It looks like there will be a respite over the battle to keep childrens’ dirt bikes on the showroom floors as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and officials representing motorcycle manufacturers and dealers have come to an agreement that will temporarily lift the federal ban on children’s motor vehicles that contain lead. The Motorcycle Industry Council has released at statement of its own about the temporary measure, and while they are pleased with the announcement, they urge Congress to step in and make a more permanent solution for children riders.
Motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles for children 12 and younger were banned from sale two months ago as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which imposes stricter limits on lead content in products intended for children. But recently, federal regulators issued a stay of enforcement on those vehicles.
The stay was announced in a letter on April 3rd by Nancy Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In her letter, Ms. Nord cited several of the arguments that have been made by industry groups, including the Motorcycle Industry Council:
- that the ban could lead to more children riding vehicles designed for adults, putting the children at greater risk of injury;
- that the standards of the law are excessive when compared to restrictions in Europe;
- that lead is an integral component in certain parts of motorcycles and A.T.V.’s.
The stay means that the affected vehicles, and replacement parts for them, can continue to be sold again. However, Ms. Nord reasserted the fact that the commission was not authorized to grant an exemption from the act, which the MIC had petitioned for, but did not receive. Additionally, she noted that the stay did not have a binding effect on states and municipalities, which theoretically could still choose to impose penalties on retailers or manufacturers.