Nantes came out of nowhere back in the 2013 Index thanks to an impressive political push for making the bicycle a normal transport form once again.
In 2017 they slip nine spots to #16. The bicycle urbanism storm has been downgraded to a stiff breeze, it seems. Other cities are showing more desire for change and that is largely the reason for the drop in the ranking.
The city voted and approved a bicycle plan involving €50 million of investment and the goal of 12% modal share by 2030. Compare that with Bordeaux’s €70 million and a goal of 15% by 2020 and you can see why Nantes perhaps needs more investment. The modal share is still at 6% even after years of municipal focus.
To their credit, their new bike plan is focused on hard infrastructure, as opposed to soft actions. The city’s transformation is still impressive. The citizens have embraced the infrastructure and facilities. There is a strong community of cycling citizens, combining private companies using bikes as well as associations of cyclists.
The city is seeing an increase in cargo bikes as a logistics solution as well as for use by families. New bike shops and startups working on smart bikes and accessories indicate that the city has created a dynamic that other cities can envy.
The competition in France is heating up, however. Strasbourg, Paris and Bordeaux have the momentum. The ball is in Nantes court now.
Spend the money wisely, Nantes. Think about your network and improve upon it. Use the community of passionate citizens to help grow your bicycle city. You have done so well, find the drive again.