Dealers Happy with New Kids' Off-Highway Vehicle
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- For off-highway vehicle
(OHV) manufacturers, dealers and others already
suffering because of the nation's flagging
economy, a new law that repeals a de facto ban
on the sale of kids' OHVs is welcomed news, the
American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
These business owners and managers say the new
law will help them stay in business, and will
foster the sports of motorcycling and
all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding by introducing
children to a lifelong sport.
"Kids who enjoy responsible motorized recreation
with their families are really the lifeblood of
our sport because they grow into responsible
adult riders," said Rob Dingman, AMA president
and CEO. "So the ban on the sale of children's
OHVs would have hurt businesses and dealers not
only now, but into the future as well. Thanks to
the outcry from individual AMA members and
others, this ban is now history."
On Aug. 12, President Barack Obama signed into
law H.R. 2715 that exempts kids' OHVs from the
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
of 2008, known as the lead law.
The CPSIA, which went into effect on Feb. 10,
2009, banned the making, importing, distributing
or selling of any product intended for children
12 and under, including kids' dirtbikes and
ATVs, that contained more than a specified
amount of lead in any accessible part that might
The new law is a victory that is the result of
nearly three years of intensive efforts by the
AMA and its partner organization, the
All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), their
members and millions of advocates of responsible
Sean Hilbert, president of Cobra Motorcycles,
which makes kids' competition motocross
machines, is happy that the long fight is over.
Hilbert had feared that his company would be
forced to close its doors because it wouldn't be
able to afford to comply with the testing
requirements of the CPSIA.
"I'm extremely relieved that we will be able to
stay in business after Dec. 31 of this year,"
Hilbert said. "The question I was asked a lot is
whether we could have made a motorcycle that met
the requirement for lead. Eventually we could
have gotten there with a lot of work and a lot
of research... But the cost of compliance would
have made it economically unviable to make
"There's never been any evidence whatsoever that
kids have ingested any lead in their
bloodstreams from riding a motorcycle," Hilbert
added. "So there is no safety issue with lead."
Tim Cotter of MX Sports, which has been at the
front of the fight with the AMA and others, said
the law's change will have far-reaching
"You don't have to go very far in your economics
textbook to see what this means for us," he says
of the company that runs AMA motocross
qualifiers and the Loretta Lynn's AMA Motocross
National Championships. "If you can still buy
minibikes, kids can still race minibikes.
"But it goes farther than that," he says.
"This will help motorcycling, both on- and
off-road, to continue to grow. When you take
away the ability of kids to be introduced to
motorcycling before the age of 12, you probably
lost those kids. They'll be on to something
else. Now the choice is still there.
"When this reared its head several years ago,
I never dreamed it'd take until August 2011, to
get this thing resolved," Cotter continued.
"Once we learned about it, with the AMA's
leadership and the government relations team
guiding us, I believe our success is based on
the success of AMA members getting organized."
Jerry Abboud, executive director of the
Powersports Dealers Association of Colorado,
said the signing of the new law "brings to an
end the unfortunate example of a law that simply
went beyond its intended purpose and well into
the private lives of parents in America
concerning their right to choose and guide their
children's recreational pursuits.
"Kudos to the AMA for leading the charge and
every other motorized organization, club,
dealer, family and individual who made this
possible through one united voice," he said. "A
tip of the hat to the bill's sponsors and
members of Congress for getting this one right."
Bill Hearne, operating manager for Outdoor
Motorsports, a dealership in Spearfish, S.D.,
says the ban never should have happened and took
way too long for lawmakers to fix.
"But through the efforts of the AMA and a lot of
other people, we got a bad thing turned around,"
Hearne said. "The sad part is that when we're
trying to have economic development, thousands
of dealers lost sales. It's many millions of
dollars nationwide, I'm sure.
"When you take the whole dealer market, there
is always someone on the margin, just hanging
on," he said, "and for some, those 10 bikes that
weren't sold would be enough to push him over
the edge, and you don't have just the owner, but
the workers too."
Like others in the motorcycling and ATV
communities, Paul Vitrano, general counsel of
the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and
executive vice president and general counsel of
the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
(SVIA), is pleased with the new law.
"We are gratified that all the powersports
community's efforts paid off. This will ensure
that youth models will be available for them to
ride safely with their families," Vitrano said.
"It's very important because the youth models
were created to give them appropriate-sized
vehicles to enter into the sport."
For more information, go to
About the American Motorcyclist
Since 1924, the AMA has promoted and protected
the motorcycling lifestyle. AMA members come
from all walks of life and they navigate many
different routes on their journey to the same
destination: freedom on two wheels. As the
world's largest motorcycle organization with
nearly 300,000 members, the AMA advocates for
motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local,
state and federal government, the committees of
international governing organizations and the
court of public opinion. Through member clubs,
promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more
motorsports competition events than any other
organization in the world. Through its
Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA
preserves the heritage of motorcycling for
future generations. For more information, visit