Time Is Running Out on Kids’ Dirtbikes

Posted by on January 22, 2011 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 5 responses.

Many of you go riding with your families. Imagine if you could not buy
motorcycles for your children. Imagine that you could not buy parts for the
motorcycles you do own. Imagine your kids sitting inside the house playing video
games all day. In a day when too many kids don’t get enough exercise, we may
lose our favorite form of outdoor family recreation because of a law intended to
protect small children from lead tainted imports.

This scenario is the unintended consequence of a law that was passed in
response to toys exported to this country from China with a high lead content.
The legislators were appropriately concerned about small children ingesting,
inhaling or absorbing unsafe levels of lead. The Consumer Product Safety
Improvement Act (CPISA), as the law is called, bans the selling of products
to children, 12 and under, which contain more than very tiny amounts of lead.
The danger lies in small children putting lead based toys into their mouths
and sucking on them. There is only one problem; this law applies to children’s
motorcycles. Because batteries and brake calipers contain small amounts of
lead, bikes meant for children will be subject to the ban.

In May of 2009 CPSC recognized the danger of steering kids to bikes that were
too big and heavy for them by making kid-sized dirt bikes unavailable, and
delayed enforcement of CPSIA until May of 2011.

Earlier last year federal lawmakers held a hearing on the Consumer Product
Safety Improvement Act of 2010 (CPSEA) that is supposed to fix the original
CSPIA and allow the consumer Product Safety Commission to exempt certain
products from the ban. The AMA, which has been lobbying for an exemption for
children’s motorcycles, is concerned because the new law does not specifically
exclude children’s dirt bikes.

If the CPSEA is not fixed and passed before May 1, 2011 then kid’s dirt bikes will
no longer be available.

We love riding dirt bikes with our kids, and most of us grew up riding with our
parents. We treasure time spent with our families enjoying the outdoors and
teaching our kids the joys of off-road riding. Don’t forget the kids seated on the
platform at Carnegie Freedom Day speaking into the microphone and saying
what it was that they liked about riding at Carnegie. Basically they all agreed that
riding dirt bikes at Carnegie was enjoyable because it allowed them to spend
time with their families. This issue is of major importance to us and we need to
stay informed.

5 Responses to “Time Is Running Out on Kids’ Dirtbikes”

  1. Diana says:

    The March edition of Racer X just arrived at new stands. Inside I learned the sad news that both Polini and LEM have called it quits here in the USA because of the uncertain economy and the yet-t0-be-enforced consumer Product Safety Commissions Lead Law. This is doubly troubling because both these brands, although not part of the big five, are very much into Pee Wee racing. Sad…

  2. Diana says:

    Not all is lost, however. Sean Hilbert , the CEO and founder of Cobra Motorcycles of Hillsdale Michigan is still producing the the Cobra CX Junior and CX 50 Senior out of their Michigan plant from 80% American parts. These motorcycles are the fastest, strongest and best production based bikes in the world today according to an article in the American Motorcyclist. This is despite the law designed to protect American children from lead based toys being imported into this country.

    According to Hilbert the key ingredient to Cobra’s business model is the fact that motorcycle racing is a family sport. Motorcycling is more than just a hobby. It is a lifestyle. Their goal is to provide track-side support They maintain a close relationship with all their riders and the riders’ families. This relationship is used to gather information and to improve the product. For example, in a recent interview Tyler Bowers described the speed of the recent crop of rookies as a result of their being the Cobra generation.

    Because of this innovation Cobra has grown to be an international company that exports its products to other nations. This expansion has helped the company weather economic stagnation and the threat posed by the lead law which is supposed to go into effect in May of this year.

    According to Hilbert the real burden of the law is not compliance. He contends that initial testing of the Cobra motorcycles show that they perform well in respect to lead contact. The problem, he says, is the ongoing testing which must be conducted to rigorously prove compliance with the regulators. “We are going to survive,” Hilbert says. “We are not going to let our customers down. That being said, if the law does not change, motorcycles are going to be a lot more expensive. Our ability to budget for things like R&D will decrease greatly. It will be a different world.”

  3. Diana says:

    The American Motorcyclist published another article about the lead law entitled LAWMAKERS WANT DELAY IN LEAD LAW. It describes how more than a dozen federal lawmakers are asking the Consumer Product Safety Commission to delay enforcement of the lead low law as it relates to kid sized dirt bikes and ATVs.

    The letter was drafted by Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who circulated it for others to sign. The letter says in effect that CPSC had overstepped the intent of the law by applying it to kids’ dirt bikes when the law was passed to protect kids from lead content in small toys imported from China. An extension of the current stay, he said, will provide the necessary time to allow the current Congress to fix this problem.

    Others who signed this letter are Reps. Geoff Davis (R-KY), Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Duncan Hunter (R-Cal.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Tom McClintock (R-Cal.), Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Adrian Smith (Neb.), John Kline (R-Minn.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.). It is encouraging to have these members of the house asking CPSC to delay enforcement. Hopefully this means that the federal law makers will solve this problem so that kids will have access to kids sized machines.

  4. Chuck says:

    See this New York Times Article entitled “Child-Product Makers Seek to Soften New Safety Rules”.


    This article describes the efforts of the industry to quash new safety regulations that they say are unfair or too onerous. Their primary targets include a public data base that would allow the public to search for injury reports on products like cribs and strollers, and regulations that would require third party testing to determine the lead content of children’s products.
    Rick Locker, a lawyer who represents many of the toys and children’s product groups, said, “The law, for instance, now requires testing of all products used by children, including things like bicycles, instead of limiting it to products where lead could be ingested by children”.
    The good news is that the commission chairwomen has said that she supports some flexibility. According to this article, commission’s chairwomen, Inez Tenenbaum, a Democrat, said that the commission could be given more flexibility to “make adjustments to the law, like giving the commission more flexibility to exempt certain products like children’s bicycles and books, from testing”. She also came out in favor of finding some way to provide relief to the cost of third party testing for some manufacturers.
    It sounds to me like there is a good bipartisan push for more flexibility to exempt products that would not result in lead being ingested by children. Products like bicycles, books and minibikes seem to fit this category. There is hope that the law will be modified soon. Too bad that children’s minibikes were not specifically mentioned by the chairwoman. Hopefully they will be exempted as products that do not represent a danger of lead being ingested by children. The law was meant to target toys that children fit into their mouths, not bicycles and minibikes.

  5. Chuck says:

    In Racer X Magazine this month, April 2011, Davey Coombs discusses the affect of the lead law on kid’s sized motorcycles. He considers this ban a threat to the future of all two-strokes, and urges everybody to keep tabs on what is happing in Washington. He goes on to note that:
    “Recently U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R Montana) introduced a bill entitled H.R, 412, The Kids Just Want to Ride Act, which would exempt kids off highway vehicles from CPISIA.” This is a truly important piece of legislation and we support it.

Leave a Reply