State Representative says cyclists should be taxed for “emissions”

Ed Orcutt

Think biking to work is good for the environment? Think again, according to Washington state Rep. Ed Orcutt.

Orcutt wrote in a recent email that bicyclists should be taxed due to the greenhouse emissions they cause while riding.

The Republican who represents Kalama wrote in an email that he supports the inclusion of bicycles in the Washington House Transportation tax proposal, even though Orcutt said he’s “not much of a fan” of the proposal in general.

His “valid reasons” are that automobile drivers pay a tax to use the road, but not people who use the bicycle lanes on these roads.

Orcutt then wrote about the environmental impacts of riding a bike, and that’s where it all goes downhill.

“Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike, he wrote. “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.”

That’s not altogether untrue, but certainly overblown. Bicyclists emit about one ounce of carbon dioxide per mile, while cars emit three-quarters of a pound per mile, which includes manufacturing, according to an analysis by the European Cyclists Federation.

The Representative issued a retraction via email on Wednesday.

“First of all, let me apologize for the carbon emissions line of an email which has caused so much concern within the bicycle community,” he said, according to Reuters. “It was over the top and I admit is not one which should enter into the conversation regarding bicycles. Although I have always recognized that bicycling emits less carbon than cars, I see I did a poor job of indicating that within my email.”

If the $10 billion Democrat-introduced transportation proposal passes, the bike sales tax would add $25 on top of bikes costing $500 or more, in addition to the sales tax. Projections show this fee would only bring in $1 million in revenue during the next 10 years.

What’s next — will the Washington state government begin taxing pedestrians who use the roads, too?

Comments

Comments

  1. Roger Mitchell says:

    I think they should be taxes and insured myself I was required to drive on average 100K miles a yr on average as my job in a larger city and I have witnessed many autos wreck to avoid a cyclist with their pants cuffed up and white shirt and tie heading into the office district in their bike lanes . I have came damn close to hitting a few myself as they would swerve from their bike lanes to pass a slower rider I witnessed a lady one day run up under a box truck pulling from the curve as she had to cut her steering wheel hard left to avoid a bike that was flying much faster then the car’s at 25 MPH down the hill on east Cary street , He did not stop he peddled faster I followed him 3 more block and clocked him at 57 mph I saw were he parked and chained his bike and walked in to worked I went back to the scene and told what I had seen as did several others already there.. Guy had no insurance on his bike and the ladies insurance had to pay the bill and her face was tore up ): NOT FAIR if you want to ride the public roads and street I say tax and insurance and some form of registration and a plate with a number to tell who you are just like a car or truck . And this could happen to anyone Judge found him guilty and he was sued for what it was worth ? But he was a young lawyer so I guess the lady got some compensation over the last 30 yrs ?

  2. Richard Shutts says:

    Sir, here we are trying to build up the Republican Party GOP and you say something stupid like this. Are you on the Washington Majaurana? If not all I can say is you can’t fix stupid. Richard

  3. Aaron Mounts says:

    If cycling were more than a fringe means of personal transport, I could agree with the requirements for registration and insurance. I wholly disagree with the tax under all circumstances. That said, law enforcement should be just as (if not more) aggressive against cyclists as they are against drivers. The stakes are far higher for cyclists as almost any impact with a vehicle will be fatal for them. Thus the enforcement of traffic laws and bicycling laws (helmets, reflective gear, lights, etc…) against them must be raised to match those stakes.

  4. UnapologeticallyAmerican says:

    If taxing bicyclists for the emissions they emit riding a bike (CO2), imagine how much we could generate by taxing the House & Senate for all the hot air they produce. We could probably ballance the budget.