The U.S. House has approved legislation by a vote of 421-2 to exempt kids' off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from the lead law that essentially bans the sale of those machines at the end of the year, according to the AMA.
On August 1, Representatives Mary Mack Bono (R-California) and G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina.) introduced H.R. 2715 to grant the exemption. The measure earned House approval later in the day and now goes to the Senate for consideration. The Senate is considering similar legislation - S. 1448, the Consumer Product Safety Flexibility Act of 2011.
"This is excellent news for families around the nation who enjoy responsible motorized recreation," said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. "Now the challenge will be to get our federal lawmakers to agree on one version of the bill and to send it to President Obama to be signed into law. It is vital that a lead-law exemption for OHVs be signed into law not only because it will once again allow families to enjoy riding together, but also so that children aren't forced to ride adult-sized machines that they may not be able to operate safely."
The legislation exempts OHVs - including kids' dirt bikes and ATVs - from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. The CPSIA 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. It also requires all children's products undergo periodic testing by independent laboratories approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is responsible for implementing the law.
The CPSC has delayed enforcing key portions of the law until after the end of the year. Unless the CPSIA is changed by then, the sale of child-sized dirt bikes and ATVs will effectively be banned. The CPSIA was designed to ban small toys with high lead content, but because of broadly written language in the law, it has been interpreted to apply to all products for kids 12 and under, including dirt bikes, ATVs, bicycles, clothing and books.