Ontario Bike Summit in Waterloo April 3-5, 2024

Details here: https://archive.ph/yr9SL

Waterloo to host Ontario Bike Summit

More than 250 cycling delegates expected for three-day event

By Metroland Staff

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Waterloo to host Ontario Bike Summit

Hundreds of cycling enthusiasts and decision makers will gather in Waterloo, April 3-5, for the Ontario Bike Summit, an advocacy platform and opportunity to share best practices and innovations.

The annual event was spearheaded by Eleanor McMahon, who started the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in 2007 after her husband, Greg Stobbart, an OPP officer, was killed by a careless driver while on his bike training for a triathlon.

“Greg meant a lot to so many people, but because he spent his life keeping our roads safe and because the two of us enjoyed cycling, I decided we should do something and make sure that his death wasn’t forgotten and that we, as much as possible, try to make sure other people don’t suffer the way we did,” said McMahon.

The Burlington resident and former press secretary who worked for two prime ministers took advantage of her contacts in the political system to build a coalition including municipalities, public health and law enforcement to help seek legislative change and provide an impetus for infrastructure funding.

In 2009, Greg’s Law passed in the Ontario Legislature, tightening penalties for people who drive under suspension, and the first Ontario Bike Summit came to Waterloo with the help of city Coun. Diane Freeman and former mayor Brenda Halloran, who offered to host.

“Now we’re back to hold the 15th annual Ontario Bike Summit to bring together the same sorts of actors, just to again share best practices, learn from each other and say ‘OK, what is progress?’” said McMahon. “Let’s look at what we’ve achieved. But let’s really concentrate on sorting out what we need to do now and what lies ahead.”

The three-day event is expected to draw 250 cycling delegates including municipal staff and leaders from across Canada and internationally.

This year’s theme is ‘Sustainability and Innovation through Cycling’.

“We are thrilled to have the Ontario Bike Summit back in Waterloo where it all began 15 years ago,” said Waterloo mayor Dorothy McCabe, in a press release. “We’re proud of the fact that all paths lead back to Waterloo where ideas and input for the Ontario Cycling Strategy were born.”

The strategy introduced in 2013 led to a lot of progress, McMahon said.

From 2014 to 2018, McMahon served as the Liberal MPP for Burlington, enabling her to push for legislative changes such as the one-metre passing law, as well as money for infrastructure.

McMahon currently serves as president and CEO for the Trans Canada Trail but has accepted a new role with the University of Waterloo as vice president of university relations, effective March 4.