The ladder effect portion of the code is left up to alot of interpretation by your inspector. We do lots of rails like this and inspectors dont ever say a word. Last year we had a client who wanted cable rail. She had already had words with the inspector about other things so I knew to talk to him first. He said no horizontal members at all! A month later,a house two houses down has cable rail. Do some research on NOMMA about this dumb code.