MIC fights lead ban before Congress

ATV.com Staff
by ATV.com Staff
Youth ATVs and motorcycles at heart of debate

Motorcycle Industry Council’s (MIC) General Counsel Paul Vitrano testified on Thursday, April 29 in support of federal legislation to stop the ban on youth-sized all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles.

The hearing held by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection focused on a proposed bill, the “Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act” (CPSEA). The bill, drafted by Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), aimed at resolving unintended consequences of the CPSIA, including the current ban on youth motorcycles and ATVs.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) imposed a ban on youth-sized ATVs and Off-Highway Motorcycles (OHMs) because the vehicles contain small amounts of lead that are critical to the functionality of certain components.

“Our industry has already submitted clear evidence to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that we believe is sufficient to obtain exceptions for youth ATVs and motorcycles under section 2 of the proposed bill,” Vitrano said at the hearing. “We strongly urge the Committee to provide as much clarity as possible in developing a legislative solution so that CPSC will have no doubt that Congress intends to ensure the continued availability of youth vehicles, and will move accordingly to end the ban.”

Vitrano testified in support of section 2 of the CPSEA, which would create an exception to the lead content provision of the original bill if lead serves a functional purpose, as is the case in metal parts of ATVs and dirt bikes.

“We have encouraged the Committee to include statutory language to provide CPSC with explicit guidance,” says Vitrano. “In the absence of such language, however, it is critical that there be report language accompanying the bill that defines the terms ‘practicable’ and ‘no measurable adverse effect’ in Section 2.”

Vitrano pointed out that, while the lead provisions of the CPSIA were intended to protect children, they have had the opposite effect for youth-sized ATVs and OHMs since they have been effectively banned from the marketplace.

“These smaller, lighter, speed restricted models were specifically designed for youth riders with the goal of keeping them off of larger, faster adult-size units,” says Vitrano. “The CPSC has acknowledged that the ban on these youth models creates a compelling safety issue because it likely will result in younger children riding larger and faster adult-size ATVs.”

Vitrano also testified regarding the economic impact of the ban.

“The ban on youth model vehicles is significantly harming the economy and costing jobs, and until corrected will result in about $1 billion in lost economic value in the retail marketplace every year,” says Vitrano.

“We encourage Congress to act swiftly to move this legislation forward. It is important both for the safety of children who ride youth ATVs and motorcycles and for the small businesses affected by the ban that it be quickly and permanently ended.”

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