Windsor native happy with new rules to help keep cyclists safe

Eleanor McMahon's husband died after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle on a Southern Ontario country road in 2006. She spoke with CBC Radio's Windsor Morning about new safety rules, which include requiring drivers to leave a one-metre distance (where possible) when passing cyclists.
Eleanor McMahon (Burlington Riding Association)

Eleanor McMahon's husband died after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle on a Southern Ontario country road in 2006. 

This tragic loss led McMahon, originally from Windsor, down a new path. 

McMahon founded the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, a provincial cycling policy and advocacy organization, and has long been an advocate for making our roads safer for cyclists. 

Starting on Sept. 1, Ontario drivers face a slate of new road safety rules, including requiring drivers to leave a one-metre distance (where possible) when passing cyclists, or they may face the penalty of a $110 set fine and two demerit points.

McMahon is happy with the new rules.

"I lost my best friend and my partner in a flash, in an instant," she said in an interview with CBC Radio's Windsor Morning talking about the death of her husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart.

She hopes the new rules help keep cyclists safer on Ontario roads. While pleased with the tougher penalties she also called for more infrastructure, such as bike lanes, to help further improve the conditions for cyclists.

The new rules also include an increased fine for drivers who open their doors suddenly, consequently hitting passing cyclists. The infraction is commonly dubbed "dooring" and will carry an increased set fine of $365 and three demerit points upon conviction.

Drivers and cyclists share the road and both groups face increased penalties for not following safety rules. Cyclists who don't use the required bicycle lights and reflectors now face a higher set fine of $110.

"We're all moving too quickly," said McMahon. "We're not paying attention, we're driving distracted and that can have lasting consequences."