Your Dumbass Legislator of the Week

Sometimes a legislator says something so stupid that it could only be said by a Republican. Okay, so that happens pretty much every day. But here’s a particularly inane example from a Washington state legislator who says that riding your bike is bad for the environment because you breathe heavier and expel more CO2.


The mind absolutely boggles, doesn’t it?

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  • jenniferphillips

    While I completely agree that it’s inane, this exchange is more than 2 years old (March 2013).

    Moreover, further correspondence that Bike Portland made public two years ago shows that they did get a relatively earnest apology from the guy. Credit where it’s due, etc. etc.

  • Doubting Thomas

    It would seem he still doesn’t get it. Even if a cyclist (a very big one) did emit the same or more CO2 as a car, it is the source of that CO2 that is the problem. Said large cyclist would be emitting CO2 derived from the renewable food he ate, not from the fossil fuel he was burning. Cyclist, net zero CO2 emissions, whereas the car is emitting CO2 that has been sequestered for millions of years.

  • jenniferphillips

    Of course–and as a significant amount of his political capital depends on him *not* getting it, I doubt he’ll shift his public position. But when was the last time you heard a republican say anything like

    “It was over the top and I admit [this statement is] not one which should enter into the conversation regarding bicycles…In looking back, it was not a point worthy of even mentioning so, again, I apologize – both for bringing it up and for the wording of the e-mail.”

    Hopefully the RNC has some sort of Notpology course he can attend if he should ever aspire to higher office.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the late great Ronald Reagan himself who said that trees cause pollution? This guy is just following a hallowed tradition.

  • caseloweraz

    You know what else causes heavy breathing and an increased heart rate? That’s right. I’m sure that Representative Orcutt, good citizen that he is, has foregone that activity since writing his letter.

    Also, the motorist pays the gas tax when he buys the gas, not when he uses it.

  • jaybee

    Just to jump on the bandwagon, if Rep. Numbnutz actually was sincere in what he claims (0% chance of that), he’d recognize that per mile, a cyclist emits far less CO2 than the same (sedentary) person driving a car.

    I once knew a guy who was terribly out of shape and claimed, in earnest, that exercise is bad for you because mammals have a fixed number of heart beats in their life (barring early death due to another cause). I pointed out that his resting HR was something like 75 bpm, and that doubling that for 30 minutes five times a week would quickly lead to a resting HR of 55 bpm for the other 162 hours a week, resulting in an average HR slightly above 55 bpm. It had no effect on him; I forget what the next layer of the denial onion was, and I had no doubt there were more layers under it.

  • carpenterman

    “…increased heart rate and respiration… results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide.”

    I *knew* I was doing the responsible thing by not exercising!

  • David C Brayton

    The other argument he makes, that cyclists don’t pay road taxes, is irksome. First, the huge majority of cyclists also own cxars and are therefore paying taxes. Second, the amount of wear caused per mile by a car is order of magnitude higher than the wear caused by a cyclist. He’s wrong on every level.

  • anubisprime

    How some folk walk and breath without falling over or choking is a mystery.

    Fair enough he apologized…but it still leaves a nasty taste in trying to parse what mental path he following when he wrote the nonsense in the first place?

    Seems like it was some incident that rattled his bars…maybe got cut up by a cyclist on the way to work…then went down the righteous route and started resenting the road tax situation, who knows?

    Then after such a load of tripe he has the audacity to suggest the Cyclists talk to him about cycling and its future.

    Fuckin’ clueless with a certain arrogance to it.

  • Nick Gotts

    Even if a cyclist (a very big one) did emit the same or more CO2 as a car, it is the source of that CO2 that is the problem. Said large cyclist would be emitting CO2 derived from the renewable food he ate, not from the fossil fuel he was burning. – Doubting Thomas@2

    Not quite. We all “eat oil”, because it’s used in multiple ways in industrialised agriculture: farm machinery, food transport, fertilisers and pesticides… So technically, Orcutt was right: if you exercise more, you need more food, and this does marginally increase your carbon footprint – but the amount is trivial compared to car use, and many other activities. You can reduce your carbon footprint considerably by reducing meat (particularly beef) and dairy consumption – but also, of course, by making as many journeys as possible by foot, bicycle or public transport rather than by car.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    Slightly off-topic, but I got hit by a car on my bike 5/12/2015, last week. Guy came popping out from his stop sign, I had right-of-way, and he sent me sprawling. He stopped (THAT does not often happen), and things went amicably.

    OK. Why is that when I tell this story, or any story, of the cluelessness of motorists vis-a-vis cyclists, it always starts the litany of explaining how unsafe cyclists are in traffic from the people I am talking to? That is ALWAYS the first response. Screw cars and their drivers.

  • Peter the Mediocre

    How does he feel about use of a Segway on public sidewalks?