Yesterday, a law went into effect prohibiting the sale of minicycles to children under the age of 13 as a result of the lead content in the machines (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Title I, Section 101). This law, which arguably applies to both motorcycles and ATVs, treats any children’s product that contains more lead than the limit established by law as a banned hazardous substance.
We have already begun to experience the devastating consequences of this new legislation upon our sport, as OEMs have already pulled these machines from their showroom floors. Youth racing is the foundation of our sport. That is when most of you fell in love with motorcycles in the first place, only to grow up to bring your own kids back to the racetracks. Only now, they can’t ride.
On behalf of MX Sports (Loretta Lynn’s), Racer Productions (GNCC), and ATVPG (ATV Amateur Nationals), we are extremely concerned with the short- and long-range effects of this new legislation, as the first rounds in all of our various series are less than two weeks away, and all include classes for youth racers under the age of 13. But it’s not just our events – WORCS, NMA, Mini Os, SETRA, etc., are all adversely impacted.
It is our opinion that the new law is inapplicable to off-highway motorsports, as neither motorcycles nor ATVs have the potential for ingestion, and lead from motorcycles is not likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream or present a health hazard. Let’s face it – when was the last time someone swallowed a motorcycle? Any other interpretation would be silly. Be that as it may, the law will continue to adversely affect our industry unless and until an exemption is granted.
Presently, there is a petition for an immediate temporary exemption pending before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) filed by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) on behalf of the OEMs, distributors, and industry associations. This petition, if granted, would enable our industry to move forward this racing season while the applicability of the law to the off-highway industry is determined.
What can you do?
A form letter for submission to the CPSC in support of the petition for exemption is available here as prepared by the MIC. The letter will also be available this weekend at the Indy tradeshow. Simply print out one copy for each person in your family and submit it ASAP. In the meantime, AMA is preparing a letter for submission by its membership to the CPSC. Be on the lookout for that one as well.
Also, an electronic form letter has been prepared by State Representative Tom Self of Missouri. Please go his website at www.tomself.com. Just fill in your name and address and hit “Submit” to register your support. Please submit this letter on behalf of every member of your family – regardless of age.
What else can you do?
Contact your congressmen and senators; let them know that this legislation will have the unintended consequences of crippling an entire industry. Surely, it could not have been the spirit or intent of the new law to apply to motorcycles or bicycles (which apparently have lead in the brake cables).
Time is of the essence. The very future of our sport and of our industry depends on this. We must support the pending petition before the commencement of the national racing season.