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WA legislator: “Cyclists’ increased respiration” leads to air pollution – UPDATED

Posted by on March 2nd, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Rep. Ed Orcutt thinks that “bicyclists
are actually polluting when they ride” because,
“the act of riding a bike results in greater
emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider.”

A high-ranking Washington legislator has added insult to injury in his support for a bike tax by claiming that bicycling is not environmentally friendly because people who ride bikes pollute the air when they breathe.

An email that surfaced online today from Washington State Representative Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama) outlines his position on the transportation tax recently proposed by Democrats in the Washington legislature (read update below for source of the email). As we shared a few weeks ago, part of the tax package includes a tax on the sale of bicycles. Rep. Orcutt is staunchly opposed to taxes of any kind and is even opposed to the gas tax increases in this legislation; but in an email dated February 25th, Orcutt expresses his support for the bicycle tax provision. Most of his argument is not terribly surprising: He believes only people who drive pay for the roads, “So it only makes sense that bicyclists would be required to pay for the ‘roads’ they use.”

But in his email (full text below) that was posted to Twitter this morning by Seattle resident Astrid Rial and has been authenticated by Seattle Bike Blog he writes, “bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride” because, “the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider.”

Here’s the entire text of Orcutt’s email:

“I am not a fan of the House Transportation tax proposal, nor of many tax proposals, but I have to admit I think there are valid reasons to tax bicycles. Think about this for a moment: Currently motorists are paying to use their cars on the roads while they are actually driving their cars. At the same time they are paying for bike lanes because there is no gas tax — or any transportation tax — generated by the act of riding on the roadways. So, if cars pay for the roads they are using, it only makes sense that bicyclists would also be required to ‘pay’ for the roads they use when they are actually biking on them.

Also, you claim that is is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken a cyclists [sic] has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.

I know, you own a car and drive so you are paying gas tax — but not while you are riding your bike. When you are driving your car and generating gas tax you are also driving on the roads so are only really paying for the roads while driving — not while biking.

Sorry, but I do think that bicyclists need to start paying for the roads they ride on rather than make motorists pay.

Ed

It does not appear that Orcutt’s pollution theory is tied to his support of a bike tax; but it’s troubling nonetheless.

Rep. Orcutt is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, so he could hold some sway in the larger debate over this tax proposal.

UPDATE, 2:52 pm: Turns out the email was originally circulated by Cascade Bicycle Club. They’ve posted the full backstory.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Goats
Guest

Cyclist use more are per minute than a person walking but we suspect that the distance travelled per minute more than negates this and actually cyclists use LESS air than pedestrians to get to work.

Some clever human should know the answer to this we are sure, but obviously it is not this guy.

We love you humans (even the dumber ones).

XOXO

Goats

longgone
Guest
longgone

If we do in fact produce less Co2 than peds, I wish to only be taxed for milage on accents. I can hold my breath for nearly two blocks at a time on flat roads with a mild cadence. In addition, I think one could ride for a mile or more downhill without breathing. We should have a sliding scale for Vo2 max intake if Rep. Orcutt is acurate in his science.

longgone
Guest
longgone

oops, typed too fast! Two mistakes there. sorry.

Christian
Guest

I found a quote from the article in Scientific American that Steve Jobs referred to in his “The computer is a bicycle for our minds”-video.

Apparently its from the december issue of 1972:

“When one compares the energy consumed in moving a certain distance as a function of body weight for a variety of animals and machines, one finds that an unaided walking man does fairly well (consuming about .75 calorie per gram per kilometer), but he is not as efficient as a horse, a salmon, or a jet transport. With the aid of a bicycle, however, the man’s energy consumption for a given distance is reduced to about a fifth (roughly .15 calorie per gram per kilometer). Therefore, apart from increasing his unaided speed by a factor of three or four, the cyclist improves his efficiency rating to No. 1 among moving creatures and machines.- Stuart S. Wilson, Scientific American (1973)”

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

And I suppose it’s “intemperate” to call this guy out for being the d*mbf*ck that he is.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Truly, this man can take d*mbf*ckery to an entirely new level.

Ron
Guest
Ron

You would think so, but every few weeks another Tea Partier makes a statement changing the fundamental laws of sceibnce and physics. I am looking forward to the next one.

patrickz
Guest
patrickz

…that’s why I never smoke when I ride —why worsen the damage?

Tacoma
Guest
Tacoma

Thank you, Jonathan, for your efforts to expose and fight ignorance. My donation is on its way.

Tanner
Guest
Tanner

best laugh in days

John Lascurettes
Guest

I’d laugh, or more likely cry, but the sound would be muffled right now with my face buried in my palm.

AzZenCyckist
Guest
AzZenCyckist

I think you can kiss the “bike tax idea” goodbye. This guy has just united the opposition better than anyone else could. Thanks Ed, for your enlightened comments!

are
Guest

in theory the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans is part of a closed system, but that system would not be called upon to support eight or nine billion humans were it not for the exploitation of stored carbon. to the extent the cyclist is sustaining her respiration from locally grown foods, and to the extent the frame and componentry on the bike is recycled, she is not adding to the problem. but outside those exceptions, we are all contributing to the problem. motorists moreso, of course, because they are literally burning stored carbon, but all of us in some degree.

Jolly Dodger
Guest

Years ago a study was done overseas that proved lung capacity and the ability to metabolize oxygen was increased after ingesting cannabis (marijuana) – … should there be a law requiring cyclists to minimize CO2 impact in ‘any way’ possible? I’d rather not quit riding to save the planet…even if no new taxes are ever created again. God, what a dumb ass. Can’t even believe we have no way of gauging a candidates actual intelligence before we elect them.
http://www.naturalnews.com/035980_cannabis_smokers_cancer.html

Tom
Guest
Tom

Jonathan,

Your arguments are as absurd as the politicians (who, I think was making a wisecrack as opposed to an argument). ” As explained here, when we breath out carbon dioxide we are simply recycling it back to the earth.”

In the link it states that ” All the carbon in our body comes either directly or indirectly from plants, which took it out of the air only recently.” As opposed to the carbon from vehicles burning fossil fuels that came from where. Let’s think, where do those dang fossil fuels come from – oh, right, plants.

Our education systems is a mess…

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Thanks Tom. I’ve taken out that portion of the story because I don’t want to derail this into an argument over GHG emissions and such. You’re right, I may not have had that argument just right and I should be more careful before weighing into such matters.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Kudos to you for staying focused. On that point, what is the argument then, that cyclists should NOT be taxed ? Or that the Congressman made a stupid comment (which is no surprise on either side of the aisle) ?

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Tom, do you ride a bicycle? Do you pay taxes? I don’t know any bicyclists who don’t pay taxes (exept a few kids).

If your question is more about how our roads are already payed for by all users, try this thread: http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3785

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

“what is the argument then, that cyclists should NOT be taxed ?”

I think you are asking the wrong question, Tom. It should be directed at HOW much should riders/drivers be taxed because of the fact that auto drivers are heavily subsidized in this area well beyond that of cyclists. Frankly, as a bike rider I’d expect a refund for lack of wear and tear on roads if I’m held to the same taxation standard as auto drivers. (And , yes, I have a car and drive. Just not much.)

are
Guest

as i pointed out elsewhere on this thread, the difference is that the plants from which automobiles derive carbon have been stored outside the cycle for millions of years, and are now being released all at once.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Well, as ‘are’ mentions, yes, fossil fuels come from plants, but those plants died over a span of millions of years–millions of years ago. They accumulated. Have you compared the biomass that went into the creation of all the fossil fuel that existed before we discovered it and the total living biomass that exists on earth today? I haven’t, but I have an idea which one would be greater. We’re making $1000.00 withdrawals from an account that was built up with penny deposits. We’re returning all the carbon from the dinosaurs’ environment to our current environment. What was the climate like back then?

The key in what it sounds like Jonathan has removed from the article is the word “recently”.

Christian
Guest

I’m not sure that’s correct. AFAIK the fossile fuel base, eg oil, is carbon monoxide bound to the soil. Meaning its not really a part of the active eco system until its freed, eg burned in a car.

Whereas the carbon monoxide from humans is actually still a part of the active eco system of today, and thus poses less strain on the environment.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

How many people voted this moron in? It is a sad thing to say about our neighbor to the north.

Tom M
Guest
Tom M

We need to educate people that the Tea Party, Faux News, and Roger Ailes are not their friends. BTW Ed Orcutt is a member of the Tea Party. This is what you get for electing the 1% cronies.

Tom
Guest
Tom

now, that was a stretch.

bhance
Guest
bhance

This cyclist’s respiration is indeed increased right now, because I’m laughing at this guy. And his future. Thanks, Ed!

michael downes
Guest
michael downes

Boy…. what a knucklehead!

jim
Guest
jim

You certainly don’t want to be in one of those tents full of cyclists after a long ride.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Is it April Fools Day already ? that can’t be real …must have come from The Onion, right ?

Pete
Guest
Pete

Saved me from typing… almost word for word!

Ed: “Cars” don’t pay for roads… deficit spending does.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Science!

davemess
Guest
davemess

No Joke! As a scientist I am continually dumbfounded that people in positions of authority/power in our government (for the most part) do not have the most basic understanding of how science works. Not only that, it really irks me that they can’t just admit this and talk to someone who does. Instead they make stuff up or regurgitate someone else’ made up stuff. Just really sad.
I feel like the average high schooler (who at least stays awake through biology) could factcheck all over this guy!

Seth D. Alford
Guest
Seth D. Alford

Anyone know of a place to donate money to whatever Democrat runs against this guy in 2014?

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

Doesn’t carbon dioxide feed trees, though?

I think he’s getting it confused with carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons, benzene, methane, aldehydes and VOCs.

But let’s worry about cyclists exhaling plant food.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Yes, trees do take in carbon dioxide but that rate slows as the tree matures. That’s why logging and forestry, if done right, can be sustainable and healthy industry to support rather than something to outright ban.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I suspect that this guy has his head shoved up a certain orifice, the greenhouse gas he’s used to is methane

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Someone should tell him that he’ll get the environmental vote if just holds his breath so he isn’t contributing to greenhouse gasses.
He should start holding his breath now to get a head start on the next election cycle… and not stop.

Maybe he could feed himself to sharks, piranhas or Necrotizing fasciitis; it’s all natural and good for the environment because we wouldn’t have to deal with his hot CO2 anymore.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

His worse contribution to global warming is clearly the hot air he’s full of. Sad thing for Washington state…

Chainwhipped
Guest
Chainwhipped

Somebody cancel every athletics program everywhere, Quick!

Be sure to keep Deer from running, birds from flying, dogs from barking, volcanoes from erupting . . . I was unaware that the Washington Legislature was drawing talent from Special Ed classes.

Somebody give this a**h*le the air pollution stats from China pre-car vs. China post-car and video tape his response.

I wonder if he’d rather inhale directly from his car’s tailpipe or from the mouth of Liz Hatch.

karld
Guest
karld

Any 10 grade government class could do this.

9watts
Guest
9watts

We’ve discussed this before, but I think it worth documenting once more:

“So, if cars pay for the roads they are using, it only makes sense that bicyclists would also be required to ‘pay’ for the roads they use when they are actually biking on them.”

Notice how the comparison he makes is between cars and bicyclists. Cars make their drivers invisible. But many of us find that on a bike we are very much recognized–for better or worse–as an individual, a person, and sometimes as a non-taxpayer.
Of course, no shred of his argument makes any sense, quite apart from this little slip.

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

1) He’s admitting to excess CO2 is a problem.
2) Car CO2 comes from the ancient carbon cycle, not the current carbon cycle.
3) If bikes should pay for roads, the cars should pay for roads equally. Let’s go pound per pound or CO2 per CO2 emissions. Also, I’d like to have free bike parking on every street and be able to or at least feel safe when riding down Hawthorne, Burnside, Sandy…etc.
4) Justice issues should be the same too, and so far, they are far from equal.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

This is Nut-Punch politics 101, something republicans (and Tea Partiers in particular) have perfected over time to such a perfect degree that they really can’t do anything else even if they wanted to.

Here, I’ll say something so absurd, so idiotic and so illogical that we’ll both just stand around and argue about whether it’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard, I’ll pretend like I actually believe it, and magically when it’s all said and done, we won’t spend any time discussing what’s actually going on. And then it just goes away and nothing progresses. Rinse, wash and repeat.

And of course, the irony beyond that point is that, I guarantee you, if you were to ask this guy about the issue of C02 emissions on the environment with the bicycling context completely removed, he wouldn’t hesitate to fall back immediately on the position that it’s totally without merit, scientifically, and is a hoax perpetrated by the elite liberal academic establishment, and doesn’t even deserve one second of discussion. And then would just look at you, blink, and walk away.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Sorry, but I do think that bicyclists need to start paying for the roads they ride on rather than make motorists pay.”

He’s also a terrible writer. I don’t think he meant to use the word rather in that sentence. If he did it would make even less sense than all the rest of what he says–if he thinks those biking should pay for the roads they ride on rather than those driving.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Mr. Orcutt could have avoided that foot-in-mouth display had he only read BikePortland more diligently:

New study compares bicycling’s CO2 emissions to other modes

When the complete life cycle of each mode is calculated, here’s how they stack up (results in grams of CO2 per passenger per kilometer traveled):

Bicycle: 21 g
Electric-assist bicycle: 22 g (e-bikes scored well due to larger range of standard bicycle and therefore greater chance to replace passenger car trips)
Passenger car: 271 g (based on short trips similar to those a bicycle could make)
Bus: 101 g

BTW, El Biciclero, I know you weren’t being literal but as long as we’re talking about it, the Carboniferous period was 360-290 million years ago. The age of dinosaurs was 135 million to 66 million ybp.

KEH
Guest
KEH

Your post just backed him. The study shows bikers pollute.. just maybe less than hydrocarbon based transportation. But is it less than pur electric (using hydropower) or telecommuting.. probably not. Science and stringent enviromental attitudes suck when they get applied to what you like to do in life.. don’t they.. 🙂

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

The legislator has it all wrong. His understanding of the carbon cycle is entirely incorrect. He is fortuitously less wrong than he could have been, but not by any of his stated understanding of science.

Food miles do matter. Eating locally grown plants has a lower CO2 output, from SHIPPING and manufacture than meat or plants imported. One particularly poor food seems to be pineapples flown in from warmer places.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Food miles do matter.”

Well, sort of. Food miles (in this discussion) matter only insofar as the we’re talking about the food that the person-on-bike eats to propel him/herself, above and beyond what person-in-car has eaten. Now we’re getting into the weeds. Ken Kifer does/did a nice job on this question:
http://web.archive.org/web/20120212055922/http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/advocacy/bike_co2.htm

was carless
Guest
was carless

KEH, you are completely mistaken. CO2 is [b]NOT a pollutant[/b]. While it is true that it is a GHG, it is not a pollutant. Every living organism on the planet earth emits CO2 as part of its natural cycle.

Most automobiles burn fossil-fuels as part of the operations of the internal COMBUSTION engine. By their very definition, fossil fuels are composed of SEQUESTERED carbon; ie, carbon that was NOT part of the Earth’s carbon cycle. Sequestered carbon has NO IMPACT on the earth’s atmosphere and does not impact the greenhouse effect, as it is not in gaseous form.

Once you convert sequestered carbon into a gas and release it into the atmosphere, then it does. And that’s the problem.

Note that animals and plants do not grow from oil and coal, plants sequester CO2 [b]from[/b] the atmosphere and make them into glucose, which you eat.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Where to begin? *sigh*

Science and stringent enviromental attitudes suck when they get applied to what you like to do in life.

So far that has not been my experience, nor is it the conclusion I draw from Mr. Orcutt’s fallacy.

Mr. Orcutt’s message compares cars to bikes, throughout. It is disingenuous to compare cars and bikes but to then suddenly take an absolutist view of one or the other, out of context.

Bike riders, like any other artificial category of people, exhale more CO2 while exerting than while at rest, it’s true. But (like everyone else) those who are more fit from more exercise also exhale less CO2 while at rest than those who are less fit. I don’t know where the crossover point falls, but I’m willing to concede that the small difference in increased total CO2 emission has a very positive return-on-investment for the more fit segment of the population, and in turn on the greater community in which they live.

There’s a vocal group of tax reformers calling for “flat rate” income taxes. Note the word “rate;” they are still calling for a PERCENTAGE of income, just not a variable (progressive) rate. They are not calling for a single, equal sum from every citizen. Many other tax reformers suggest linking taxes more directly to those who benefit from them. I agree there’s often a positive value to such a policy, such as in the case of public roads. See Table 4 of Whose Roads for how that sort of equity would play out in the case of cars and bikes.

And of course, it’s still totally hilarious that a member of the Tea Party–with its central tenet against taxes–proposes to tax breathing. Somehow, I’m not surprised when such politicians target a group that’s often portrayed in the mainstream media as a scapegoat.

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

If I lived in Kalama (or anywhere in Washington, for that matter) I’d be highly embarrassed by this example of the decline in science education & critical thinking in my state. No amount of ridicule is enough for this jack@ss. (Can I say “jack@ss” here? jack@ss, jack@ss, jack@ss… repeat ad infinitum.)

KEH
Guest
KEH

Umm I would be embarrased to not know he is correct. If CO2 is now a pollutant and you put out more CO2 than someone not biking like a passenger on electric transportation OR a telecommuter than its a fact. Shocked ad the knee-jerk politics that stopped people from doing a simple scientific analysis based on current environmental assumptions. But the fact is even if driving a car pollutes MORE that doesn’t mean a biker POLLUTES ZERO.Just less. Just the facts.. he was right and educated people understand that.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Regarding CO2: it is not a pollutant. See my post above.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

I suppose it could be considered a pollutant in the same sense that H2O was a pollutant in New Orleans/Katrina.

KEH
Guest
KEH

I thought bike riders were more into Science and Fairness…
FACT.. there has been a lot of money spent in many cities removing parking for bike lanes. And Still I find bikers riding in the street slowing traffic. So time to be part of the community folks and pay your fair share.. if you can afford a $500 Bike you can afford to help with the costs of society. BTW.. Since CO2 is now a pollutant and you put it out by converting organic carbon into CO2 you are polluting… he didn’t say if it was the best choice.. Question is what pollutes more.. a biker or someone sitting on a light rail seat or electric car seat powered by hydro power? The biker does.. as Hydropower has no CO2 emissions.. Odd that you all don’t get that.. SCIENCE.. All he was pointing out was that when you apply the same standards to BIKES that we insist on almost everything else including talking about Cows adding to the greenhouse gasses with Methane.. then yes it is a fact Bikers pollute and if you live in a region with electric cars and transit and hydro power.. you put more CO2 out in a bike ride than a passenger on those kinds of transportation.. Of course he never said he wanted to take away your bikes.. like so many things are being taken away by other political forces..

9watts
Guest
9watts

“And Still I find bikers riding in the street slowing traffic.”

Funny. Why do I pass cars queuing all the time? Seems they are slowing themselves down without any input from me.

Ron
Guest
Ron

“And Still I find bikers riding in the street slowing traffic. So time to be part of the community folks and pay your fair share.. if you can afford a $500 Bike you can afford to help with the costs of society. ”
As 9Watts says, car traffic slows you down more than bikes. And I am very confident that my share of contribution to the “costs of society” are more than appropriate. What a loutish assumption to make; if you ride bikes, you don’t pay taxes, contribute to charity, buy gas, volunteer your time. Blah.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

according to the faux-moralists on this thread the act of respiration is “polluting” because it generates greenhouse gases. putting aside the obvious problem that some of these same moralists believe that anthropogenic climate change is a lie, i would hope that these moralists would also consider abstaining from sex, vigorous exercise, and walking up stairs. and then there is the problem that human respiration as a producer of greenhouse gases is like a drop in the bucket compared to the farts of the ruminants we torture and kill unnecessarily for nothing more than cruel pleasure. so i would also propose that those concerned about cyclist respiration would consider forgoing hamburgers, hotdogs, and bbq.

KEH
Guest
KEH

Thanks for proving the point.. you assume you are too good to be part of the system. No one ever said you don’t pay taxes. but the trend now is TAX EVERYTHING.. tax gas, tax trips, tax parks .. but no Bikers don’t want their activity taxed. I pay taxes income, etc. That has never been an excuse to not pay MORE TAXES when they invent a new one. As to Pollution.. if you assume human activity that adds CO2 to the atmosphere and is a problem.. then it all counts.. it counts if you burn a log, it counts if you breath.. fewer people breathing less CO2 .. OH EXCEPT if your are on a Bike its magic.. Its like saying calories eaten with diet food are not calories.. they are.. and biking adds some CO2… stop acting like you are too good to have your activity taxed and your CO2 is special. it really makes you look anti-social.. again no one wants to take your bikes. BTW yes cars have other reasons to go slow. but if there is a bike lane.. why would you ride in the street and add a NEW reason for a car to go slow. It seams rather then dealing with FACTS like adults many of the comments are like a child saying “But bobby does it more!! ” Grow up pay the fee and accept the science if humans are changing the environment ALL humans are even bike riders.. (what energy and polution came form the creation of the bike) get over your idea that you are just so special and join the human race bikers.. 🙂

9watts
Guest
9watts

That must be quite a burden – running (I mean walking) around with that many chips on your shoulders.

Maybe you should read up a little on
* taxes
* carbon cycle
* tone of voice

See, if you want to talk about taxes, let’s talk also about what we get for them. One reason folks in this country–at least those I know–may not like to pay taxes all that much is that we get so little useful for them. Most of our taxes go to pay interest and kill people in other countries. Other countries with which I am familiar have things arranged where their citizens get lots of useful things for their taxes, and guess what? They don’t mind paying (much higher) taxes than we do. So would I if we all got free
+ education
+ health care
+ unemployment benefits
+ paternity leave
+ top notch infrastructure for all transport modes
+ representative government (the opposite of Citizens United)
etc.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i can’t even imagine how much it must suck to live in such a very black and white world. i have absolutely no problem with gray — even secular humanist gray. just because i cannot be perfect (e.g. dead) i am not going to stop doing LESS HARM.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“you assume you are too good to be part of the system. No one ever said you don’t pay taxes.”

Isn’t this a contradiction? How can someone who pays taxes not be “part of the system”. You are also assuming that someone else is making an assumption. Compound assumptions can’t be good…

“…the trend now is TAX EVERYTHING.. tax gas, tax trips, tax parks…”

Who’s taxing trips, and whose trips are taxed? I know trucks pay weight-mile, but do you? We all chip in for weight-mile taxes when we buy goods shipped by truck.

“As to Pollution.. if you assume human activity that adds CO2 to the atmosphere and is a problem.. then it all counts..”

Is there a “pollution tax” on vehicle use now? I drive a car and I don’t think I’ve paid my pollution tax, or CO2 tax, or CO tax or MTBE tax, or thermal pollution tax, or unburned hydrocarbon tax, or NOX tax, or particulate tax, or ozone tax, or stormwater run-off tax, or… If it all counts, then are you ready to pay the meat tax, the running tax, the gym tax, the, ahem, “amorous exertion” tax, etc.?

“stop acting like you are too good to have your activity taxed and your CO2 is special.”

Um, well, the activity that supposedly justifies being taxed is breathing. If there were something more closely related to riding a bike for transportation that justified taxation–and was applied across the board, to all transportation modes–maybe you could call cyclists “anti-social”. Oh, and CO2 produced from human respiration IS special–as others have mentioned–in that it is not CO2 that has been unlocked after millions of years of being out of circulation. CO2 released from breathing probably just came out of the system recently as a result of growing food. See Dr2Chase’s excellent comment for further details.

“…but if there is a bike lane.. why would you ride in the street and add a NEW reason for a car to go slow[?]”

Ah. I see you haven’t ridden a bike for transportation on any kind of regular basis, or you would know the answer to this. I could show you video of why–from my own daily riding–but that’s a hassle and the reasoning would likely still be lost on someone without more riding experience. Short answer is “safety”, which I know seems counter-intuitive to someone who doesn’t ride, but there it is.

“if humans are changing the environment ALL humans are even bike riders..”

So, you’re ready to grow up and pay your own breathing tax?

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

The most efficient human transportation is obtained by using hydro power to cover the energy inputs to the production of oats, which yield five calories of output for every calorie of energy input (1). Cook those oats in a solar cooker or on top of a wood stove (using hand cut and split firewood, of course) and feed them to a cyclist, who will burn them with about 25% efficiency. The energy amplification provided by the oats more than covers the inefficiency of the human engine, so the net is more miles per gallon, without the added inefficiency of lugging around relatively heavy batteries and electric motors. Oats also store well, unlike electrical energy.

In addition, it is well known that humans need exercise to stay relatively healthy, so this energy that would normally be wasted in the gym is instead put to good use for transportation. Not everyone takes the trouble to get enough exercise, but for those who do, replacing unproductive exercise with utility cycling is a pure energy win, above and beyond the careful choice of food.

“Science”, my ass. Some of us actually read this stuff just for fun. I own paper copies of both books listed below.

(1) Pimentel & Pimentel, “Food, Energy, and Society”
(2) Wilson, “Bicycling Science”

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I think this guy received his education at the same place Backmann and Beohner went to. Maybe he read about this tax plan and justifications for it in some ALEC publication about the horrors of Agenda 21 and how to prevent it.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Hee hee! Republicans like this guy, Todd Aiken and Sarah Palin are very intellegent in the ways of science.

Dan
Guest
Dan

If we’re talking about taxing, let’s include road wear.

A US GAO study (http://archive.gao.gov/f0302/109884.pdf) showed that a single 18-wheeler at the federal limit of 80,000lbs, weighing 20x as much as a 4000lb passenger car, does 9600x the amount of road damage as the car. A 4000lb passenger car weighs 20x as much as a 200lb bike w/rider. Suppose you calculate road damage for a car, compared to a bike. If it’s $1/year for a bike, it would be $9600/year for a car. The semi truck would pay $92,160,000. And that’s not even factoring in mileage (surely a semi truck travels more annually than I do on my bike).

From this article: http://www.vabike.org/vehicle-weight-and-road-damage/

Last of the Mohicans
Guest
Last of the Mohicans

Hmmm…..Yup, time to change Representative and diaper for the same reason.

9watts
Guest
9watts

KEH: “your CO2 is special”

Actually, as many sensible folks in this conversation have already pointed out, exhaled CO2 is quite un-special. We’ve been doing this for hundreds of thousands of years with no ill effects that I’ve heard of. What is special is the CO2 that cars and trucks and the manufacture of concrete for freeway expansions emit. And don’t start on the ‘what energy and polution came form the creation of the bike’ riff. That is like saying to someone ‘are your shoe laces made from nylon? See, you are creating climate change and your activities should be taxed.’ You know nothing about how many decades of use I or anyone else who bikes may have gotten out of their bike or shoe laces, or how to compare those to the typical alternatives.

Oregon Mamacita
Guest
Oregon Mamacita

Wowza. You know that a Republican has made an amazingly dumb comment when Nine Watts & I can agree. You would think that certain branches of the Republican party would have learned a lesson from Aiken’s “legitimate rape” remark. But no. The amazingly dumb remarks continue.

Brian
Guest
Brian

What this representative seems to forget is that the majority of bicycle riders also own a motor vehicle. As a driver, we get hit for gas tax and now they want to tax us as bike riders for trying to be “green” and cut down on pollution. This would be a great time for a scientist to jump with a study showing the amount of CO2 that comes out of a bike rider vs the pollution that comes out of a car.

Tony
Guest
Tony

I guess that carpooling is environmentally destructive too because those extra people in the car with you will be breathing as well and making more CO2!

Kenji
Guest

Time to tax chili and beans! Methane is a worse greenhouse gas! 😛

Spiffy
Guest

as a burrito eating bicycle rider I’m the worst polluter on the planet…

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I doubt that… I get double beans on my burritos. Yes, Mr. Orcutt, I pass gas (http://rlv.zcache.com/pass_gas_sticker-p217879276625905491en8ct_400.jpg) every chance I get.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

The primary flaw in Mr Orcutt’s statement is that a driver is only paying for the road WHEN they use it…..e.g., a pure user fee assessed in real time.

Since we pay through this resource through taxation, we are paying for it’s existence (and therefore we all have partial ownership) and not necessarily its usage.

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

Let me guess. The guy’s a Ronald Reagan fan. This kind of dumb just never seems to go away.

“Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” — Ronald Reagan, 1981

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

A conservative blogger in Vancouver has picked this up. Let’s see some well reasoned responses over there.

Rep Ed Orcutt to Bicyclists, “Pay Your Fair Share”
BY LEWWATERS/a>

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

here’s a non-broken URL to it 🙂

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

or not, as the case may be. not sure why it’s not working. here, printed out in full:

http://lewwaters.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/rep-ed-orcutt-to-bicyclists-pay-your-fair-share/#more-10173

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

Thanks Alan, it looks like I broke my HTML code by deleting the “arrow” when I copy and pasted.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

methane is worse for global warming than CO2, next this guy will be asking for a tax on bean dip.

sciencesque
Guest
sciencesque

I hope everyone has emailed Ed to let him know how well with “argument” has gone over with reasonable, educated people.
ed.orcutt@leg.wa.gov

sciencesque
Guest
sciencesque

I hope everyone has emailed Ed to let him know how well with “argument” has gone over with reasonable, educated people.
ed.orcutt@leg.wa.gov

Jay
Guest
Jay

Wow.

007
Guest
007

More proof the Republican party is irrelevant.

Hood River Betsy
Guest
Hood River Betsy

Not true, a vote’s a vote and they accept money from lobbyists with the best of them!

Dan
Guest
Dan

Wow, how embarassing for his constituents… And this is the guy that WON the election…

Dan
Guest
Dan

Mmm, since my garden takes in carbon dioxide and puts out oxygen, can I get a tax credit?

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Dumb. As. Rocks.

Al from PA
Guest
Al from PA

Breath-taking.