Simon MacMichael December 11 2017
In a video message, Sagan gave his support to the efforts of former governor of California Schwarzenegger and Mayor of Pairs Anne Hidalgo to get more people cycling for their daily journeys.
Sagan, who is cycling ambassador for the C40 Cities group whose members comprise major metropolises around the world, sent the message from Mallorca, where he was on a training camp with his Bora-Hansgrohe team.
The video coincided with the action movie star turned politician Schwarzenegger, founder of R20 – Regions of Climate Action, joining Hidalgo in publicising research conducted by C40 Cities highlighting the benefits of an active commute.
The publication of the research comes ahead of Paris hosting the One Planet summit on Tuesday 12 December, with findings including that in the French capital, measures taken to improve air quality will avoid some 400 premature deaths each year, and that average life expectancy of the city’s residents will be increased by 21 days.
Should all C40 Cities – of which London is one – reduce their levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in line with the Green & Healthy Streets Declaration, issued in April, more than 45,000 premature deaths around the world could be avoided each year.
The research also found that leaving the car at home and switching to an active commute, based on 30 minutes of cycling or walking, could lead to:
23 per cent reduced risk of heart disease
23 per cent reduced risk of stroke
15 per cent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
14 per cent reduced risk of depression
12 per cent reduced risk of breast cancer
11 per cent reduced risk of dementia, and
8 per cent reduced risk of colon cancer.
Hidalgo, who chairs C40 Cities, said: “As Mayor of Paris my first priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of Parisians.
“This research reveals that the policies we are implementing to clean the air we breathe and restrict the polluting diesel and petrol vehicles will add three weeks onto the life of every citizen, whilst also preventing climate change.
“If the policies are escalated to cities and regions around the world, the health benefits will affect tens of thousands of people. Now we see just how dangerous those forces who want to prevent the shift to clean and healthy streets really are. Nothing will hold us back.”
Schwarzenegger, who regularly uses public hire bikes on his travels in cities around the world, gave his support to Hidalgo.
He said: “As we both know, Governors and Mayors have a duty to protect the health and safety of their citizens, and air pollution is one of the greatest threats to mankind, with over 7 million people dying worldwide every year.
“Together, through the R20 and C40, we will inspire subnational leaders around the globe to focus on the immediate dangers and health impacts of fossil fuels,” he added.