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Cyclist as Polluters

This topic contains 51 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  byogman 1 yr, 5 mos.

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ajbooth

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Mar 4 2013 at 1:03pm #

I know many have read the quote from Rep Ed Olcutt from the State of Washington: “But if I am not mistaken, a cyclist 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 e-mailed him yesterday, to point out the lunacy of his statement. And surprisingly enough, especially since I’m not his constituent, his office responded as follows:

First of all, let me apologize for the carbon emissions line of an e-mail which has caused so much concern within the bicycle community. It was over the top and I admit is not one which should enter into the conversation regarding bicycles.

Although I have always recognized that bicycling emits less carbon than cars, I see I did a poor job of indicating that within my e-mail. My point was that by not driving a car, a cyclist was not necessarily having a zero-carbon footprint. 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.

Second, please understand that I have not proposed, nor do I intend to propose, any tax – and certainly not a carbon tax – on bicyclists. There is little in the Democrat tax proposal that I support. However, the one aspect of the Democrat tax plan that has merit is their proposed $25.00 tax on the purchase of any bicycle $500.00 or more. I am willing to consider this because I’ve heard requests from members of the bicycle community that they want more money for bicycle infrastructure. The idea of bicyclists paying for some of the infrastructure they are using is one which merits consideration.

Since I have heard concerns about doing this via sales tax due to the impact on bicycle shops, I am very willing to work with the bicycle community to determine an appropriate way to enable bicyclists to pay for some of the bicycle-only lanes and overpasses. It is my intent to seek out your advocates in Olympia to see if there are other ways to accomplish this.

Again, I do apologize for the carbon line in the e-mail and any confusion it has created. I look forward to working on reasonable solutions to the problems cyclists are having with infrastructure.


Marko82

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Mar 4 2013 at 1:40pm #

A fairly good reply to a stupid comment. +1 to him for even answering.

As for the bicycle tax – I have mixed feelings. On the one hand it would be nice to have if it freed up *additional* matching monies that would be used exclusively for bike infrastructure that cyclist themselves get to decide how it’s spent; and it would shut up some of the cagers who complain that we don’t pay car taxes, etc. But it would have to be guaranteed money because $25 per new bicycle doesn’t add up to very much money, even if it included ALL bikes and even if yearly instead of just at time of purchase. Also, I doubt that a 5% (or less) tax is going to drastically effect either LBS or consumers, especially if the know where the money is going. What percentage of road construction is beyond the gas tax? – apply the same percentage to this fund and we’d probably have some serious bike infrastructure.


jonawebb

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Mar 4 2013 at 1:56pm #

$25 or so might figure into somebody’s decision to buy a bike from an on-line site instead of an LBS. And I can absolutely guarantee you that bike shops would go crazy if anything like this was ever proposed. They are already under serious pressure from people buying stuff on-line. Remember how bars reacted to Onorato’s drink tax.
My own preference would be for registration, which would also make recovery of a stolen bike a little more likely. I wouldn’t mind spending several bucks a year if the money went to cycling infrastructure.
But in the larger picture we should be taxing the things we want to reduce consumption of, i.e., gas, and use the money to subsidize stuff we want more of, like transit and cycling infrastructure.


Marko82

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Mar 4 2013 at 1:59pm #

“Why a Bicycle Tax Might Not Be Pointless After All”

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/02/why-bike-tax-might-not-be-pointless-after-all/4828/


brybot

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Mar 4 2013 at 2:26pm #

Interesting.

1. It is true that we cyclists produce greenhouse gasses, but that is kind of essential to living.

Here is my assessment of the environmental impacts of cycling as an alternative to driving a vehicle.

*Bike*
- Production (energy, water, waste material, waste chemicals)
- Maintenance (grease, cleaning chemicals)
- Expendable items (tires, tubes, brake pads, batteries for lights)
- Fuel (people food)
- Exhaust (H2O, CO2, CH4, water, carbon dioxide, methane)
- Efficiency (25% converting calories to joules)
- Mass (rider + bike ~= 90 kg)

*Car*
-Production (energy, water, waste material, waste chemicals)
- Maintenance (grease, oil, cleaning chemicals, wiper fluid, radiator fluid)
- Expendable items (oil filters, tires, brake pads, car battery)
- Fuel (gasoline)
-Exhaust (H2O, CO2, O3, CO, NOx, water, carbon dioxide, ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides)
-Efficiency (20% average)
- Mass ( ~1500 kg )

Bike is smaller and has fewer parts it wins easily in production, maintenance and expendables.

For food versus fuel, the answer is more complicated because food production can be very environmentally degrading. However, drilling for oil and burning it is also terrible.

Humans produce no dangerous exhaust fumes, but some greenhouse gasses. Humans also produce some amount of this regardless of cycling or driving.

As for efficiency and mass comparison, a full evaluation would require some analysis of driving profiles and wind resistance + tire friction, but a basic back of the envelop energy calculation shows:

Bringing a car up to 55 mph (24.5 m/s) requires 2.25 MJ of energy.
0.5 m v^2 / efficiency = 0.5 * 1500 * 24.5^2 / 0.2 = 2.25 MJ

Bringing a bike up to 20 mph requires (8.9 m/s) requires 14.3 kj
0.5 m v^2 / efficiency = 0.5 * 90 *8.9^2 /0.25 = 14.3 kJ

That is an energy difference of 157x!
(1 MJ = 1000 kJ, so 2.25 MJ is 2250 kJ compared to 14.3 kJ)

Another metric:
A human may burn ~ 700 calories per hour @ 15mph on a bike
That equates to 700 calories /15 mile = 47 calories per mile, or 195 kJ / mile
A car getting 30 mpg going 55 mph (max mpg efficiency)
This equates to 132 MJ/gal / 30 mile/gal = 4.4 MJ / mile

That is an energy difference of 22.6x!

From an energy standpoint, bikes win hands down. If emissions are proportional to energy (may not be an accurate assumption. Energy is required to grow food, drill for gas. And human body chemistry is different than an internal combustion engine), then people on bikes produce 4.4% of the emissions that cars do, and none of the health hazardous stuff. Also, by biking, we stay healthy and reduce medical costs down the line.

By every metric, bikes win on the environmental perspective.

(please check my math. I did it all hurriedly)

2. I don’t think I would mind a tax on bicycles over $500 so long as the money was explicitly used for bicycle infrastructure and that it was not replacing existing money used for that purpose. People without much money can still get decent bikes and avoid the tax. Plus, if this becomes widespread, I’m sure bike companies would make $499 a price point for a lot of their bikes.


Kordite

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Mar 4 2013 at 2:31pm #

Though I expect that a bike tax for bike infrastructure would allow those autodominionists to double-down when they complain even more loudly that the money they spend for gas taxes should not go to “frivolous” things like bike or pedestrian infrastructure.


Steven

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Mar 4 2013 at 2:42pm #

I worry that the end result of a bicycle tax is the end of all other funding for bike infrastructure, and a drastic decrease in the amount spent. First it’ll be “in addition” to existing spending, sure, but not for long.


byogman

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Mar 4 2013 at 2:58pm #

We’ll start with emissions. If you want to be thorough about it, there’s a lot more to consider than what we breath out (or more so than we would normally) vs. what comes from a tailpipe. There’s a lot of energy used in food production (an amount that varies very widely by the food in question, beef is really bad (sigh)), but there’s also a lot of energy used in oil drilling, gas refining, etc. And then there’s the of whether energy put into bicycling results in equivalent increase in caloric consumption. In my case, the answer has been no, I’ve just lost weight and come to another equilibrium. I suspect that’s true of a lot of riders. I’m going to unscientifically but confidently say… hahaha.

OK, now, if gas taxes and tolls actually paid for the lanes motor vehicles use rather than passing on an implicit tax to everyone who doesn’t drive then I’d be more than happy to pay something for using my bike, too. A tax as a “conversation starter” trying to salve motorists’ feelings that cyclists don’t “pay their share” when in fact the subsidy runs the other way, well, no, doesn’t strike me either just or even sensible. A conversation founded on a lie seems unlikely to find its way to any sort of truth.

Now, I would actually be ok with registering my bike, submitting to inspections (brakes and lights presumably) and even being require to put turn signals on my bike (if they were available! I’ve seen a couple hack things but nothing ready to buy). Not that these wouldn’t be a PITA sometimes, and registration could be a trojan horse for things far more anti-cyclist down the pike. But at least it’s a proposal with a logical basis and could therefore start a conversation that proceeds along logical lines.


brybot

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Mar 4 2013 at 3:04pm #

jonawebb wrote:My own preference would be for registration, which would also make recovery of a stolen bike a little more likely. I wouldn’t mind spending several bucks a year if the money went to cycling infrastructure.
But in the larger picture we should be taxing the things we want to reduce consumption of, i.e., gas, and use the money to subsidize stuff we want more of, like transit and cycling infrastructure.

I agree with all of these statements.


floggingdavy

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Mar 4 2013 at 3:21pm #

In response to the registration of bicycles…

I am very against this for a number of reasons. I enjoy building and selling used bikes. I would hate to have to register a dozen bikes a year so i can ride them for a few weeks and then sell them or risk getting a ticket for riding an unregistered bicycle. I also don’t like having my bike attached in any way, shape, or form to the government. this also isnt practical for low income people, children, esp those of low income parents, homeless people who may have all their belongings on their bikes, and people like myself who own numerous bikes for short amounts of time. if anything, this would discourage people from riding.


Drewbacca

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Mar 4 2013 at 3:22pm #

A bicycle tax has merit if implemented correctly (such as a registration, as mentioned above) and granted that the funds are guaranteed to only go into bicycle infrastructure.

It’s perfectly logical to take money from auto infrastructure and put it towards bicycle infrastructure if the end goal is to reduce congestion and road deterioration. The same goes with public-transit. It is less logical to take money that is specifically set aside for bicycle use and use it for other purposes (unless that purpose would be highering an extra police officer to monitor known problem spots for bicyclists.

@floggingdavy, registering the rider as opposed to the bicycle itself and allowing for up to ten bicycles or something would fix at least one of your criticisms. I can only ride one bike at a time anyways and I would have a serious problem requiring an individual registration for every bike (or partial-bike) that I own.

I like that the proposed threshold is $500; we can call it the “carbon tax” or the “spandex tax.” LOL (noting that I have several bikes over $500 which are all steel… I’m joking about the names).


Jack

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Mar 4 2013 at 3:34pm #

I sent an email to Rep Orcutt and received the same response as ajbooth. I’m guessing he’s feeling kinda stupid.

From: John Osgood
Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2013 8:05 AM
To: Orcutt, Rep. Ed
Subject: A Defining Statement

I just wanted to pass along a quick congratulatory note. You should expect to see your name mentioned often when folks want to point out examples of Tea Party buffoonery.

“But if I am not mistaken, a cyclist 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.”


brybot

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Mar 4 2013 at 3:37pm #

Drewbacca wrote:I like that the proposed threshold is $500; we can call it the “carbon tax” or the “spandex tax.” LOL (noting that I have several bikes over $500 which are all steel… I’m joking about the names).

I should be getting a tax credit for my carbon bike! Carbon sequestration in bicycle form FTW


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 4 2013 at 4:04pm #

Someone jogging is doing the same sort of exertion as a cyclist.

Taxes on bikes: It would have to be a tax on the amount exceeding a certain point, or only new bikes, even a crappy $89.95 BSO from Whatever-Mart. But I would strenuously object to any tax on bikes at all, on principle.

I also object to requiring the attachment of lights. Having lights, yes. Requiring they actually be attached to the bike, no. My reason is that in my experience, they easily get broken off, or obscured by cargo, or stolen. I would rather that the cyclist be lit, not that the machine the cyclist is on be lit. I have a big, bright red blinky on my helmet, that does at least as much good as the light on the bike. Illuminated vests or jackets are good, too.

As to the rep himself, I think he and his ilk are so far into their alternate version of reality that they simply cannot think like rational humans, at least at our understanding of rational.


RoadKillen

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Mar 4 2013 at 4:17pm #

A $25 tax on a $500+ bike from a shop will ensure that I never buy a whole bike from an LBS and continue to cobble bikes together from parts that I buy online and from the LBS.

Bike registration…not just no, *%$# NO! I don’t see why my name, rank and serial number has to be in yet another government database.

I emit CO2 and methane while cycling. A carbon fartprint, if you will.


Mikhail

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Mar 4 2013 at 4:28pm #

brybot wrote:Bringing a car up to 55 mph (24.5 m/s) requires 2.25 MJ of energy.
0.5 m v^2 / efficiency = 0.5 * 1500 * 24.5^2 / 0.2 = 2.25 MJ

Bringing a bike up to 20 mph requires (8.9 m/s) requires 14.3 kj
0.5 m v^2 / efficiency = 0.5 * 90 *8.9^2 /0.25 = 14.3 kJ

That is an energy difference of 157x!
(1 MJ = 1000 kJ, so 2.25 MJ is 2250 kJ compared to 14.3 kJ)

This is true in vacuum. With air resistance everything is even worse. with rolling resistance even “worser”.


Drewbacca

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Mar 4 2013 at 7:42pm #

“As to the rep himself, I think he and his ilk are so far into their alternate version of reality that they simply cannot think like rational humans, at least at our understanding of rational.”

“Reality has a liberal bias.” ~Stephen Colbert

Also, I agree about the lights. My commuter has lights; my good-weather-go-fast bicycle does not, nor does it need them (If I’m pushing twilight, I’ll hook a light to my jersey for safety). I think the problem with any law/regulation is that so many scenarios must be accounted for.


Pierce

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Mar 4 2013 at 8:44pm #

$25 on a $500 bike is 5%

Plus, if you’re buying a $500+ bike, is $25 really going to break the bank?

A lot of guys around here regularly buy $1000+ bikes and who knows how much in components

For those thrifty among us, I can’t imagine we’d be buying new bikes anyways


joanne

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Mar 4 2013 at 9:21pm #

If we’re operating based on a “use tax” system, how about they just immediately reallocate the money cyclists pay for automobile-only interstates to bike infrastructure? Or do cyclists have to subsidize the stuff they don’t use AND pay use taxes to get stuff they do use?


salty

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Mar 4 2013 at 10:07pm #

Bike taxes, bike registration, etc. are terrible ideas. Kordite hit the nail on the head, they only help to advance these ridiculous arguments that “bikes don’t pay for the roads”, when the truth is more like “cars don’t pay for the roads” in the first place. Aside from that, they’re a deterrent to cycling in the first place. Just say no.

http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

http://www.assmotax.org/Releases/AMCT%20release:%20The%20Automobile%20Subsidy.php


brybot

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Mar 4 2013 at 10:17pm #

Mikhail wrote:This is true in vacuum. With air resistance everything is even worse. with rolling resistance even “worser”.

see

brybot wrote:As for efficiency and mass comparison, a full evaluation would require some analysis of driving profiles and wind resistance + tire friction, but a basic back of the envelop energy calculation shows:

That was just back of the envelope. Wind resistance follows a square law with velocity and is also roughly proportional to frontal area. If you factor in wind resistance, it will most likely be even more in favor of the bicycle. The second calculation assumes running at a constant speed. Because it uses calories/mile and mpg, we don’t need to factor in any resistances or efficiencies, so that is a pretty good estimate.


byogman

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Mar 5 2013 at 12:42am #

I agree with the amendments suggested to inspections (per person, not per bike). I recognize it is a little more cost, but let’s be honest, it’s peanuts compared to anything other transportation option… nothing game changing going on here.

And nothing proposed for inspection is illogical, it all benefits safety with minimal downside. I could really go further (and plan to, on my current commuter). I think there’s a lot of legitimacy in public perception to be gained if this is something we voluntarily accept.

Think about how a lack of perceived legitimacy sets us back right now. Think about how many roads have strong uphills here that are tough to tangle with traffic on? This is problem familiar to any motorist who has driven through the mountains and it has an easy and uncontroversial solution, truck lanes. Except our truck lanes just require paint. So why don’t we have this freaking everywhere already?

Because we’re seen as self entitled jerks delaying motorists by playing around on toys. A bike with a rear view mirror, lights, signals if available, basic stuff to see and be noticed, and an inspection sticker saying it’s all ok… sure maybe it’s ugly, but it’s also clearly not a toy.


salty

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Mar 5 2013 at 1:37am #

Jumping through a bunch of unnecessary hoops isn’t going to buy us any “legitimacy”, it’s just going to make people less likely to ride bikes.

The cost of administering an inspection program would be way higher than any actual benefit (the same is probably true for cars, FWIW). Just put that money towards better infrastructure to begin with.


Benzo

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Mar 5 2013 at 8:00am #

Let’s put a $10 pedestrian tax on all shoes sold. People who walk to work do not pay their fair share for walking across public sidewalks and crossing public streets. I walked to work for 2 years and don’t see any problem with it. Freeloaders!?!!?!


edmonds59

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Mar 5 2013 at 8:18am #

“Jumping through a bunch of unnecessary hoops isn’t going to buy us any “legitimacy”, it’s just going to make people less likely to ride bikes.” ^that.


Benzo

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Mar 5 2013 at 8:25am #

Seriously though, the proposed tax seems like a luxury tax. A $500 dollar bike puts just as much wear and tear on the road as a $200 bike from wal-mart.

We already pay the state (and in some places local government) sales taxes when we buy bikes. There is no reason to tax either differently. We don’t tax cars over $30k at a different percentage than cars that cost $12k, do we?

How about we tax beer that costs more than $4 a pour an extra 25 cents… let’s use that to pay for bike infrastructure like we did it for transit. Actually, no, let’s not. The tax and the resulting spending are unrelated and makes no sense whatsoever.

I’m all for allowing sales tax to be imposed on online retailers. That sector is no longer a venerable environment like it was in the 90s. Now it’s hurting local businesses, especially bike shops. Amazon is already paying out state taxes (somewhat due to politial pressure). They shouldn’t be the only ones. It should be consistent. Either everyone does or everyone doesn’t. The state can use the extra cash to do what it needs without picking on bikes.


edmonds59

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Mar 5 2013 at 9:11am #

An online retail tax seems like an excellent idea. Seems like it would make up for some of the damage done to local retailers.
Also since probably very few lower income families are doing the bulk of online shopping, it would impact that category less than most other taxes, gas, etc.
As I understand it, online retailers charge tax if they have a store in the state in which the item is being purchased. So Performance Bike charges PA sales tax, and Nashbar does not. Seems like a serious dis-incentive to opening a brick and mortar store in a community. That’s kind of effed up.


Ahlir

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Mar 5 2013 at 9:23am #

I believe that we still have a “gas guzzler” tax in effect for cars that have gas mileage below a certain level. This is one of the reasons that SUVs (which were classified as “trucks”) are exempt from the tax and why they became popular.

Thinking of bicycle taxes as “user fees” doesn’t make sense since it doesn’t take externalities into account. It would make more sense to raise the gasoline tax (which directly contributes to CO2 pollution) and use the proceeds to improve transit that offers people ways to get around while reducing pollution.


byogman

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Mar 5 2013 at 9:42am #


Jumping through a bunch of unnecessary hoops isn’t going to buy us any “legitimacy”, it’s just going to make people less likely to ride bikes.

One of the attractive qualities of starting out biking is the libertarian quality. I do understand that. But that libertarian quality is a double edged sword… while lowering barriers to entry it does limit how seriously you’re taken, especially given that some use it as an excuse for stupid behaviors like going without a rear blinker and/or headlight at night. That crap is dangerous, and I’m sorry DOES set the cause back. My final 2c on the subject.


jonawebb

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Mar 5 2013 at 9:50am #

As more and more people start biking it becomes more necessary to have some sort of regulation, including, probably, registration, definitely enforcement of safety rules like lighting (which are required in most places, including PA, BTW), and enforcement of traffic laws on cyclists. It’s only when biking is a sort of fringe activity that it can retain its libertarian, free, nature. I don’t think we’re near that point here in Pittsburgh but NYC is, and European cities long since passed that point (though they’re less libertarian anyway).


gg

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Mar 5 2013 at 11:09am #

The bicycle tax would probably go to infrastructure for a little while and then it will be diverted into the general fund and be used for whatever. Just the way taxes work. Sort of like the Johnstown Flood Tax. As far as comparing cyclists vs cars and CO2 emissions, that says it all when it comes to this guy. Anyone that would even think of comparing the two is not on our side in any way no matter what he states after the fact. JMHO.


Ahlir

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Mar 5 2013 at 11:31am #

The first time I heard this kind of thing was a claim that if you put six runners into a Honda car (forget the model) and drove them a mile you would generate less CO2 than if you had them run the same distance!!

Rep Ed Olcutt somehow forgets to note that he, too, personally generates CO2 pollution. Perhaps we should tax breathing?

Registering or otherwise taxing bicycles sounds ok if you believe that taxation in and of itself is a desirable goal. That’s the wrong way to think about it. The purpose of taxation is (and always was) to pay for social expenditures. These days, in a more or less democratic system, taxes should produce social benefits. For example, decrease driving and increase public transit (and biking), with the goal addressing CO2 pollution and promoting health.


jonawebb

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Mar 5 2013 at 11:40am #

@ahlir, not thinking about the math, it’s possible, but the important thing to remember is that you rarely have six people in a car. Since cars usually just have one or two people, the math runs the other way; and of course cycling is much more efficient than running, so the benefits would be even greater.
There was a famous diagram showing energy expenditure for various modes of travel in Scientific American (including everything from salmon swimming upstream to jet airplanes.) Cycling was way down in the bottom left corner, the most efficient way to travel ever invented.
Here it is: Scientific American, March 1973, S.S. Wilson, “Bicycle Technology”. Can’t find the diagram itself.


byogman

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Mar 5 2013 at 12:02pm #

“Registering or otherwise taxing bicycles sounds ok if you believe that taxation in and of itself is a desirable goal. ”

I think of these two very differently. Taxation on bicycles is founded on a lie that we aren’t already paying more than our share for roads. And thus I don’t think it makes sense or is helpful to the conversation.

Registration is so it’s possible to know who’s who out there. Kind of common sense I think, though I would like to see Idaho rules first so there isn’t a rash of pointless ticketing for rolling through stops slowly under good visibility.

Registration also makes it possible to have a system of inspections. Upside and downside to both is the move away from an effectively libertarian system to one where bikes and cars become more similar road users. More of a PITA, but the safety motivations are sound and I think it would earn some respect for us out there.

No need to inflate the cost of either beyond covering program cost and turn them into a tax. Agreed with gg, would ultimately go to a slush fund anyway.


Mikhail

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Mar 5 2013 at 12:29pm #

brybot wrote:That was just back of the envelope. Wind resistance follows a square law with velocity and is also roughly proportional to frontal area.

Cube. Cd depends on V n general case.

While getting to a certain speed is important, sustaining speed is more important. On a bike on even surface you need about 140-160kW (for an average bicyclist) to sustain 20 m/h. And around 280 W for 25 m/h (road bike and road bike position).

Other remark should be made in regards of speeds. If you want to compare energy, I think, you should consider the same speed. Bringing a car to 20 m/h would require 297038 j or 297 kj if we accept efficiency at 0.2.


Mikhail

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Mar 5 2013 at 12:33pm #

StuInMcCandless wrote:Someone jogging is doing the same sort of exertion as a cyclist.

Any who exercises does it. :) So, if a car driver wants to be in shape then (s)he going to exercise. So car driver pollutes twice: one time as a car driver and another time as “bicyclist”.


brybot

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Mar 5 2013 at 12:48pm #

Mikhail wrote:Cube. Cd depends on V n general case.

That is for power, specifically, so you are right that I should have mentioned that. However, wind resistance follows the square law.

I didn’t consider the same speeds because cars and bikes typically don’t follow the same velocity profiles, so it wouldn’t make sense to make them the same. If I did, it would only help the bicycle case because cars are designed to have peak efficiency at highway speed, not at bicycle speed.

Either way, none of those numbers are meant to be exact. They are simply back of the envelope to give an idea for the order of magnitude of energy.

Also, @Mikhail, it seems like you and I are the only ones focusing on energy as the rest of the thread has focused on policy. Maybe we should make a new thread for this discussion, if it continues?


helen s

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Mar 5 2013 at 1:07pm #

I would consider registration for bikes if all guns required the same.


floggingdavy

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Mar 5 2013 at 1:27pm #

“Jumping through a bunch of unnecessary hoops isn’t going to buy us any “legitimacy”, it’s just going to make people less likely to ride bikes.”

I agree with this. You then also have issues of inspection like oh this bike doesnt have brakes. i know my bmx friends would not put brakes on their bikes and would have one more reason to be criminalized by the police.

Many of you are also forgetting that ‘peanuts’ to some of us actually matters to many impoverished people.

Would you have to get a visitors pass that must be kept on hand if you lend a bike to a friend from out of town?


byogman

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Mar 5 2013 at 2:01pm #

You shouldn’t need all bikes inspected, just your primary road going vehicle. Like I said, per person not per bike. By parallelism with driving, someone whose driver’s license or state id is from out of state wouldn’t be subject to our inspection requirements. A loophole, but more trouble than it’s worth to close and small enough not to matter.

Being broke sucks, I’ve been there. But a rear view mirror costs what, 10, 15$? Blinky? About the the same to get started. I don’t see why the sort of inspection I’m imagining need cost any more than about the same. A headlight I thought was a somewhat bigger cost for anything worth getting, but then found this for 30ish. So it’s a lot for peanuts but not much compared to almost anything else in life. I don’t it’s the sort of start-up cost that needs to steer public policy if it’s cheaper than taking the bus for a month.

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