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Government The Almighty Buck Idle Science

State Rep. Says Biking Is Not Earth Friendly Because Breathing Produces CO2 976

terbeaux writes "The fact that Rep Ed Orcutt (R — WA) wants to tax bicycle use is not extraordinary. The representative's irrational conviction is. SeattleBikeBlog has confirmed reports that Orcutt does not feel bicycling is environmentally friendly because the activity causes cyclists to have 'an increased heart rate and respiration.' When they contacted him he clarified that 'You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car...' Cascade blog has posted the full exchange between Rep Ed Orcutt and a citizen concerned about the new tax."
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State Rep. Says Biking Is Not Earth Friendly Because Breathing Produces CO2

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  • Re:Cars produce more (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @09:56AM (#43066817)

    If you eliminated all the CO2, the plants would die. I think you mean limit it to some given level.

  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:03AM (#43066889) Journal
    He doesn't say that bicycles produce more CO2 than cars, he says that:
    • Drivers pay road tax to cover the costs of roads, including bike lanes, why shouldn't bikes pay some of this?
    • Cycling increases your respiration rate so produces more CO2 than not cycling.

    Both of these are true. The only one he is actually using to justify his position (that bikes should pay road tax) is the former, the second point is refuting the point that bikes are environmentally friendly. The second point is debatable: it's a question of what the basic comparison is. Cycling is more polluting than staying at home, less polluting than driving a car.

    There are lots of valid reasons to mock Republicans, we don't need to make more up.

  • by ( 595837 ) <slashdot@advid.COMMAnet minus punct> on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:13AM (#43067025) Journal

    This news looks like one of The Onion great news... but I just checked, and I couldn't find it.

    Anyway, one should point out that biking produces less CO2 [] than walking or using any other vehicle, for a given distance.

  • by turkeyfish ( 950384 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:28AM (#43067223)

    Who is voting for this guy? It must be a corner of WA where stupid is a virtue.

    An average car produces 5.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The average resting human produces 170,000 liters, or 340kg carbon dioxide per year. With a moderate level of activity, we can increase this to a conservative 500kg. There is simply no comparison. Clearly, this guy is an idiot masquerading as a "representative" of people's needs.

  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:35AM (#43067321) Homepage

    No, it doesn't. But then again, California does have it's Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. As a "conservative", I know longer have faith in any elected official. And yes, it is condescending to say this, but the vast majority of the voting public are STUPID!!!. And there is nothing I can do about it but suffer along with the rest of you dumb numbs!

  • Re:Cars produce more (Score:2, Informative)

    by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:35AM (#43067329) Journal

    You are quite "special"...

    (1) CO2 is require for plants. Without it, they won't photosynthesize.
    (2) Without CO2, most of the oxygen in the CO2 would likely be atmospheric - things would more readily burst into flames.
    (3) Some global warming is useful... Do you think the biota of the planet would be healthier if it were several degrees cooler?

    Now, we are actually still in an ice age, just not at a glacial maxima. A little bit of global warming could get us out of it. In fact, given the break up of the ice at the north pole, I'd say we are close to there. This is not necessarily a bad thing like people thing - though slowing it down could be beneficial, due to the slow rate at which plants migrate (literally it's a generational thing - so a couple miles a year). But too far would also be a problem...

  • To me, this all seems like a problem with cyclist education and your local laws.

    In European cities, where cycling is much more common, there seems to be significantly fewer (although sadly still more than zero) idiots. I assume it's simply that because cycling is so much more common, both the cyclists and the vehicle drivers are more used to dealing with each other.

    Beyond that, cyclists can and do end up taking the blame when they cause an accident. An acquaintance of mine here in Germany was cycling drunk one day, ran a red light and got hit side on by a VW convertible going 50km/h. He was thrown a significant distance and woke up in hospital, lucky to be alive. Upon being released from hospital, a couple of police officers had a nice chat with him about the accident and the end result was that he ended up paying two separate fines for cycling whilst under the influence as well as running a red light; AND he had to pay for the damage he caused to the car (normally there's a type of insurance here that covers that sort of thing, but being the relatively irresponsible type (obviously) he doesn't have it).

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:53AM (#43067535) Homepage Journal

    That just means they should pay a smaller tax, thats all.

    A 2000 pound passenger vehicle in use weighs 1000 pounds per axle. A 200 pound bicycle in use weighs only 100. Because road wear increases as the fourth power of weight per axle, ten times the weight implies roughly 10,000 times the road wear. How much do you charge each driver per year in road tax? And how much would it cost the state to bill each cyclist 1/10,000 of that?

  • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by jbssm ( 961115 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:57AM (#43067581)

    He doesn't say that bicycles produce more CO2 than cars, he says that: Drivers pay road tax to cover the costs of roads, including bike lanes, why shouldn't bikes pay some of this? Cycling increases your respiration rate so produces more CO2 than not cycling.

    Then start taxing those awful anti patriotic people that walk around, cause you know, they have pass-walks in the cities as well, and well, in case it's too complicated for you to understand, they actually "waste" more CO2 to move the same distance then someone riding a bicycle.: []

  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:00AM (#43067611)

    Did you know Congresscritters expel CO2? LOTS of it.

  • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by tapspace ( 2368622 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:11AM (#43067795)

    CO != CO2

  • by rabun_bike ( 905430 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:16AM (#43067861)
    Average gasoline vehicle produces 19.29 lbs /gal CO2 emissions. An average North American mid-size car travels 21 mpg. So, in an average 21 mile commute the vehicle would travel 21 miles and release 19.29 pounds of CO2 emissions.

    An average person’s respiration generates approximately 450 liters (roughly 900 grams) of carbon dioxide per day (CO2#Human_physiology). The amount of CO2 released by human per day is 0.9 kg/day or 1.9 lbs.

    It is an absurd comparison because there is no way a human can produce the amount of energy in one gallon of fuel. In fact, one gallon of gasoline is equivalent to

    1 Barrel of Oil = 5,800,000 BTUs Source: Louisiana Oil and Gas Association

    1 Gallon of Gas = 125,000 BTUs Source: US Department of Energy

    1 Barrel of Oil thus contains the energy contained in 46.4 gallons of gas (5,800,000 divided by 125,000 = 46.4 )

    1 Gallon of Gas = 500 hours of human work output (37 KWH in 1 gallon of gas divided by human work output in agriculture of .074 KW = 500)

    1 Barrel of Oil = 23,200 Hours of Human Work Output (Energy equivalent of 46.4 gallons of gas per barrel of oil x 500 hours of human work ouput per gallon of gas = 23,2000 hours)
  • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:51AM (#43068353) Journal

    Road wear isn't a factor of tire PSI, but axle load. Road wear increases at an exponetional proportional to axle load.

    See p.23 of this: [] - showing that a 5 axle tractor/trailer does 9600 times the road damage than a car, despite only weighing 20 times as much. (A bicycle's wear to the road is likely immeasurably small compared to a car).

  • Re:Broken signal (Score:4, Informative)

    by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:09PM (#43068635) Homepage Journal

    Well, then, that's on them. (No pun intended.)

    Seriously, if bicyclists want to flout the law -- and I speak as one of them -- then let them suffer the consequences. And if they survive, maybe they'll be more careful the next time they're rolling toward that red light.

  • this isn't 1960 (Score:4, Informative)

    by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:56PM (#43069353)

    get with the times, pal. the catalytic converter turns most of the CO into CO2. As some farmers have found out, CO2 in high concentration is maiming or lethal, the carbonic acid will make your lungs bleed.

  • Re:RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by R.Mo_Robert ( 737913 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:15PM (#43070367)

    Roads are usually paid for with a gasoline tax.

    False. That's why the post you quoted mentioned that it was a faulty assertion and specifically mentioned city streets vs. state or interstate highways. For the former, which cyclists are for more likely to use, most funding comes from municipal revenue. This is something every citizen pays. The gas tax is more important on the latter two, but cyclists aren't even allowed on interstates.

    For a discussion on this issue with data from Seattle and the state of Washington (where this rep is from), see, for example: [].

  • by SlippyToad ( 240532 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:46PM (#43072097)

    I guess we could all only eat things grown in a 20 mile radius, but that would be pretty limiting.,

    Before Mr. Earl Butz [], we did only eat things grown locally. Mr. Butz thought a lot of money could be made shipping our food thousands of miles, and voila we have Big Agribusiness [] the modern American waistline, diabetes, and increasingly, horse meat in our burgers, carp in our crab, and all the other lovely things to hate about the current very frightening state of our food supply.

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