Celebrating 10 years of cycling advocacy in Ontario
by Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director of Share the Road
Happy New Year! As we roll into 2018, we have a busy year to look forward to in Ontario. It’s an election year at the provincial and municipal levels. Communities across Ontario will be hard at work building new cycling infrastructure as part of the $93 million Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program. And we are celebrating our 10th anniversary at Share the Road.
It was in 2008 that Eleanor McMahon, her family and the founding Board of Directors officially launched the Share the Road Cycling Coalition with the objective of building a more bicycle-friendly Ontario. For a decade, the staff and volunteers of Share the Road have worked with partners across the province towards making this vision a reality.
Ten years later, the cycling landscape in Ontario has noticeably changed. We have a new provincial cycling strategy, the 1m safe passing law and record infrastructure investments. Municipalities are building separated bike lanes and cycle tracks, thousands of people participate in Bike Month each year, new research has been conducted into the safety and economic impact of bike lanes and 40 municipalities have been designated through the Bicycle Friendly Community Program.
Share the Road was born out of personal tragedy when Eleanor’s husband Greg was killed cycling in Milton. The hope was to stop other families from having to endure the loss of a loved one by bike. Although significant progress has been made to make cycling a safe mode of transportation and recreational activity, riding a bike can still be far too dangerous. Families are still experiencing the pain of losing loved ones by bike. Our work is not done.
At the outset of our 10th year, we are launching this blog to look back on a decade of progress, highlight the events and partners who have made it happen and discuss provincial priorities for the short and long term. Each month, we’ll reflect back on a cycling milestone and interview some of the change makers who were involved. In between, we’ll share relevant cycling stories, program updates and election advocacy priorities.
It’s not always easy for organizations to keep the momentum going for a decade. Tight resources, evolving grant priorities, competing objectives, leadership transitions, etc. But time and time again staff, volunteers, friends, family and partners have risen to the challenge to support Share the Road and our work. Getting to 10 years was never a given. We hope you will help us celebrate.
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Like our work, this blog is a collaboration. Please feel free to connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org with story ideas.