Some 37 federal lawmakers have declared their support for H.R. 412, the Kids Just Want to Ride Act, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
Attracting bi-partisan attention, the bill was introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.). It seeks to exempt kids' off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 -- also known as the lead law -- that imposes a de facto ban on the sale of those vehicles at the end of the year.
The CPSIA took effect Feb. 10, 2009 but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency responsible for implementing the law, has delayed enforcement of key portions until the end of 2011.
"The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is an important law with many provisions that help protect our children against toys with lead they may put in their mouth or ingest," said Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), who is among those who recently signed on to support H.R. 412. "However, the law did not create a necessary exemption for youth-model motorcycles and ATVs, which do contain some lead in the engines and battery compartments and which children are highly unlikely to put in their mouths.
"This small change to the law will help ensure youth-model motorcycles and ATVs are not pulled from the shelves and remain available to the parents of children who wish to ride appropriately sized vehicles designed just for them that already meet government safety guidelines," Ross said.
Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, noted that it's very important for lawmakers to cosponsor the legislation to increase its chances of passage.
"It's been proven that lawmakers listen to the voices of AMA members and members of the AMA's sister organization, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA)," Moreland said. "It's critical that everyone who supports responsible motorized outdoor recreation for children contact their lawmakers to support this legislation so that we can stop the ban."
The easiest way to contact lawmakers is through the Rights section of the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com
The CPSIA bans the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under that contains more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part. It also requires all children's products undergo periodic testing by independent laboratories approved by the CPSC.
The CPSC has delayed enforcing key portions of the law until after the end of the year. Unless the CPSIA is changed by then, the sale of child-sized dirtbikes and ATVs will effectively be banned.
Among others cosponsoring the Kids Just Want to Ride bill are Reps. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.).
"The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CSPIA) law is overreaching its initial intent, which was to prevent children from ingesting lead contained in toys, jewelry and similar harmful items, not to keep children off of OHVs that contain small amounts of lead in certain mechanical components," Simpson said. "Parents must be aware of the dangers that lead exposure poses for children, and young OHV users must be made aware of these dangers just as they are made aware of the dangers of using an OHV in the first place.
"I will continue to strongly support robust consumer protections on any product that comes into contact with children, but an outright ban of children's OHVs is not the solution," he said. "With many new laws, problems are uncovered in the implementation that were not anticipated or intended during their formation. A balance must be struck to ensure that children are protected without unfairly burdening retailers."
Kinzinger said: "Banning children from using appropriate child-sized off-highway vehicles prevents kids from using the proper vehicles that were designed to keep them safe. As a cosponsor of the Kids Just Want to Ride Act, we must eliminate any risk that pushes children toward riding oversized vehicles that are nearly impossible for a young rider to safely control."
Said McKinley: "I applaud Congressman Rehberg's efforts and am proud to cosponsor this legislation to look out for the best interests of our young people. I look forward to fighting for passage of this legislation in my role as a member of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee on the House Energy and Commerce Committee."
Other lawmakers cosponsoring H.R. 412 are Reps. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.).
Also, Reps. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Timothy Walz (D-Minn.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Don Young (R-Alaska).
For more information, go to http://capwiz.com/amacycle/go/HR412