Pretty exciting news for Ontario cyclists coming from the first session of the day-long Ontario symposiums here at Velo-city Global 2012 in Vancouver.
During the first part of the dayl-long Ontario symposiums, Robert Grimwood, a senior project planner with the City of Ottawa, rolled out some of the work that is being done by the Ontario Traffic Council for the Ontario Traffic Manual No. 18, aka the Bicycle Facilities book. When it is approved, it will become the bible for municipal traffic planners. Right now, there may be a certain timidity on the part of planners to incorporate bicycle-specific road structures into existing or planned roads. What is a bike box? Can a bike lane be added to a roundabout?
OTM No. 18 will offer answers to those questions, and many more. In conjunction with OTM No. 18 will come changes to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act specifically dealing with bicycles (the HTA was written way back when a bicycle needed to be equipped with "...an alarm bell, gong or horn..." Who uses a gong these days?).
The good news is that the OTM No. 18 will be ready within six months. Then it has to get provincial approval at the legislative level, probably by being added to some other piece of transportation legislation before the MPPs. Betting is that it will be available by mid-2013.
The bad news is that the Highway Traffic Act changes need the OK from the provincial Transportation Ministry and there is no time line on that. The technical manual will be ready, but it is possible the HTA part will drag on and on and on...