GOP Lawmaker: Bicycles Pollute Worse Than Cars

Washington state Rep. Ed Orcutt takes a stab at science

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 4, 2013 3:40 PM CST

(Newser) – All that sweaty cycling can kick up a lot of carbon dioxide—right? So said House Republican Ed Orcutt in an email as he defended a bike tax proposed for Washington state, reports the Seattle Bike Blog. Writing a constituent, Orcutt wrote that bicyclists emit more CO2 than car drivers due to "increased heart rate and respiration." Orcutt later backed down, Seattle Bike Blog reports, calling his statement "over the top" and "not one which should enter into the conversation regarding bicycles." But this slice of his original email is still worth the read:

"Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclists [sic] 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." Click on the Seattle Bike Blog to go deeper into the bike-tax debate, or see BikePortland's comparison of CO2 emissions from bicyclists and other modes of transportation.

This July 28, 2011 photo shows bicyclists on the Great Allegheny Passage in Cumberland, Md. The passage is a 141-mile ride from Homestead, Pa., near Pittsburgh, to Cumberland in Western Maryland.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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