A couple of days ago I posted about Ed Orcutt, a state legislator from up here in Washington state who stated: “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.”
In essence since we breathe harder when we are riding, we are actually polluting the atmosphere.
I ranted a bit here in my blog about how ridiculous this was coming out of a supposed educated man, but the man apologized (after being ridiculed as far away as Copenhagen (or so I am told)) or did he? He he is quoted on March 4th “What I was trying to say is bicyclists do have a lower footprint but not a zero footprint in relation to automobiles,” Orcutt said. “I didn’t close that thought out very well. It was poorly worded.”
I really don’t think ANYONE believed bikers have a zero footprint. The bike has to be built, inner tubes have to be replaced, I occasionally need new shirts or shorts, and let’s not forget someone had to make the helmet. Yes ALL of that is part of our footprint.
But come on Ed! Let’s compare the footprint to the that of a car! First the material needed to build a car, MUCH higher. The amount of rubber in one tire matches many MANY inner tube changes on my bike. Then there is the gas and oil to run the beast. Now add those blue smoke spewing gas hogs that cruise down the highway. I HATE getting behind a car like that! Son your emissions statement and so-called apology is still ludicrous.
But lets move beyond this. The whole reason this was even being discussed is that my legislature has proposed a $25 tax on any bike sold for more than $500. It’s a way to make sure we bikers pay our fair share.
Now I am not opposed to this in all honesty. However, I pay income, sales, payroll, and the highest gas tax in the nation. I would estimate that 98%+ of all cyclist own and drive cars as well. We’ve paid our share. Most of my riding is NOT on bike paths or bike lanes, it’s using the exact same roads that I have already paid for, and when I am on the bike I cause NO damage. So if there is a bike tax it better damn well go exclusively to bikers.
HOWEVER, what about all the other good biking does? Just from observation, I would say the average cyclist is in MUCH better shape that the average driver. With every crank of out pedals we are reducing health costs. How many jobs are directly related to bikes? And I can tell you I single-handedly keep the economy going sometimes when I need new equipment! We deserve a discount!
And finally, if we are going to talk bike vs. car pollution and emissions, when is the last time you saw a cyclist cause a brush fire along the road after tossing a cigarette?
I guess it comes down to this, as I’ve said I am not against the tax, just make sure the other cyclist and I benefit from it! What is annoying me is this:
If this cowboy seriously believes the hard pedalling cyclist are polluting the air we breathe, what other asinine logic or thought processes is he using while helping run my state government??
My step-dad has a favorite saying “Don’t worry, we’re from the government, and we are here to help!” then he crosses his eyes and gives an evil laugh. If I didn’t understand before, NOW I know what he means!
And rest assured, I will try to hold my breath when I ride my 40 mile route this weekend!