Children's Motorcycles: Legal Again!

Congress Acts to Make Children's Motorcycles Legal

Photos courtesy of Mini Rider and Peggy Malcolm

It's official: Kids are now legally allowed to ride again.

In a refreshing and long-awaited victory for motorcyclists, the unfair and utterly ridiculous Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (aka the lead law) has been revised to allow the continued making, importing, distributing and selling of children's motorcycles and ATVs. Under H.R. 2715, introduced by Reps. Mary Bon Mack (R-CA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), kids' OHVs are now exempt from the CPSIA. Signed into law by President Obama on August 12th, the bill finally ends a long and expensive fight to allow kids to ride.

As you may know, the lead law essentially banned children's motorcycles due to some absurd claims of their potential lethality if ingested orally due to their overall lead content. Yes, you read that correctly: children's motorcycles and ATVs were banned because politicians felt that if kids ate their bikes they could die. Thanks to the efforts of the American Motorcyclist Association and over a million letters written by rational Americans, H.R. 2715 cleared the House by a 421-2 vote on August 1st, proving that there are two representatives that evidently enjoy a good country-fried XR50 every now and then. The bill earned Senate approval by unanimous consent the same day.

Without a doubt, this is a major victory for motorcyclists everywhere that was won through an outpouring of support from enthusiasts. Dirt Rider spoke to AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman about the lead law fight, and he brought up some excellent points. "The lead law is a huge victory," Dingman commented just after H.R. 2715 was signed. "It makes me more optimistic, but we can't rest on our laurels. We need to continue to demonstrate that the motorcycle community can have an impact and can change public policy by being active.

One of the greatest things that happened in this whole lead law debacle was that we put on an AMA family Capital Hill climb, and for the first time ever there were young kids in riding gear walking around the capital. Congressional staffers are used to seeing lobbyists in skirts and suits-they're not used to seeing kids-and it was just really remarkable. When Congressman Deny Rehberg from Montana came in to our event, he asked all the kids to stand up on the rostrum. Imagine if he'd asked a bunch of lobbyists in suits to stand up; that just wouldn't happen! It was just so effective and that's what helped us turn the tide. There were a lot of groups seeking changes in the lead law, but it was the motorcycle community that had the grassroots support, we're the ones who generated all the mail. That had a tremendous impact. Motorcyclist's rights are threatened, but they can do something to solve the problem."

In the end, we're thrilled to see this absurd law overturned, but as Mr. Dingman pointed out we must remain vigilant, alert and active as we continue to protect our-and our kids'-right to ride.To read more of what the AMA has done in its efforts to exempt kids' OHVs from the CPSIA, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/KeepKidMotorcyclesAndATVsLegal.aspx.