That’s right, Washington State wants to tax cyclists for their use of the roads, citing carbon emissions and the fact they pay no gas tax. For the most part, the gas tax goes toward road maintenance, but since cyclists use no gasoline, then who pays for the infinitesimal wear and tear they inflict on the roads? Surely, drivers of gasoline-powered vehicles would be incensed that those bicycles are getting a free ride? Legislators want to add a $25 tax on all bicycles over $500 in value.
It seems to make sense in some small way, but I’m still having a hard time imagining how much wear and tear a 200-pound cycle and cyclist can put on a road designed for vehicles up to 30 tons. What hurts my brain even more, and this is where the fuzzy math comes in, is the justification of the tax:
“Cyclists have 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.” – Washington State Representative Ed Orcutt
You’re kidding, right? Orcutt wants to tax cyclist carbon emissions? Even my rudimentary math stills tell me that a cyclist generates about a 10th of a pound of carbon dioxide per mile, which is equivalent to a vehicle that gets somewhere around 180mpg. Washington, taxing bicycle purchases and citing carbon emissions for a mere $1 million to support a $1 billion transportation bill makes absolutely no sense. Why not tax the joggers when they buy sneakers?