Washington State Representative Says Cycling Bad for the Environment

Ed OrcuttWashington State Representitive Ed Orcutt (R -Kalama) has claimed that cycling is harmful to the environment by claiming that because of “an increased heart rate and respiration.” In an email exchange shared by Cascade Bicycle Club between Orcutt and a constituent, Orcutt made the statement that “You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car…” [source].

Seattle Bike Blog reportedly reached out to Orcutt for followup, where he appears to focus on tax issues instead of his environmental statements.

Here’s the complete email as posted on the Cascade Cycling Club website:

—————————- 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