Gallery: Washington State Official Says Cyclists Emit More CO2 Than Mot...


Photo via Shutterstock

In a bid to raise funds for a $10 billion transportation bill in Washington State, legislators want to impose a $25 tax on all bicycles that cost more than $500. When local business owners and Seattle Bike Blog contacted Washington Rep. Ed Orcutt (R), a member of the State Transportation Committee, to question the tax, Orcutt claimed that cyclists are contributing nothing to use the roads and because of their high heart and respiration rate, they produce greater carbon emissions than motorists.

Photo via Shutterstock

“Sorry, but I do think that bicyclists need to start paying for the roads they ride on rather than make motorists pay,” Orcutt told Dale Carlson, owner of Bike Tech in Tacoma, in an email. Which doesn’t seem so unreasonable, but his reasoning when speaking to Seattle Bike Blog was a little less coherent.

“A cyclists [sic] has an increased heart rate and respiration,” Orcutt said. “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.”

Small business owners that sell bicycles are concerned that the additional red tape and costs associated with the new tax law will hurt their business. Others point out that Washington State cyclists pay for roads in a variety of other ways, according to The Examiner.

“People who bicycle already pay substantial taxes for our transportation system, including the sales taxes, property taxes and federal taxes that together cover two-thirds of all transportation spending in Washington,” said Evan Manvel, a writer for Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club.

Meanwhile, he adds, bicyclists are required to pay the same car tabs even if they don’t use their cars as regularly as other motorists. Here’s a question: why is Orcutt going after bicyclists for a mere $1 million in bike taxes when vehicular carbon emissions are the real enemy?

Via The Examiner


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  1. Manta March 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    What next? .. a tax on breathing?

  2. Sharon Maynard March 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Dahhh! I am glad that he doesn’t represent my district. I would be embarrassed! Of course they emit more CO2, the motorists are sitting in giant carriers belching other toxins.

    If you want to propose a tax on cyclists, at least use a sane, credible reason like, “we want more money.”

  3. David Engensperger March 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Who’s your puppeteer Orcutt?

  4. Nicolas Barthe March 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm
  5. Arno Van Den Bos March 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    The argument that cyclists emit more CO2 is ridiculous. The carbon emitted by breathing came from food, which is ultimately plants that absorbed the carbon from the atmosphere not so long ago, so this is a short carbon cycle, as opposed to the carbon from fossil fuels, which was stored under ground not so long ago. And how much more energy is needed to move over a tonne of steel vs the weight of a bike? Cars also emit NOx, VOCs, CO, ozone, particulate matter etc, all serious polluters.

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