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January 21, 2010
Grassroots, Industry Urge Permanent Fix To Controversial Youth-Model Bike/ATV Ban
Pocatello, ID --A report that is due to Congress from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has sparked a renewed effort by off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts to completely remove a ban on youth-model off-highway motorcycles and ATVs. The youth-model ban is a result of the CPSC's interpretation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), a law originally intended to ban the importation of children's toys containing lead-based paint.
The powersports industry, individual dealerships and off-highway vehicle advocacy groups have been working hard to rescind the ban. OHV advocates believe the Jan. 15 CPSC report provides an opportunity to move a final solution forward.
The BlueRibbon Coalition, a national grassroots OHV advocacy group is encouraging its members to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to take action to end the unfair ban. BRC's Call to Action can be found here.
BRC's Executive Director, Greg Mumm, said, "Congress told the CPSC to report to them about this issue and I think it is appropriate for the American public to report as well. The way the CPSC has implemented this law has cost jobs and actually made children less safe. Congress needs to act now." Mumm said BRC is encouraging Congress to clarify the intent of the law and also to hold hearings on how CPSC is implementing the law.
The power-sports industry is also weighing in. Recently, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) urged CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum to include an amendment that would end the current ban. MIC's letter noted there are a variety of options available to remedy the situation. MIC's General Counsel Paul Vitrano, said, "Everyone agrees that the key to maintaining the safety of youth riders is for them to operate only appropriately-sized vehicles. We are hopeful that CPSC's report to Congress will pave the way to legislation that will ensure youth motorcycles and ATVs remain available."
The American Motorcyclist Association appealed to its members in a nationwide e-mail action alert. AMA's Government Relations department has been doing yeoman's work on a bill introduced by Montana's Denny Rehberg. Rehberg's bill, H.R. 1587, would exempt youth-sized motorcycles and ATVs from the CPSIA. AMA reports that although it had 55 bi-partisan co-sponsors, no committee in the House or the Senate has scheduled a hearing on Rehberg's bill.
Mumm stressed the need for Congress to take action soon. "Our members enjoy OHV recreation as a family activity," he said, "and this ban has the potential to force children onto vehicles too large for them to operate safely. The current situation is not acceptable. Congress must act."
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