Washington State Lawmaker: Cyclists Cause Pollution By Exhaling

We’ve heard some silly arguments against cycling before, but this one from Washington State Representative Ed Orcutt… well, it speaks for itself.

Washington State Representative Ed Orcutt says cyclists should be taxed because they cause pollution when they exhale. Image: Seattle Bike Blog

Orcutt, who is a supporter of the proposed tax on bicycles in Washington, told a constituent that cyclists should be taxed because they cause pollution with “an increased heart rate and respiration.”

Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog got in touch with Orcutt this weekend and he didn’t back away from his comments one bit:

“You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,” he said. However, he said he had not “done any analysis” of the difference in CO2 from a person on a bike compared to the engine of a car (others have).

“You can’t just say that there’s no pollution as a result of riding a bicycle.”

Orcutt has a few other brilliant ideas about transportation, Fucoloro reports:

He also stands by his opinion that people who bike do not pay for roads when they ride.

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

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.

So this the level of reasoning bike advocates are up against politically. Not sure whether to feel optimistic or disturbed.

Elsewhere on the Network today: My Wheels are Turning explains Donald Appleyard’s research that found people who live on less-trafficked roads actually have more social connections and friends. M-Bike.org discusses how Detroit’s new emergency manager might affect the city’s laudable bike progress. And Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space predicts D.C.’s sustainable zoning rewrite may never make it to implementation.