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.