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Young ATV riders and motorcyclists join state lawmakers to seek lead-law exemption

March 11, 2009


Young riders, parents, state lawmakers and others concerned about the current federal ban on selling youth ATVs and dirtbikes rallied on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, Wednesday, March 4, to support an exemption to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

The press conference that followed was organized by State Rep. Tom Self (R-Cole Camp), who also sponsored a successful Missouri House resolution urging the Consumer Product Safety Commission to "provide a waiver or exclusion for youth ATVs and motorcycles from the lead limit requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act."

Under the CPSIA, which took effect Feb. 10, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers are barred from making, importing, distributing or selling any product intended for children 12 and under that contains more than 600 parts per million of lead in any accessible part. According to the CPSC, that includes youth-sized motorcycles and ATVs, which include lead in such things as batteries, brakes and engines. The ban also shelves many parts needed for repair.

The CPSIA greatly concerns the ATVA, American Motorcyclist Association, the industry and the off-highway vehicle community because it encourages parents to put their youngsters on adult-sized OHVs. There is also great concern for the survival of powersports dealers and their employees, which are already struggling given the current recession. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, the CPSIA could lead to $1 billion in lost economic value annually for the industry.

"Washington, D.C. tells us that this ban is a result of unintended consequences, effectively passing the buck," said Ed Moreland, AMA/ATVA vice president for government relations, who spoke at the rally. "That's not good enough. These changes need to be made now before kids are injured, and thousands of small family-owned businesses are needlessly put out of business."

Moreland added that it is ironic that the agency with which the AMA and the industry have spent years developing youth-sized OHV standards is now charged with enforcing the CPSIA, effectively rendering the standards useless.

"Young riders represent the future of motorcycling and ATVing in America, and shouldn't be denied their right to ride," he said.

Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the MIC, also spoke at the Missouri gathering. He noted that the potential losses for the powersports industry are massive "at a time when this country cannot afford additional economic losses." Thousands of small businesses across America are being hurt by the ban, he added.

Moreland asked all concerned parents and riders nationwide to contact their own state lawmakers to urge them to pass resolutions like Missouri's, supporting an exemption to the law banning youth-sized ATVs and motorcycles. They also need to contact the members of their federal congressional delegations and the CPSC to demand that the law be changed to include an exemption, he said.

The easiest way to do this is to go to the Rapid Response Center on this website. There, riders and their parents can contact lawmakers and the CPSC to voice their concerns.

"Nearly 40,000 people have already used the AMA website to voice their displeasure to Congress and the CPSC, but we can't stop now, we have to keep up the pressure," said Moreland.

Interested parties can also sign up to get e-mail Action Alerts in the Rights section to learn when action needs to be taken on issues threatening motorcycling and ATV riding.

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