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.

Polititainment

Jenner comes out as trans, Republican
Former Olympian and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star Bruce Jenner finally revealed that he identifies as a woman in his Friday night “20/20″ interview with Diane Sawyer, but it was a different announcement that had viewers freaking out. Sawyer asked if Jenner cheered when President Obama became the first president to even say the […]
Waka Flocka Flame endorses Hillary

Just days after announcing his own candidacy for president in 2016, Waka Flocka Flame is endorsing Hillary Clinton for the White House. The Atlanta rapper said during a recent interview with MTV News that he will vote for Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Obama honors New England Patriots

President Obama honored the Super Bowl Champion football team on the South Lawn, kicking off his remarks with a joke about the team's long since past "Deflate Gate" controversy.

Olivia Wilde endorses Hillary Clinton

Actress Olivia Wilde is "excited" by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The film star, who campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, expressed her enthusiasm for the "political discussions" that result from election season during a recent interview with The Daily Beast.

Robert Downey Jr. walks out of interview

Robert Downey Jr. cut short a recent interview with British Channel 4 News reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy when the journalist questioned the actor about a past statement regarding how being imprisoned impacted his political beliefs.

2016

Sen. Cornyn worried about Clinton transparency

On Jan. 20, 2009, the U.S. Senate was poised to nominate then-Senator Clinton as secretary of State by a unanimous consent vote, but Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Tex.) objected, temporarily thwarting Clinton’s nomination.

Jeb Bush is on the Paleo diet

Jeb Bush is slimming down ahead of his likely 2016 bid for the White House. The former governor of Florida has lost about 30 pounds on the Paleo diet since December, according to a report in The New York Times.

NYT reporter: Hillary calls everything 'off-limits'

New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday that Hillary Clinton ahead of her run for president in 2016 is dismissing every critical report about her as illegitimate and "off-limits."

Seth Meyers defends Hillary Clinton

Seth Meyers defended Hillary Clinton during Thursday's episode of "Late Night," dismissing allegations about the former secretary of State that will be laid out by the forthcoming anti-Clinton book "Clinton Cash."

Rick Perry disagrees with Christie on pot

Rick Perry is against legalizing marijuana--but, unlike Chris Christie, wouldn't "crack down" on states that choose to legalize.

Policy

Obamacare brings growth in food stamp enrollment
CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama’s health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves. New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul are making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit […]
DC gets mad at Gowdy and Buck over gun photo

Reps Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) just dodged a run-in with the D.C. authorities.

The danger of policing through Facebook

These days, everything happens on social media--including solving crime.

Police seized 11-yr-old for defending legal pot

One Kansas school apparently found a child's earnest defense of marijuana legalization so threatening they called the police on his mother.

Support for Obamacare hits surprising high
Support for Obamacare has hit a two-year high, despite the tax season surprises that followed the law this year. According to a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released Tuesday, the percentage of people who say they support the healthcare law is greater than those who oppose it for the first time since the fall of 2012. […]