Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt Claims Bicycles Cause More Pollution than Cars

| by Michael Allen

Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt (R) recently claimed that riding bicycles causes more pollution than driving cars.

According to SeattleBikeBlog.com, Orcutt wrote an email to a voter who disagreed with his support for a new tax on the sales of bicycles.

In his email, Orcutt wrote: “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.”

Orcutt also claimed that when people drive cars they are helping to pay for the roads, whereas bicyclists “need to start paying for the roads they ride on rather than make motorists pay.”

However, bicyclists already pay state and local taxes for roads.

Orcutt later told SeattleBikeBlog.com: "You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,” but admitted to having no evidence to back up his claim.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each passenger vehicle in the U.S. generates on average 4.8 metric tons of CO2 every year, plus the actual production of fuel, which causes more CO2.

The European Cyclists Federation reported that CO2 emissions from biking was about 10 times less than driving a car, even after accounting for the emissions required to make the bike and emissions linked to food the rider eats.

Sources: SeattleBikeBlog.com, Environmental Protection Agency, European Cyclists Federation