Washington State GOP Legislator Thinks Bike Riders Pollute CO2

The GOP has many people who deliberately refuse to understand simple things.  The preservation of the status quo trumps change efforts.  Indeed, much of that party is predicated on reproducing mistakes of the past which is why they worked very hard to disable all the bank regulations of the FDR administration and thus, reproduced the Great Depression.   Understanding science is important not because scientists are always right, often, they can deceive themselves, but because scientific debate is how we discover how reality functions.  Even then, it is difficult.  But being deliberately stupid isn’t a debate point.  It is pointless.  In today’s story, a Washington State member of the transportation committee who is a right wing Republican discusses CO2 production systems in an artlessly stupid fashion.


Legislator to small business owner: bicycling bad for the environment « Cascade Bike Blog – Cascade Bicycle Club – Seattle, Washington

—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: RE: No new bicycle tax
From: “Orcutt, Rep. Ed” <Ed.Orcutt@leg.wa.gov>
Date: Mon, February 25, 2013 9:59 pm
To: Dale Carlson


I am not a fan of much in the House Transportation tax proposal nor of many tax proposals, but I have to admit I think there are valid reasons to tax bicycles. Think about this for a moment: Currently motorists are paying to use their cars on the roads while they are actually driving their cars. At the same time, they are paying for bike lanes because there is no gas tax — or any transportation tax — generated by the act of riding a bike on the roadways. So, if cars pay for the roads they are using, it only makes sense that bicyclists would also be required to pay for the ‘roads’ they use when they are actually biking on them.


Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclists has an increased heart rate and respiration. 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.


I know, you own a car and drive so are paying gas tax — but not while you are riding your bike. When you are driving your car and generating gas tax you are also driving on the roads so are only really paying for the roads when driving — not while biking.


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


Representative Ed Orcutt
20th Legislative District

Olympia Office:
408 John L. O’Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504
O ed.orcutt@leg.wa.gov
e 360.786.7990


The GOP for some bizarre reason hates things like people on bikes.  I remember when Mrs. Obama was pushing for healthier food choices for children.  So of course, the obsessive dieter (is she bulimic?  Quite possibly!) Sarah Palin rushed out to push the goodness of eating sugary cookies.  She made fun of eating healthy and cooed that fat GOP voters were superior to skinny people all while being rail-thin, herself.  I found her performance to be nauseating since she was encouraging people to eat themselves into an early grave while not doing it, herself.


If Republican governor Christie said eating cookies was OK, at least he wouldn’t be a hypocrite.  When Bush Jr. boasted about riding a dirt bike all over his temporary ranch, the GOP said he was heroic to do this but if a Democrat encourages bike riding, they are evil incarnate.  This is why a Republican driving a pick up truck supports a tax on bikes.  He probably makes fun of bike riders.  As a lifelong cycle user, I had to contend often with bully boy guys in big rigs deliberately endangering me for the fun of it.  One of the few times I contemplated carrying a gun was for this reason.


Here is the reply a bike store owner gave to the Republican (remember that the GOP constantly claim they love small businesses):


—–Original Message—–
From: Dale Carlson
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2013 9:40 PM
To: Orcutt, Rep. Ed
Subject: NC: No new bicycle tax


TO: Representative Ed Orcutt

FROM: Dale Carlson(Non-Constituent)

SUBJECT: No new bicycle tax


People who choose to ride a bicycle instead of driving a car actively
reduce congestion, save wear and tear on our roads and bridges, and reduce the state labor needed to patrol our highways. Additionally, bicyclists produce fewer emissions and reduce healthcare costs through increased physical fitness. Therefore, it is unfair for bicyclists to subsidize the construction and maintenance of highways that they impact far less than the motorists. If anything, new bike purchases should earn a $25.00 tax credit because of the savings they provide to the state.


Not only do I believe that a bike tax is unfair in principle but the proposed amount is disproportionately large compared to vehicle excise taxes in the state. A tax of $25 on a $500 bicycle purchase is 5% of that sale. The vehicle excise tax in the proposed package for the state is 0.7%. The federal government even offers tax credits on electric vehicles, up to $7,500 depending on the value of the vehicle. It’s absurd that Washington state plans on taxing bicyclists while such a credit system exists to promote energy efficiency. Bicycles are far more efficient even than electric cars. Bicyclists already pay substantial sales, property, and federal taxes which fund two-thirds of transportation spending in Washington. Bicyclists who own cars pay the same license tab and other car-related taxes even if they drive less.


This new tax would also hurt the bicycle industry in the state of Washington, an industry that already competes with internet vendors and bordering states with lower sales tax. Bicycle stores near the edges of our state have been impacted for years by the reduced sales tax in Oregon and Idaho. Residents would have 25 more reasons to purchase bikes outside of Washington should this proposal pass. In-state bicycle sales would also be lost to internet vendors based elsewhere which neither pay taxes in Washington nor employee residents of Washington. Surely the loss of tax revenue on in-state bicycle sales would offset the forecasted gains from the proposed tax.


Dale Carlson, Owner
Bike Tech
Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma


Another mistake the GOP legislator made was to pretend that people driving cars aren’t breathing out CO2 plus the fact that cars and trucks spew out a huge amount of the much more deadly carbon-monixide.  Plants need CO2 to grow.  They can’t use CO.  The thing that makes cities so polluted is all the CO, not CO2.  One thing that irritated me a lot about the global warming stuff was the focus on CO2 while not on the more dangerous CO.  Getting rid of CO goes a long ways towards making our planet more habitable.


As a bike rider in the cities, I detested the CO that vehicles produced, never the CO2.  I also believe in focusing on the more dangerous thing in life and the CO2 problem isn’t nearly as dire as the present CO problem.  Above all, bikes are better than cars in cities and I felt long ago that all petroleum burning vehicles should be banned from all cities due to their CO production, not their CO2.  This would fix our environment faster and better than getting everyone worked up about CO2 because banning cars and trucks would change the CO2 equation right alongside.


Instead, the CO poison issue has nearly vanished.  This is very irritating.  Here is more information about taxes for roads from a bike advocate website:  State lawmaker defends bike tax, says bicycling is not good for the environment | Seattle Bike Blog


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.


And we all know that building roads for CO-spewing vehicles has been heavily subsidized while public transportation has been left to rot and die.  Another global warming cause is due to cities being much hotter and drier than virgin forests and open fields due to all the black surface oil-based asphalt and buildings with no plants.  Cities are very much hotter than forests!  Tremendously hotter.


When I lived near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, one of the biggest and earliest municipal parks in America, it was always at least 10 degrees cooler in summer than on the street.  When it is 100 degrees here in upstate NY cities, it is 85 on my farm’s fields and even cooler in the shady woods.  We need to preserve and even expand our tree cover and this especially in cities which is why I was a  member of the tree planting committee in Park Slope.  We planted a lot of trees and this made the neighborhood much cooler.


Last of all today, there is the issue of how our wages have collapsed while food and fuel have shot upwards in costs:  Nancy Folbre: Minimal Wages, Minimal Families – NYTimes.com


President Obama called attention to the needs of children: “Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong.”


Many Americans share his concerns: 71 percent of Americans polled in mid-February by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press support the proposed increase, including 50 percent of Republicans.


100% of the GOP voted for Romney. He promised no raise of the minimum wage.  He promised tax cuts which the poor can’t benefit from.  So if 50% of the GOP voters want higher pay for workers, why would they vote for the party that wants to eliminate the minimum wage entirely?  This makes no sense.  But then, sense is in short supply with these voters.  Not that the left has much to boast, either.  sunset borger

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Filed under energy

14 responses to “Washington State GOP Legislator Thinks Bike Riders Pollute CO2

  1. Wooster007

    Thanks Elaine for your insightful and important post. It is pretty depressing to see that most non-bigoted rational thinkers now belong to the democratic party, whose older members are pro-israel, and pro corporate causes (except for the progressive minority).,Also depressing as to the radical right and the willfully bigoted, ignorant or mostly plain selfish who populate GOP and is the rot at the core of our 2 party system.

    Thank you also for reminding us of the more important carbon monoxide emissions. At least NY State has laws regarding this and real estate (as to whether this stuff is enforced – not so sure about that)..

  2. CK

    It would appear that Ms. Palin has gone on a primal/paleo diet. Even dumb people can do the smart thing on occasion.
    Don’t mind bikes; dislike their riders arrogance and lack of consideration for others. I remember how in cities before the advent of motor vehicles one had the wonderful aroma of rotting horse manure and fermenting horse piss to “enjoy” and walk around. Or to quote me, same shit; different millennium.

  3. ziff house

    HMMM, ?! seems everyone has missed the point, The only CO2 that is the issue with AGW is the CO2 from fossil fuels.

  4. For once, you’ve documented an incident that makes Detroit look good by comparison. Despite the city being placed under Emergency Management, planning is still underway for the return of light rail down Woodward Boulevard. The most recent hearing featured a complaint by the city’s cycling community, which is growing even as the city’s population is shrinking, that the tracks would be unsafe for cyclists. Hey, that’s the kind of fight I like to hear, instead of one over how either public transportation or cycling makes things inconvenient for cars. You can see the video at my blog.



    ELAINE: the Detroit rail is a boondoggle. Virtually no one will use it because parking is too easy in Detroit, why expose yourself to muggers on a public transport when you can be safe in a car? As well as it is easier to get in a car and go. Bikes in Detroit: it is a flat place and perfect for bikes for half of the year.

    I used to bike in MANHATTAN and that is hellishly hard to do.

  5. ” I remember when Mrs. Obama was pushing for healthier food choices for children. So of course, the obsessive dieter (is she bulimic? Quite possibly!) Sarah Palin rushed out to push the goodness of eating sugary cookies. She made fun of eating healthy and cooed that fat GOP voters were superior to skinny people all while being rail-thin, herself. I found her performance to be nauseating since she was encouraging people to eat themselves into an early grave while not doing it, herself.”

    Yeah, I remember that. I analyzed what was really going on between Caribou Barbie and the First Lady in a post from two years ago. It was really a fight based in what passes for conservative ideology and what really matters to conservatives. Hint: it isn’t preserving tradition, but instead increasing the wealth and power of the already wealthy and powerful. Eating healthy doesn’t do that.


  6. Jim R

    … because abject innumeracy is a pre-requisite for the political class.
    Otherwise, they might notice that it would have been cheaper to simply pay off all the mortgages of those foreclosure victims over the last five years, than to spend the trillions they have handed to the banks.

  7. emsnews

    Correct. We were forced to save the bankers and Goldman Sachs and others are rolling in dough now at our expense. And aren’t even slightly grateful for being saved by us all. They hate us, in fact, and want to make us pay through the nose.

  8. DeVaul

    Kunstler’s article is worth reading. He points out the beginning of what I would call the “Brown Shirts” — the idiots whose fantastic implausible gibberish will be believed by nearly everyone just because it cannot be argued against and pushes the mantra that we deserve everything. He holds up Gary North as his example, but I would go further and hold up the entire libertarian/Tea Party “we don’t need no f**king laws” group as the beginning of an American Brown Shirt movement.


    A nation that believes men saddled up dinosaurs and rode them around will believe anything just because it is convenient to do so.

  9. John

    The true libertarians and Constitutionalists are the ones who will SAVE you from the brownshirts, DeVaul. The American brownshirts are a Republicrat device.

  10. bamaearl

    Thank you for this post! Spring has Sprung for us and you are invited too see.
    A 12 hour off road race around the furnace used to make confederate cannon balls.

  11. emsnews

    Still snowing here so my bike stays in the garage. Wish it were warmer!

  12. lucky13

    Speaking of snow and Glaciers, as a child I notice the effects of smog / ash
    on snow.
    EMS, do you have more info on Glaciers?
    Are you aware of the ‘ASIAN BROWN CLOUD’ and that the UN renamed it
    [euphemistically] the Atmospheric Brown Cloud, because India etc complained! The Asians countries didnt like the name.

  13. Craig

    ‘I felt long ago that all petroleum burning vehicles should be banned from all cities due to their CO production, not their CO2.’

    Then how would goods be brought into cities?

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