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Families thrilled that new law legalizes the sale of kids' off-highway vehicles

August 15, 2011

With the overturning of a federal law that created a de facto ban on the sale of kid's off-highway vehicles (OHVs), the real winners are the families and children who enjoy responsible motorized recreation, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

"Families across the nation are breathing a sigh of relief now that kids' off-highway vehicles (OHVs) have been exempted from the lead law that banned them," said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. "Families are sharing their stories with us about how they enjoy responsible motorized recreation as a family, and how they thought their riding worlds were about to end.

"Many people worked very hard over the past several years to change the law, and the families were an important part of that effort," Dingman continued. "I tip my helmet to all of them."

On Aug. 12, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 2715 that exempts kids' OHVs from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, known as the lead law.

The CPSIA, which went into effect on Feb. 10, 2009, banned the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under -- including kids' dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) -- that contained more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part that might be ingested.

H.R. 2715 cleared the House by a 421-2 vote on Aug. 1 just before lawmakers went into their summer recess, and earned Senate approval by unanimous consent the same day.

The new law is a victory that is the result of nearly three years of intensive efforts by the AMA and its partner organization, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), their members and millions of advocates of responsible OHV recreation.

Among those who lobbied their federal lawmakers was Peggy Malcolm of Littleton, Colo., who was thrilled when Obama signed the new law.

"It would have been devastating to my children and thousands more just like them if they were unable to ride, and it would have been a shame if the reason they couldn't ride was because 'our' government failed them," Malcolm said.

She is the mother of Erin, 11, Adi, 7, and Carter, 5, who won an AMA video contest that earned them a trip to Washington, D.C., to be the honored guests at the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb on May 26 that brought families together to lobby their lawmakers.

"It's the kids who don't have these outlets that tend to get involved in things that result in living a not-so-positive and healthy lifestyle," Malcolm said.

"Kids gain so much from riding -- no matter what level or for what reason -- whether it's recreationally or competitively. They learn self-discipline, sportsmanship, and responsibility. Riding builds confidence and with that, kids thrive," she said.

Tyler Newcomer, who was instrumental in getting families with young racers from the Tomahawk MX Park in Hedgesville, W.Va., to the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb, said: "Through the hard work of the AMA and the families that support young riders, the voices of our children were heard on Capitol Hill.

"This bill will help protect our children by assuring them the opportunity to ride age-appropriate motorcycles," he said. "The children who attended the Hill Climb know that they helped save their right to ride, but it's also important for them to know they helped protect the motorcycle industry during tough economic times. This bill will help save jobs. Our children truly made a difference."

David Newell of Montpelier, Va., says he was out riding with his sons, Shane, 5, and Michael, 8, when Obama signed the bill into law.

"Michael races 70cc Production in District 13 (Virginia) of the AMA. Shane wants to race as well. Michael loves racing. As long as he keeps his grades up, he can continue to race. We also spend more time together as a family by riding the track together," he said. "If it wasn't for the bill being passed, my son would probably end up sitting in front of the TV playing video games instead of getting all of this exercise."

For more information, go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

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