The Daily Bike, March 5, 2013

dailybikenewsigns of the apocalypse 660Washington State’s proposed transportation bill has been highly controversial among cyclists, primarily because it proposes a tax on bikes but also because despite that tax it would devote little to the encouragement of cycling or cycling infrastructure. But now, thanks to a state representative, whose nationwide brethren and sistren are always reliable when you need to inject a dose of the absurd to real issues, is justifying the tax because bicyclists emit carbon.

“You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,” Representative Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama) told Tom Fucoloro of the Seattle Bike Blog.

In an exchange with Dale Carlson, highlighted above, owner of Bike Tech shops in Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, Orcutt elaborated, “Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclists has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.”

You’re exactly right, Ed. Now let’s all get out there and ride our bikes, making the world a much, much more polluted place.

{ 16 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Michael B.

    Good idea. Go one step further and start taxing that can result in heavy breathing to help offset all that “pollution” people generate… Or better yet, we should all just stay home and try to breath as little as possible.

  • Zac Smith

    A study showed that taking a car 15,000 miles resulted in 3810 kg of CO2 emissions, and that taking a bike the same distance it a speed of 15mph showed an emission of 372kg. Only a tenth of the cars emission.

  • Craig Rowe

    So, by his rationale, jogging, intense climbing, skinning up the mountain … anything that includes intense exercise, is a source of pollution.

    Just so we’re clear on that.

  • Troy Tritschler

    Technically and absurdly, he is correct, but does he really believe that elevated human respiration contributes anything near significant pollutants in comparison with exhaust gasses for millions of internal combustion engines. The net gain of getting people out of the cars and onto bicycles is so lopsided, I don’t know how anyone can make this argument with a straight face. I think there should be a minimum IQ requirement to run for political office, just as there is an age requirement to run for the Presidency!

    • steve casimiro Post author

      Actually, from what I understand, for most statewide offices, there’s a maximum IQ requirement. Nothing over two digits, I believe.

  • Jill

    Ha! That guy is never going to live that ridiculous statement down.
    Also, just to clear it up for the record, he is NOT correct. Humans do not add additional carbon dioxide into the environment by breathing- all the carbon dioxide we exhale has already been accounted for in terms of the carbon budget. The carbon we breathe comes from cell respiration when we eat- so, we are recycling carbon from the plants (and the animals that ate those plants) that removed that carbon from the atmosphere that we use as food- it is closed cycle (we only exhale what we first consumed, not more).So, there is no net carbon gain or loss added by humans exhaling (unlike other carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, for example). So: bicycle (and run and ski and hike and breathe heavily all you want as you do) away!

  • Jason Schroeder

    To expand on Craig’s comment, if human CO2 emissions are considered pollution, shouldn’t we really be taxing breathing then? And if so, why limit it to breathing while cycling? That’s just arbitrary.

  • merl

    The idea that cyclists should pay rego or other taxes is ridiculous.
    What most fail to realise is that car rego and gas taxes dont cover the total costs of roads infrastructure. This means that even if you dont drive at all, but are a regular tax payer, you are still paying for roads, etc.. of course, we dont begrudge this as we still rely on the roads for all sorts of other things, such as food deliveries to our locale.
    i believe anything that discourages people from using alternate transport solutions is a waste, of time, money (think of the beauracracy,) and effort.

  • JWLane

    An SUV weighs about 8000 lbs. A loaded tractor trailer rig is about 25,000 for the tractor, and 48,000 for the trailer (if the load is even near legal limits) . A loaded cargo bike with rider reasonably tops out around 225 lbs. Gee, I wonder what puts the most wear on roads and infrastructure?

    That’s OK. Fracking is the last gasp of cheap fuel. According to Fuel Fix – 30% of the Bakken field gas is being flared off to get to oil faster. And, all the fracked wells play out much, much faster than conventional wells. The predictions of 30 year reserves are oil business spin to hold down alternatives from development. I’ll be shocked if these plays last 10 years. So, you go Ed, you moron.

  • Steve

    Hmmm.. Toll booths to collect tolls from hitch hikers and those walking from stranded cars.

    What about passengers in a vehicle – they are parasites as much as a biker. And they give off more pollutants just from their added weight to get them down the road.

    I’m guessing the representative was injecting some levity. If not, then join my grass roots effort with the call to, “Recall your Congressman”. Or RyC for short. Rhymes with bike.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>