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Business Management

Get The Lead Law Out

Take action to lift the ban on youth powersports products.


If you’re a multiline powersports dealer, the new law preventing lead from children’s toys will undoubtedly adversely effect your business.

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I’m all for child safety — I don’t want my 10-month-old nephew sucking on a lead-laced sippy cup, but does the federal government really think his 10-year-old brother is going to use his minibike’s battery terminals as a pacifier?

The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that the effect on our industry could ring in at a staggering $1 billion per annum. (See Lead Ruling Hits Powersports Industry on page 10 of this issue for more on the specifics of the MIC’s projections on the economic impact of the lead law.) In today’s economy, this over-protective legislation could be the death knell for small businesses just like yours across America.


The question also arises as to whether or not children’s best interests are being served by this legislation. A great number of ATV accidents involving youth occur when a child is riding an adult unit and not wearing the correct safety gear. Limited access to appropriately sized units will drive younger riders to units that are unsafe for their smaller frames. Moreover, as the lead laws also apply to youth gear, there’s the likelihood that the costs of testing will be passed to the consumer, making youth gear more expensive and increasing the chances that children won’t be wearing the appropriate safety gear.


Even if you don’t sell youth units, this ban will eventually effect your business. Since Bobby couldn’t get an ATV for his birthday, he might get a pair of water skis instead. His passion will flourish for that sport instead of ours, and his desire to be a rider just like daddy might wane altogether in a time where it’s more crucial than ever to attract the next generation of powersports enthusiasts.

“I think that the powersports inclusion in this is ridiculous, and the entire things was very poorly implemented,” says MPN columnist, dealer and dad Bill Little. “In fact, I didn’t even realize that we were going to have issues until a month or so before the law went into effect. The bikes are sitting in our warehouse. Though the manufacturers are taking care of interest expense, it’s still a huge problem in terms of coming into spring and missing out on sales opportunities.”


More than 100,000 letters have already crossed the desks of U.S. congressmen urging an exception to the CPSIA requirements to allow the industry to sell ATVs and motorcycles to children under 12 years old.

However, as of press time, congress and the Consumer Safety Product Commission have yet to grant powersports products an exception to the CPSIA ruling.

Visit to download an easy-to-sign-and-send letter to the CPSC as well as a form letter to send off to your individual congressmen. Xerox a ream of the letters and place them prominently in your store for your customers to sign. Many riders, especially those without children, may be oblivious to this legislation that is limiting the next generation of riders.


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