Washington state transportation officials say a cyclist’s death earlier this month had nothing to do with their decision to start enforcing a law against bicycle racing on open highways.
Cycling enthusiasts are certain it did. And a Washington State Patrol sergeant seems to agree. WSP Sgt. Chris Powell said the fatality “brought attention” to an activity that is illegal under a 1991 state law.
What prompted the decision isn’t the most important question here. At least two others also deserve discussion: 1. What difference does it make?
If the law that defined bicycles as vehicles prohibits open-road races, shouldn’t that law be enforced regardless of whether it was brought about by an accident?
2. Why does the new enforcement order apply only to Eastern Washington?
Such races are common across the state even though organizers fail to secure required permits. The state applied the ban in only nine Eastern Washington counties.
Meanwhile, transportation officials have said they’re considering a change in regulations to restore racing. Is that appropriate, or is a better resolution possible?
A matter of statistics
Like the Clinton administration, Wells Longshore of Spokane says insurance companies should be denied genetic information that might cause them to increase premiums for people likely to incur certain ailments. Longshore has multiple sclerosis. So do two older sisters, although a younger sister does not.
“My older sister just retired after 40 years of teaching high school and college,” he said. “My next older sister is still teaching kindergarten after 40 years. My younger sister is the healthy one and much less productive.”
While it’s one thing to charge policyholders more because of actual problems and conditions, says Longshore, “we should not penalize people for possible problems.” Most families have a genetic weakness of some sort. In the Longshores’ case, it’s MS. Because of that, he said, Longshore’s two daughters have a slightly greater chance of having multiple sclerosis themselves. Even so, he added, the chances of that are less than the chances of their dying in a jet plane crash. “It’s all statistics, so let’s deal with actual conditions, not possible conditions.”
Questions and answers
“Bagpipes” still wants to hear what issues you want this fall’s municipal and school board candidates to discuss.
, DataTimes MEMO: “Bagpipes” appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. To respond, call Cityline at 458-8800, category 9881, from a Touch-Tone phone, or send a fax to 459-5098 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can leave Doug Floyd a message at 459-5577, extension 5466.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.