To help prevent collisions, Volvo is making its cars smart enough to detect people walking and riding bicycles. What do you think?
3/4/13 UPDATE: Lawmaker apologizes for email saying cyclists’ breathing causes pollution, The Seattle Times
Today, we circulated a screen shot from an email exchange between State Rep. Ed Orcutt of the 20th District and a constituent about the proposed “bicycle tax” and noting that bicycling was bad for the environment due to all the exhaling of CO2. While I had received it from a trusted friend and ran with it, some folks asked to verify its authenticity, a good practice after recent hoaxes that have embarrassed the media (see: Manti Te’o).
I can confirm that the email is legit. Here are the original exchanges between Rep. Orcutt and small business owner Dale Carlson of BikeTech in Tacoma:
—————————- 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
From: Dale Carlson
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2013 9:40 PM
To: Orcutt, Rep. Ed
Subject: NC: No new bicycle tax
HOUSE INTERNET E-MAIL DELIVERY SERVICE
TO: Representative Ed Orcutt
FROM: Dale Carlson(Non-Constituent)
SUBJECT: No new bicycle tax
People who choose to ride a bicycle instead of driving a car actively
reduce congestion, save wear and tear on our roads and bridges, and reduce the state labor needed to patrol our highways. Additionally, bicyclists produce fewer emissions and reduce healthcare costs through increased physical fitness. Therefore, it is unfair for bicyclists to subsidize the construction and maintenance of highways that they impact far less than the motorists. If anything, new bike purchases should earn a $25.00 tax credit because of the savings they provide to the state.
Not only do I believe that a bike tax is unfair in principle but the proposed amount is disproportionately large compared to vehicle excise taxes in the state. A tax of $25 on a $500 bicycle purchase is 5% of that sale. The vehicle excise tax in the proposed package for the state is 0.7%. The federal government even offers tax credits on electric vehicles, up to $7,500 depending on the value of the vehicle. It’s absurd that Washington state plans on taxing bicyclists while such a credit system exists to promote energy efficiency. Bicycles are far more efficient even than electric cars. Bicyclists already pay substantial sales, property, and federal taxes which fund two-thirds of transportation spending in Washington. Bicyclists who own cars pay the same license tab and other car-related taxes even if they drive less.
This new tax would also hurt the bicycle industry in the state of Washington, an industry that already competes with internet vendors and bordering states with lower sales tax. Bicycle stores near the edges of our state have been impacted for years by the reduced sales tax in Oregon and Idaho. Residents would have 25 more reasons to purchase bikes outside of Washington should this proposal pass. In-state bicycle sales would also be lost to internet vendors based elsewhere which neither pay taxes in Washington nor employee residents of Washington. Surely the loss of tax revenue on in-state bicycle sales would offset the forecasted gains from the proposed tax.
Dale Carlson, Owner
Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma
Thanks to Dale Carlson for speaking up.
>>>If you haven’t already, join Dale by telling your Washington State legislators that they can do better on our transportation package. We’re working hard in Olympia to make it better, and every voice counts!<<<
Tom at the Seattle Bike Blog talked to Rep. Orcutt today to confirm that he does believe bicyclists are polluting the air through excessive exhaling.
Side note: I’ve heard reasons to slow down on a bike ride, but this is a new one for me.
A couple of weeks back, I posted about the Winter Errandonee Challenge my friend Sara told me about. A few Seattle folks jumped in and took up the challenge put forth by @gypsybug at Chasing Mailboxes.
- The twitter #errandonnee community introduced me to people around the country
- If you’re already car-free, you may be underwhelmed.
- But if, like me, you’re aiming for car-light, this was fun! I was reminded that there are plenty of car trips that I could replace with bike trips, and that doing so isn’t too hard. The Erandonnee Challenge definitely influenced my decisions and nudged me to bike more and drive less.
- I caught a couple of comments that bordered on snarky. While I pondered why people might dismiss something that was fun to me, MG summed it up beautifully:
How does the Errandonnee differ from everyday life? Why do errands have to become a contest?
The Errandonnee is not that different from everyday life. Groceries, doctor’s appointments, work. Most of us have to deal with these types of errands. Many of us may already do these things by bike. However, the Errandonnee is an opportunity to see these activities not just as stuff we have to do, but to appreciate all that we can do via bicycle.
Perhaps one could consider the Errandonnee a contest. I see it more like a game as opposed to a contest. Because of this game I’ve had the great pleasure to connect with other people who move around the city or wherever they live by bike, making this frequently faceless world a slightly smaller, friendlier place. We’ve even shared some internet laughs.
What she said.
I have ideas for similar bike errand events to host here in Seattle… stay tuned! Meanwhile, if you’re interested, below is my control card with required photos. Here are posts from Seattle tweeps @familyride and @jessekelber. Anyone else? Please let me know, and I’ll update the list.
Category 1: Bike Shop
Trip 1 destination: Gregg’s Green Lake
What I observed: Women on Wheels is coming up.
Miles: 1, date: 2/17
Category 2: Breakfast or Lunch
Trip 1 destination: Metropolitan Market coffee bar
What I observed: Flowers on sale outside make for a nice picture
Miles: 3.5, date: 2/13
Category 2: Breakfast or Lunch
Trip 2 destination: Mighty O Donuts
What I observed: The streets are so much quieter on weekdays outside of commute times. Yes, I know this is fairly obvious, but it was a real treat to do bike errands with Sprout on his own bike and Coco riding passenger. Having Sprout on his own wheels, on the streets, is a new experience for us. He’s about to turn eight, and really wants to ride more.
Miles: 1, date 2/19
Did you catch NPR’s story today about families trying to keep their kids exercising? Listen to hear how our neighborhood designs can keep families unhappily trapped in the car in search of exercise or more happily exercising, simply as they get around.
As a little girl, I loooooved horses. Loved, loved, loved them. I took lessons for a few years and daydreamed wistfully about becoming a jockey. I filled drawing pads with horse sketches. I worshiped the art of CW Anderson and Wesley Dennis and buried my nose in everything Marguerite Henry and Walter Farley wrote. And yes, I dragged my friends on a college road trip to Chincoteague where I practically burst into tears of joy at finally seeing the ponies in-person. Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about.
When I started riding a bike, naturally it got a name and became my trusty steed. It was a decent, if less furry, stand-in for a pony. Fast-forward a bunch of years, and I noticed that I’ve got the equestrian-look helmet and riding boots. Now I just need the horse bike:
Look how happy she is!
All she needs now is a Trotify.