is co-chair of the Legislative All Party Cycling Caucus and, as Minister for Tourism, has pledged to do more for cycling. “I’m eager to see us map out our own cycling infrastructure network here," she told a local paper.
McMahon founded the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in 2008 to lobby for enhanced penalties for suspended drivers. As a result of her campaign, Greg’s Law was passed in 2009 aiming to reducing the number of suspended drivers and repeat offenders on Ontario’s roads. McMahon became a politician in 2014.
Last Thursday, before being informed of her elevation, McMahon moved an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act to increase penalties for careless driving causing death or bodily harm. Her policeman husband Sgt. Greg Stobbart was killed while on a training ride ten years ago. The killer driver was found to have five previous convictions for driving under suspension but was not jailed for the death he caused.
The new Minister for Tourism said cycling is a growing part of the tourism sector, and a popular transport choice for Ontarians.
The capital of Ontario, a province of Canada, is Toronto which is slowly become more bicycle-friendly. Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was famously anti-cycling.
McMahon is not the only cycle advocate to have achieved political prominence recently. In Australia Senator Janet Rice, a former cycle advocate, became the transport lead for the Australian Green Party. She has pledged to plough £125m into sustainable transport, should the Greens have influence in the next Australian government. Senator Rice worked for Bicycle Victoria in the mid-1990s and developed the Ride to Work Day programme.
Spotters: Andy Clarke, Kevin Mayne