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In another installment of things Republicans say that are so stupid you just can't make them up, Washington state rep Ed Orcutt, a Republican, claimed in an email to a constituent regarding a bike tax he supported, that bicycles were bad for the environment because they caused cyclists to have “an increased heart rate and respiration".

Reached for comment, he added that:

“You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,”
Seriously, he said these things, according to the Seattle Bike Blog.

Apparently a constituent, Dale Carlson, owner of a bicycle store in Tacoma, WA, sent him an email opposing a proposal that Orcutt supported that would impose an additional sales tax on bicycles on top of regular sales tax (which is already the highest in the country in WA at over 9%), in order to pay for the roads that cyclists use that Orcutt claimed (wrongly) they don't pay for at present. So Orcutt sent him an email in response, in which he justified the new tax, in part by claiming that cyclists generate more pollution than cars.

State lawmaker defends bike tax, says bicycling is not good for the environment
Posted on March 2, 2013 by Tom Fucoloro   

Representative Ed Orcutt (R – Kalama) does not think bicycling is environmentally friendly because the activity causes cyclists to have “an increased heart rate and respiration.”

This is according to comments he made in an email to a constituent who questioned the wisdom of a new bike tax the legislature is considering as part of a large transportation package.

We spoke with Rep. Orcutt to confirm the email’s authenticity and to get further clarification.

“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.”

Someone please tell me this was snark. Please, I beg you.

In any case, putting aside these, ahem, deep thoughts about cycling, pollution and the environment, Orcutt is also wrong on the notion that cyclists don't pay for the roads that they ride on, that he claims drivers do.

First, the majority of funds that go towards building and maintaining roads, including bike lanes, comes from general revenue, not gas or vehicle taxes or license and registration fees, which everyone, including cyclists, pays into, via sales, property, income and other taxes--some of them not local or even state, but federal.

Second, to the extent that vehicle-related taxes and fees pay for roads, the vast majority of cyclists also own and drive vehicles, and pay these taxes and fees as much as non-cyclists.

And third, the wear and tear that bicycles impose on public roads is miniscule verging on infinitesimal compared to that imposed on them by cars, motorcycles and trucks. Powered vehicles weigh anywhere from hundreds to thousands of pounds. Most bikes weigh anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds. Do the math, even if you include the weight of the driver.

I wonder if Mr. Orcutt has done an analysis of how much pollution is caused by Republicans opening their mouths or attempting to use their brains?

Originally posted to kovie on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 07:38 AM PST.

Also republished by Koscadia, Climate Hawks, and Climate Change SOS.

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