PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recommending that the agency refuse to grant an exemption for youth-model off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) from a new anti-lead law, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
The law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that took effect in February, has stopped the sale of dirt bikes and ATVs for children 12 or under. The law was meant to protect children from dangerous levels of lead in toys, but it was written so broadly that it also governs such things as children's books, clothes, motorcycles and ATVs.
Under the CPSIA, all youth products containing lead must have less than 600 parts per million by weight. The CPSC has interpreted the law to apply to various components of youth-sized off-highway vehicles (OHV) including the engine, brakes, suspension, battery and other mechanical parts. Even though the lead levels in these parts are small, they are still above the minimum threshold.
The CPSC staff admits that the risk of exposure to lead from OHVs is relatively low. But the staff told the commissioners that the law is written so strictly that no lead absorption into the body is allowed. As a result, motorcycles and ATVs shouldn't be exempt from the law.
In light of this new recommendation, Ed Moreland, AMA vice president of government relations, is urging all motorcyclists and ATV riders to contact their U.S. Senate and House members. Moreland wants riders to ask their lawmakers to support letters being circulated on Capitol Hill that ask the CPSC to grant exemptions from the lead law for kids' dirt bikes and ATVs.
"The CPSC is expected to vote on the staff recommendation soon," Moreland said, "so motorcyclists and ATV riders need to contact their federal lawmakers now."
Moreland added that riders should also tell Congress to support two bills aimed at righting this oversight: H.R. 1587 and S. 608.
The easiest way to take action is by visiting www.AmericanMotorcyclist.com, clicking on the "Rights" section and then "Issues and Legislation." AMA members will also find a card in the May issue of American Motorcyclist addressed to the CPSC that they can mail.
Interested parties can also sign up in the "Rights" section to get e-mail Action Alerts to keep abreast of issues threatening motorcycling and ATV riding, and to take action.