Local News

State rep. calls biking bad for the environment, blog says

bikeSEATTLE — Bicyclists and bike lanes have been called a lot of things by temper-prone drivers that share the road.

But bad for the environment?

Well… yeah. They’ve reportedly been called environmentally unfriendly, too.

According to the Seattle Bike Blog and other area blogs supporting bike advocacy, State Representative Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, recently responded to an email from a constituent who questioned the wisdom of a new “bike tax” by saying bikes were bad for the environment.

The bike tax, part of an effort to raise nearly $10 billion over the next 10 years for transportation, would impose an extra 5 percent tax on bike sales in the state.  Proponents of the bike tax say it’s to make up for the taxes and fees cyclists don’t pay in gas taxes.

Dale Carlson, the owner of BikeTech in Tacoma and Olympia, sent a letter to Orcutt saying a bike tax would harm transportation, decrease bike sales and even worsen congestion. Carlson said he wrote the letter to many state legislators, and didn’t expect to get a response.

But, in a surprise reply to Carlson’s email, Orcutt allegedly stated that biking was harmful to the environment because of a cyclist’s “increased heart rate and respiration.” (Full email here)

“That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider,” the email from Orcutt reportedly read. “Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.”

The email’s authenticity could not immediately be independently verified by Q13 FOX News. However, Seattle Bike Blog reportedly contacted Orcutt, who further backed up his assertion that bikes can harm, not help, the environment.

“”You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,” Orcutt reportedly told Seattle Bike Blog.

Orcutt said it was time for bicyclists to start paying more.

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


22 Comments to “State rep. calls biking bad for the environment, blog says”

    John said:
    March 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    So now what, we need to regulate how much people breath? I can see it now as the living tax. Lol

    guest said:
    March 3, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    His response was ridiculous, but I do believe there is validity in the tax. Especially in Seattle there was an enormous amount of money spent on creating the bike lanes; in fact traffic was entirely re-routed to accommodate them, paid for by the extra tab tax on vehicles.
    The notion that a person creates more green house gas harmful to the environment by breathing is absurd though…

    Darrell said:
    March 3, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Well one point I have to agree with, if you are using paved surfaces for transport, you should be taxed on it, especially if you are being provided with special lanes that are only for you. Requiring more paved surface for you to move about is more detrimental to the environment than leaving green strip along roads.

      Guest said:
      March 4, 2013 at 5:55 AM

      Except, most cyclists also own and drive cars, and so are paying the car-related taxes already.

      guest said:
      March 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      how about sidewalks – gym shoe tax?

      prinzrob said:
      March 4, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Local streets and roads are largely funded by non-user fees like sales, property, and payroll taxes that everybody pays, including bicyclists. The idea that gas taxes and vehicle license fees cover local road construction and repair is a widely believed myth. Go ahead and ask your city's transportation engineers, you'll be surprised.

      To the extent that bicycle infrastructure is relatively inexpensive and bicycles put little wear and tear on the pavement, non-drivers are likely contributing more to local transportation budgets that they are taking out.

    John Bailo said:
    March 3, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Bicyclists should be compensated for all the pollution from gasoline based cars.

    Alternatively, sign the petition to Build a Hydrogen Economy:

    Jerry said:
    March 3, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    I'm confused here. Michele Bachmann stated, I believe, that CO2 was NOT a poison or not harmful.

    Conservatives are making me dizzy with their convoluted arguments.

    Craig said:
    March 3, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    So how is it that people aren't already paying for it? Do these people not pay taxes, both Federally and locally? Of course they do. This is sheer nonsense.

    drphudd said:
    March 3, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    If there is a tax, it should take into consideration the difference in pounds per square inch applied to the pavement as well as the surface area tire differentials between cars and bicycles. Really, fair is fair.

    Brendan said:
    March 4, 2013 at 5:36 AM

    We don't tax people who walk on sidewalks.

      Marshall said:
      March 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      not yet at least.

    Mr Holmes said:
    March 4, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Are the lawmakers on CRAK? WTF This cant be for real. Unbelieveable! Someone or a bunch of lawmakers are mentally handicaped and should not be making rediculious laws like bike emissions. They better tax their jet planes oh yea lawmakers dont pay taxes. This kind of thinking belongs in a mental hospital. A bicycle uses less emissions than any other form of transportation. You will not tax for breathing or were all going to die! Wake up! Time for NEW Leadership and squash these retarded folks making these rediculious laws.. Government needs to do something about that radiation leak and they should be taxed for allowing that to happen.

    Mr Holmes said:
    March 4, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Carbon Monoxide gasses are the harmfull. CO2 works in tune with nature Plants breath in CO2 and omitt Oxygen its a beautiful thing. Carbon Monoxide is the poisonous gas the harms the environment. How would an air tax improve the green house emissions. You folks flying around in jets planes and helicopters should pay that tax. They must have 3rd grade retards making laws. lmao

    cambridgearomatherapy said:
    March 4, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    How much money is this idiot getting from the oil companies?

    anonymous said:
    March 5, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Just another way for government to screw you

    Fernando said:
    March 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    please keep posting stuff like this thyanks again! [] Rockland County Computer Repair

    Darell said:
    March 18, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    Sonos Playbar TV-Soundbar Wireless-Lautsprecher tv soundbar von sonos just out here in Germany, anyone got one to make a review video

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