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AN END TO THE BAN? New Federal Legislation Could Fix The Ban On Kids’ Dirtbikes

For two years, the AMA, its members and others in the motorcycling community have been fighting a congressional action that threatens to end the sale of kids’ dirtbikes. Now, the logjam appears to be breaking up, with a new, fast-moving bill that has the potential to fix the mess. The key is making sure the right bill moves forward. By Bill Kresnak Sean Hilbert was very clear in his written testimony to members of Congress: You’ve made a horrible mistake. The president of Cobra Moto in Hillsdale, Mich., Hilbert builds competition-level mini motocross bikes, and he fears that his company has less than a year to live because of an unfair law passed two years ago that could end the sale of kids’ dirtbikes. “As the law is written, we will be closing our doors in May of 2011 because the costs of complying with this law will outweigh our yearly revenues (of about $5 million),” Hilbert told the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection on April 29. He was speaking about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, which 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. Aimed at children’s toys, the law ensnared kids’ dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), as trace levels of lead can be found in parts such as batteries and brake calipers. The law will be enforced beginning May 1, 2011. The CPSIA also requires all children’s products be tested by an independent laboratory approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and be certified that they comply with the law. Plus, the law requires that the product continue to undergo periodic testing. “On behalf of our 30 employees and nearly 100 family members who rely on Cobra for

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their livelihood and medical benefits, we urge the committee to draft a law that will allow exceptions for products like ours that pose absolutely no risk of lead ingestion,” he says. “And we suggest you implement it in such a way that small companies can afford to apply for, and be granted, such an exception,” he adds. Luckily, thanks to motorcyclists like Hilbert, along with AMA members and lobbyists from the AMA and the motorcycle industry, there may be a solution to this misguided law. At presstime, a new law was being considered, and it was moving rapidly through committees of the U.S. House. NEW FIX-IT LAW PROPOSED The U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held a hearing on April 29 to consider the proposed Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA) of 2010. Drafted by U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the law is intended to fix problems caused by the CPSIA. “Despite recent efforts by the [CPSC] to clarify and improve implementation of the [CPSIA], a number of problems persist,” subcommittee staff told committee members in a memorandum dated April 19. “Some affected manufacturers have asserted that there are some products that require lead and do not pose a serious threat to public health or safety,” the staff wrote. “Others have claimed that the law’s lead requirements should not apply to used

children’s clothing. “In addition, some affected industry members have asserted that the third-party testing requirements are overly burdensome for smaller businesses and that alternative testing could be used without compromising public health or safety,” the staff wrote. As a result, the staff said, the CPSEA is being proposed to: • Give the CPSC flexibility to grant exemptions from the CPSIA’s lead limits for certain products, components and materials. • Provide relief for thrift stores and other retailers from the lead limits through an exclusion for certain used children’s products, and to apply a more stringent lead limit that takes effect in August 2011 only to new products. • Provide relief for small manufacturers and businesses that may not be able to meet the CPSIA’s testing requirements by allowing the CPSC to approve alternative testing requirements. RELIEF NEEDED QUICKLY Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), painted lawmakers a bleak picture in his testimony about the state of the youth motorcycle and ATV industry because of the CPSIA, and the dire effect it is having on young riders. The MIC is an industry trade association of manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles and ATVs, parts and accessories, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment,

American Motorcyclist 07 2010 Preview Version  

The Journal of the AMA Preview Version

American Motorcyclist 07 2010 Preview Version  

The Journal of the AMA Preview Version