Manufacturers, dealers happy with new kids' off-highway vehicle law
August 18, 2011
off-highway vehicle (OHV) manufacturers, dealers and others already
suffering because of the nation's flagging economy, a new law that
repeals a de facto ban on the sale of kids' OHVs is welcomed news, the
American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
business owners and managers say the new law will help them stay in
business, and will foster the sports of motorcycling and all-terrain
vehicle (ATV) riding by introducing children to a lifelong sport.
"Kids who enjoy responsible motorized recreation with their families
are really the lifeblood of our sport because they grow into
responsible adult riders," said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. "So
the ban on the sale of children's OHVs would have hurt businesses and
dealers not only now, but into the future as well. Thanks to the outcry
from individual AMA members and others, this ban is now history."
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 ATVs, that contained more than a
specified amount of lead in any accessible part that might be ingested.
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.
president of Cobra Motorcycles, which makes kids' competition motocross
machines, is happy that the long fight is over. Hilbert had feared that
his company would be forced to close its doors because it wouldn't be
able to afford to comply with the testing requirements of the CPSIA.
"I'm extremely relieved that we will be able to stay in business after
Dec. 31 of this year," Hilbert said. "The question I was asked a lot is
whether we could have made a motorcycle that met the requirement for
lead. Eventually we could have gotten there with a lot of work and a
lot of research... But the cost of compliance would have made it
economically unviable to make children's motorcycles.
"There's never been any evidence whatsoever that kids have ingested any
lead in their bloodstreams from riding a motorcycle," Hilbert added.
"So there is no safety issue with lead."
Tim Cotter of MX
Sports, which has been at the front of the fight with the AMA and
others, said the law's change will have far-reaching consequences.
"You don't have to go very far in your economics textbook to see what
this means for us," he says of the company that runs AMA motocross
qualifiers and the Loretta Lynn's AMA Motocross National Championships.
"If you can still buy minibikes, kids can still race minibikes.
"But it goes farther than that," he says. "This will help motorcycling,
both on- and off-road, to continue to grow. When you take away the
ability of kids to be introduced to motorcycling before the age of 12,
you probably lost those kids. They'll be on to something else. Now the
choice is still there.
this reared its head several years ago, I never dreamed it'd take until
August 2011, to get this thing resolved," Cotter continued. "Once we
learned about it, with the AMA's leadership and the government
relations team guiding us, I believe our success is based on the
success of AMA members getting organized."
Jerry Abboud, executive director of the Powersports Dealers Association
of Colorado, said the signing of the new law "brings to an end the
unfortunate example of a law that simply went beyond its intended
purpose and well into the private lives of parents in America
concerning their right to choose and guide their children's
"Kudos to the AMA for leading the
charge and every other motorized organization, club, dealer, family and
individual who made this possible through one united voice," he said.
"A tip of the hat to the bill's sponsors and members of Congress for
getting this one right."
Bill Hearne, operating manager for
Outdoor Motorsports, a dealership in Spearfish, S.D., says the ban
never should have happened and took way too long for lawmakers to fix.
"But through the efforts of the AMA and a lot of other people, we got a
bad thing turned around," Hearne said. "The sad part is that when we're
trying to have economic development, thousands of dealers lost sales.
It's many millions of dollars nationwide, I'm sure.
take the whole dealer market, there is always someone on the margin,
just hanging on," he said, "and for some, those 10 bikes that weren't
sold would be enough to push him over the edge, and you don't have just
the owner, but the workers too."
Like others in the
motorcycling and ATV communities, Paul Vitrano, general counsel of the
Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and executive vice president and
general counsel of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA),
is pleased with the new law.
"We are gratified that all the
powersports community's efforts paid off. This will ensure that youth
models will be available for them to ride safely with their families,"
Vitrano said. "It's very important because the youth models were
created to give them appropriate-sized vehicles to enter into the