Washington Lawmaker Defends Bike Tax: ‘Cyclists Produce More CO2 Than Cars’


Anti-science lawmakers are nothing new, but this one – who claimed that bicyclists produce more CO2 than cars takes first place in the crazy department.

Washington State has long been a cyclist’s haven, with terrific bike trails through the woods and along the roads. Cyclists are everywhere in Washington State and according to an article in Forbes, Seattle ranks in the top twenty for the country’s most bike friendly cities and the state itself, according an article in Wired Magazine, is the best place in the country for bikes. One Washington lawmaker will hear none of that and has said, in public, out loud, within ear shot, in 2013 that cyclists and cycling are bad for the environment and therefore should be taxed.

Representative Ed Orcutt (R – Kalama) said in an email to constituents.

He later followed up his claim during a phone conversation with the Tom Fucoloro of Seattle Bike Blog, saying:

You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car … You can’t just say that there’s no pollution as a result of riding a bicycle.

This is of course is to be able to impose a tax on cyclists under the disingenuous theory that cyclists are using roads purportedly paid for by everyone else; like the more responsible and environmentally friendly people driving cars. Who according to Orcutt, expel less carbon emissions that cyclists with all that heavy breathing.

Apparently the good Representative went on, saying:

When you are riding your bicycle, tell me what taxes are being generated by the act of riding your bicycle. Sales tax does not go into roads.

As Fucoloro points out in his piece:

That people who bike don’t pay for roads is demonstrably untrue. Most roads people bike on are paid for by counties and municipalities. In Seattle, gas taxes pay just four percent of the SDOT budget (as of 2009). Most of the rest comes from sources everybody pays, no matter how they get around. On a state level, gas taxes only pay for one quarter of the WSDOT budget.

This, of course, is the same State Rep. who claimed that there was no need to increase transportation investments in the wake of a bridge collapse because, “11 of the 12 sections of the bridge are still standing.” He put that comment in writing too.

Incidentally, Seattle is also home to the legendary Fremont Solstice Naked/Painted Bike Ride that takes place every year, but that’s a story for another time.

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Richard Zombeck
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Richard Zombeck

Richard Zombeck is a freelance writer, featured blogger at Huffington Post, and co-host of the T&Z Talk Podcast.

He’s much older and angrier than he looks.

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Richard Zombeck
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