Riders Respond to OHV Lead Restrictions

February 17, 2009
Courtesy of the MIC
The TTR50 has a couple of features to help parents supervise the riding experience  including a key-type ignition to control when the bike is ridden and a throttle-stop screw to limit how fast.
Youth motorcycles and ATVs are included in the Act and OEMs will have to comply with testing and manufacturing regulations.

Thousands of letters to Washington legislators and regulators have been generated by the powersports industry since the ban on youth motorcycles and ATVs began one week ago. The Motorcycle Industry Council and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America staged a letter-writing campaign at Dealer Expo 2009 in Indianapolis over the weekend, calling for exclusions from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

All Expo attendees were encouraged to sign letters and send e-mails on behalf of the industry and its customers. The letters will be delivered to the Consumer Product Safety Commission today and copies will be sent to congressional leaders, urging them to support the MIC and SVIA requests for exclusion so that youth models can continue to be sold. The act is cutting off access to appropriate-sized models for children 12 and under, and ruining sales at many dealerships nationwide.

“This was just part of an all-out effort to exclude ATVs and motorcycles from this overly broad regulation,” said Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the MIC and SVIA. “For weeks, we’ve been urging the CPSC to grant our petitions and for members of Congress to support our requests. We’ve worked on a lot of media coverage and we’ll be delivering a lot of mail, from constituents nationwide, about this legislation being bad for both families and business as it pertains to the powersports industry.”

By Monday at noon, 4,390 Expo attendees had signed letters. And more letters were sent directly to representatives, via the Web site of Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) at www.arra-access.com. Attendees also were encouraged to visit www.tomself.com, a Web site that helps users generate letters to key congressional subcommittee members. Rep. Tom Self, from the 116th District in Missouri, replaced his home page with a letter-generator to reach out to the U.S. Congress as well as state representatives and senators.

“This situation is serious and we are very concerned about an unintended consequence of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act,” Vitrano said. “With right-size models being unavailable to families, we may see more kids out on adult ATVs and we know that this leads to crashes. The CPSC, the ATV industry, consumer groups, safety advocates and parents all agree that it’s critical to keep riders under the age of 16 off of large ATVs designed for adults.”
The industry has urged the CPSC and federal legislators to take a common-sense approach to implementation of the CPSIA’s lead-content provisions and minimize the negative economic impact of the current ruling. Some products may need to be destroyed, which would result in severe hardship to manufacturers, distributors and their dealerships during a time of economic disruption.

On Feb. 5, the CPSC denied a request for an emergency stay, made by the National Association of Manufacturers CPSC Coalition, and joined by the MIC and SVIA. The CPSC stated that it did not have authority under the law to grant such a stay.

The CPSIA, however, includes provisions that enable the CPSC to grant exclusions for products on a case-by-case basis. The MIC and SVIA believe that the lead-content provisions of the act, which originally were aimed at toys that can be mouthed by children, were never intended to apply to youth ATVs and motorcycles.

On Feb. 10, the lead-content provisions of the CPSIA went into effect. Powersports companies are now prohibited from selling products that are intended primarily for youth, aged 12 and under, and having lead content in excess of the limits identified in the act.

Most of the components making up youth powersports products are in compliance. But some parts unavoidably contain small quantities of lead in excess of the CPSIA limits, such as the valve stems on the tires, aluminum in some brake components, and the terminals on the batteries. Lead in these components is necessary, either because small amounts of lead are needed for safety (such as machining the deep grooves on tire valves, which is needed to assure tire air retention) or functionality (such as the lead in battery terminals, which is needed to conduct electricity).

Since 1983, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America® has promoted the safe and responsible use of All-Terrain Vehicles through rider training programs, public awareness campaigns, and state legislation. The SVIA also serves as a resource for ATV research, statistics, and vehicle standards. The SVIA, based in Irvine, Calif., is a not-for-profit trade association sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, CROSSRUNNER, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, KYMCO, Polaris, Suzuki, Tomberlin and Yamaha. For membership information, call (949) 727-3727. For safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit www.atvsafety.org and click on “Online Enrollment” or call (800) 887-2887.