When kid’s dirtbikes are outlawed because of lead content, only outlaw kids will ride dirtbikes, er something like that.

Motorcycles, dirtbikes, ATVs designed for younger riders cannot be sold under the CPSIA provisions which took effect last month, according to this AP story (link via Reason). Not only will children be deprived of vintage or handcrafted clothing, toys and books, soon they may no longer be able to head out to ride dirtbikes or ATVs with their family or friends. Dealers of these off-road vehicles are naturally upset:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Larry Neill has $118,000 worth of small motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles sitting on his lot in Missouri’s capital city. He’ll be fined if he sells any of them.

Neill, who owns Larry’s Motor Sports in Jefferson City, cannot sell or repair the bikes because of a new federal law that bans lead from all toys intended for children younger than 12, including small motorcycles and ATVs.

“These little products are the gateway to our business,” Neill said. “When some bureaucrat in Washington decides we can’t even sell these products, it’s just pretty unfair.”

Neill isn’t alone. A national motorcycle trade group says dealers across the country cannot sell roughly $100 million worth of the child-sized bikes. Including parts, service, accessories and personnel, the market could lose nearly $1 billion annually, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.

And making good points about the lead hazard of these vehicles:

“Who’s ever heard of a child getting lead poisoning from chewing on a wire harness?” said Craig Silvers, who owns the Motorcycle Doctor in Camdenton.

The operation of motorbikes and ATVs can pose quite a few risks to users, but certainly lead poisoning isn’t one of them. Just as parents make the decision of allowing a child to operate one of these vehicles, they should have the ability to determine whether potentially lead-containing products are safe enough for their children to use. Bureaucrats who set themselves up to make us safe will always overreach. Regulations have to be over-inclusive to avoid the risk of blame. Regulatory failure occurs often (FDA, SEC, pick an acronym), but the usual response is that tougher more comprehensive regulations are needed. Such an approach not only masks the fact that regulators cannot effectively manage risks, they serve to lull the public, including parents, into a false sense of safety. When the FDA or another agency declares a product, procedure, etc. safe, folks naturally think it’s absolutely safe. There’s no such thing of course. The folks who bear the risk should make the decisions regarding how to manage that risk for themselves and their loved ones. The CSPIA was ill-conceived and is obviously doing more harm than good; it’s time to repeal this law.

Previous CPSIA post. I will continue to follow this issue as best I can, but if you want complete coverage, Walter Olson at Overlawyered is doing excellent work chronicling the wasteful and otherwise deleterious effects of this foolish legislation.


4 Responses to “CPSIA: the hits just keep on comin’”  

  1. 1 Tristan Benz

    Great post! I’ve had a picture on my blog of my hero at Overlawyered.com since the beginning – best one-stop-shopping to get up to speed on the facts of this draconian law! I have been campaiging to ensure, just as 2007 was deemed the “Year of The Recall” 2009 will be known as “The Year of The Recall of Incredibly Stupid Legislation!” (see my YouTube video # 2 on that – can link from blog http://www.tristansepinion.blogspot.com).

    I say, any law that takes a nation by surprise cannot possibly be born of the will of WE the PEOPLE.

    As a mompreneur with a pro-parent / pro-childhood company, I have been three times violated by CPSIA:

    1) my authority as a parent and citizen (per above and per “Mother Approved” being effectively replaced by “Big Brother Approved”

    2) my business being devastated (Maiden America) – I had JUST gotten to the point where it was really taking off when this reared its ugly head. I hire moms / miltary wives and support creating jobs that allow us to be at HOME with our children, shaping their character, on behalf of MY COUNTRY. The handmade industry has been killed off – these jobs are primarily filled by WOMEN and are now, apparently, disposable.

    3) my own passion for safety – for children and environment alike. CPSIA fails to address real sources of lead threat (google lead poisoning prevention and see what is listed under sources). As NPR reports, phthalates are being replaced by OTHER CHEMICALS – one of which is known to cause kidney damage in rats. And just how does it serve our children to have landfills filled with stuff deemed “toxic” – does it not eventually seep into our groundwater?

    No common sense. No regard for small business, citizens, parents, women and CHILDREN. I’m so GLAD to see indications of a growing voice actually being heard by our public servants and by the increasing coverage in features like yours.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Warm Regards,
    Tristan Benz
    Maiden America

  2. 2 Sarah Natividad

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for covering CPSIA and for exposing the faulty premise behind so much of our society’s magical thinking with regard to children’s safety! I can’t help but wonder how we got to the point where so many people really believe that Congress has a magic wand they can wave to make all kids safe, if only those eeeeeevil businessmen would quit twirling their thick black moustaches long enough to think about The Children.

  1. 1 CPSIA and motorsports: jamming the spokes
  2. 2 As Usual, Congress is Pointing Fingers :: Liberty Maven

Leave a Reply