News Kids, please don't eat your motorcycle

Kids, please don’t eat your motorcycle

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is urging all motorcyclists and ATV riders to ask their U.S. senators and representatives to support language in an appropriations bill that would allow kids’ dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to continue to be sold.

The language, written by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and included in the House fiscal year 2010 Financial Services Appropriations bill, would bar the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from spending money to implement or enforce a section of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that relates to youth-model off-highway motorcycles and ATVs.

The CPSIA limits the amount of lead allowed in products meant for children 12-years old and younger. While aimed at toys originating in China, the law also covers youth-model off-highway motorcycles and ATVs because certain parts, including batteries and valve stems, may contain lead.

When the law took effect, off-highway motorcycle and ATV manufacturers told their dealers to stop selling machines meant for kids 12 and under, as well as some of the parts to maintain them. That’s because no new or used kids’ machines or certain parts for those machines could be sold unless they were tested and certified at government-approved labs to meet the new federal lead-level requirements.

"Unfortunately, while Washington bureaucrats bicker over the meaning of words, the intent of Congress to protect kids from dangerous toys is being ignored," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "The federal government is now forcing children to ride adult-sized motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles — a serious danger that’s much more real than the invented threat of chewing on a battery cable or valve stem.

"I don’t know of anyone in the House or Senate who intended this, and it’s important to off-road enthusiasts and American families that we work together to fix it once and for all," Rehberg said. Earlier this year, the CPSC said it would not enforce the ban on the sale of kids’ dirt bikes and ATVs until May 1, 2011.

While the Rehberg language is in the House bill that was approved by the full House and sent to the Senate for consideration, there is no similar language in any Senate appropriations bill. Therefore, the AMA is asking concerned motorcyclists and ATV riders to urge their senators and representatives to include the Rehberg language in the final version of the fiscal year 2010 Financial Services appropriations bill or the Omnibus Appropriations bill, whichever passes the full Senate.

The most effective way to contact your senators and representative is to call them. To obtain contact information for elected officials, go to > Rights > Issues & Legislation. Additionally, a prewritten e-mail is available immediately to send to lawmakers by following the "Take Action" option and entering the constituent information.

"AMA members and motorcyclists everywhere have shown that we can make a difference when we pull together and act as a group," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "Now is the time to work with your elected senators and representative to get them to include the Rehberg language in the appropriations bill that comes out of the Senate. Let them know how important it is to continue to allow responsible and safe family enjoyment in riding dirtbikes and ATVs."

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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