Ride your party bike to somewhere free.

Westerly produces another bit of evidence that Rhode Island is not ultimately a free state:

[Tom] Riley and Debbie Stebenne said they spent almost $30,000 on a custom party bike for their hotel near Misquamicut Beach.

The goal was to bring an attraction to Rhode Island that is already a success in cities like Nashville, Tennessee. …

But their party bike has been stuck in one spot for the past year. The couple said they cleared the idea with Westerly’s police chief and were approved for a business license, but the Division of Motor Vehicles hit the brakes.

“There’s just no classification for it in state law,” Riley said. …

Last year, a similar bill was passed in the House but not the Senate.

In a free state, people could try things — especially if they make some effort to gather feedback from local officials — and then, if problems arise or they refuse to address officials’ concerns, the government could respond.  In a non-free state like Rhode Island, residents have to go all the way up to the state legislature and beg permission from the government to try new things.

Elected and appointed officials cannot keep up with the changes of life… even if they are the experts on everything they implicitly claim to be.  Moreover, the margins between risk and profit on innovation aren’t so large as to accommodate years of lobbying for legislators to take action on things about which they have very little reason to care.

Such stories hardly attract notice, and they evoke little more than a “huh” from those who do notice them, but they should lead us to shake our heads and consider for a moment what a dynamic place our state could be were we actually free.


Featured image by Tim Foster on Unsplash.


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