Posts Tagged ‘lead content’

MIC Exec To Address Congressional Committee

April 29, 2010

Legislative Solution To Lead Ban Is Sought

Paul Vitrano, an MIC executive and the face of the motorcycle industry in battling Washington’s misguided ban of lead in toys,  plans to tell a congressional committee this morning why the ban doesn’t work and how it can be fixed.

Paul Vitrano

Vitrano, general counsel of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), is scheduled to address the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection at 10 am ET. He’ll be talking about the need to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that became law in August 2008.

You can listen to a live audio webcast of the hearing by visiting the House Energy and Commerce Committee website: http://energycommerce.house.gov.

The CPSIA is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and has virtually eliminated the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes designed for children under age 12. This enforcement has resulted in the unforeseen consequences of children riding adult-sized ATVs—a potentially fatal situation— as well as the needless loss of millions of dollars in business for the struggling U.S. powesports industry.

Vitrano plans to testify that the CPSC has acknowledged the ban could result in children 12 years of age and younger riding larger and faster adult-size vehicles, a known safety risk. The  CPSC’s own studies show almost 90% of youth injuries and fatalities occur on adult-size ATVs, according to the MIC.

“The real risk to children comes from banning youth models, not from the lead in certain components,” says Vitrano.

Proposed legislation that could permanently stop the ban will be discussed at the hearing. “The only permanent solution is a legislative solution,” says Vitrano.

Vitrano says he plans to “urge the committee to provide as much clarity as possible in developing a legislative solution so that the CPSC is left with no doubt about Congress’ intent to ensure the continued availability of youth model motorized recreational vehicles.” JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at
952/893-6876 or joe@dealernews.com.

Join MIC Campaign To Stop the Ban

February 9, 2010

MIC Launches Communications Effort at Dealer Expo

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) again this year is offering a variety of  communication tools at the Dealer Expo so that attendees and exhibitors can urge Washington to drop the existing ban on the sale of youth ATVs and motorcycles.

“There is tremendous momentum for Congress to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s (CPSIA) lead content provisions to exclude youth vehicles,” said Paul Vitrano, MIC general counsel. “We need our voices to be heard now.”

The MIC’s multi-media communication offerings at Indy and on www.stopthebannow.com include:

  • Text. Use your cell phone to send the text message “StoptheBan” or “STB” to 30101. An SMS interface on http://www.stopthebannow.com allows the public to send StoptheBan text messages directly from the website.
  • Letter. You can add your signature to letters urging Congress to amend the CPSIA to exclude youth vehicles. Last year’s campaign generated over 5,000 hand-signed letters at the show.
  • E-mail. Computers are available in the MIC Business Center (Booth # 4508) so you can send e-mails to Washington calling for the ban on youth equipment to be dropped. Last year, more 1 million electronic messages were sent to Congress.
  • Call. A computer station in the MIC Business Center will identify key members of Congress, and a Skype account will enable you to call your congressmen directly from the computer.
  • Video. You can “Send a Video Message to Congress.”  A camera and filming booth will be set up in the MIC Business Center so that Stop the Ban messages can be created, posted online, and forwarded to Congress.

Vitrano said there are three key reasons why youth ATVs and motorcycles should be excluded from the CPSIA’s lead content provisions: (1) the lead content poses no risk to kids; (2) the key to keeping youth safe is having them ride the right size vehicle; and (3) the lead ban hurts the economy.

“MIC calls on Congress to draft legislation as soon as possible to either grant a categorical exemption for these products, as would be provided by H.R. 1587, a pending bill with 56 bi-partisan co-sponsors, or to give the CPSC the flexibility to do so,” Vitrano said.

Visit www.stopthebannow.com for background information, FAQs, and public outreach tools for the Stop The Ban campaign.  JD

Contact me with story ideas or news tips
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com.

Latest CPSC Action Simply Is Not The Answer

May 5, 2009

Two-Year Stay of Enforcement Doesn’t Solve Problem

Congress Should Fix Poorly-Written CPSIA Law


joedelmont

Joe Delmont

The CPSC’s recent promise not to enforce for two years a legal ban on the sale of kid’s ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles and related parts, garments and accessories just doesn’t cut it. I’m sorry, but the move is woefully inadequate.

The vote Friday by commissioners Nancy Nord and Thomas Moore is simply the latest step in this silly dance between Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The awkward two-step is called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that was passed last year.

The dreadful legislative effort bans the sale of toys designed for children ages 12 younger that fail to meet several safety standards. The lead limit is 600 parts per million in parts that are accessible to children. The ban became effective Feb. 10, 2009.

Congress says the law gives the CPSC authority to grant exclusions where appropriate— in the case of brake cables, for example. The CPSC responds by calling the law poorly written, and says it is unenforceable.

Retailers and manufacturers from many industries are caught in the middle.

Today, the situation is in a shambles. Some powersports manufacturers are selling products that have been modified or reclassified for youngsters aged (more…)

Cobra Sells Kid’s Bikes Despite CPSC Ban

March 27, 2009

Bikes Meet Lead Content Requirements
Several Steps Ensure Legally Safe Products

Sean Hilbert may be the only motorcycle executive in the U.S. who is legally selling kid’s dirt bikes and ATVs, in spite of a federal ban on many such products.

Most of the high quality racing machines produced and sold by Cobra Motorcycle Manufacturing Company of Hillsdale, Mich., meet the current requirements spelled out in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), he told me the other day. Only one of Cobra’s models is not offered for sale.

Sean Hilbert

Sean Hilbert

Well, now, that’s very interesting. How can that be, when the rest of the industry has been shut down since Feb. 10, 2009, and all other manufacturers have ordered their dealers to pull these products from the showrooms?

Sale of products designed for kids ages 12 and younger that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead content for any part of the product in the machine have been banned since February by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Yet Cobra keeps selling most of its models.

Hilbert, who is president and CEO, isn’t breaking the law, he says. It’s just that his company is working very hard to produce machines that meet the stiff lead content requirements set by the law that was signed by President Bush last August. How does he do it?

Basically, three ways. First, by presenting certifications from his suppliers that their products don’t exceed the lead limits. Second, by doing a minimal amount of its own testing. And, third, by covering items that contain excess lead levels, thus preventing access to those items. More about these steps later.

What Is Cobra Motorcycle?

Cobra has been producing high quality small displacement racing ATVs and mini bikes since 1993. It has 35 employees and operates out of a 50,000 sq. ft combination office, warehouse and production facility in Hillsdale, Mich., about 100 miles from Detroit.  The building sits on about 10 acres that includes a test track and provides room for expansion of the main facility.

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Blogged Too Soon — Malcolm’s Protest Sale

March 23, 2009

Last week I blogged about USA Today picking up the Malcolm Smith Kids Love 2 Ride protest sale, saying that it was odd that none of the local media has been actively covering the issue — that it took a national newspaper to pick up the story.

Well, turns out I blogged too soon. Turns out that the Temecula Valley News and the Press Enterprise both ran stories covering the protest sale and the youth ATV/bike ban. I’m glad to see the general press picking up on this issue given the huge impact motorcycling has on Southern California’s culture and economy.

The more play this story gets the better. I know we’re covering the heck out of it over at Dealernews.com.

Malcolm’s Protest Sale Gets Nationwide Attention

March 19, 2009

Interesting to note that it was USA Today that picked up Malcolm Smith’s protest sale of youth (12 and under) ATVs and dirtbikes. I’ve yet to see much (if any) coverage in the LA Times. Not sure about the Press Enterprise, Smith’s local paper, but I couldn’t find anything via Google.

I don’t know why this wouldn’t get more play in the local press given motorcycling — in all forms — is a huge part of the Southern Californiapicture-11 culture and economy. I know one place  you’ll get just about ALL THE COVERAGE you can stomach in regards to the lead content regulation effect on the powersports industry. That’s over here at Dealernews.com.

Here’s  the first paragraph of the story and a clicky to the full USA Today piece.

LOS ANGELES — Angry with a nationwide ban on sales of youth motorcycles and ATVs over lead concerns, one of the biggest dealers in Southern California plans to sell the child-size vehicles today despite potential criminal penalties.

Dealer Is Mad As Hell About Kid’s ATV Ban

March 16, 2009

*****EDITOR’S NOTE: Malcolm Smith has changed the time of his protest to 4 p.m. rather than 6 a.m. to accommodate those who want to attend. From his website kidslove2ride.wordpress.com “Due to numerous requests from Malcolm’s supporters far and wide, we have changed the timing of the event.”

So He’s Going To Sell Kid’s Machines on March 19

Remember that classic old movie from 1976, Network? If you do, you’ll remember the famous line from Howard Blake’s network anchor character, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

That’s the way Malcolm Smith feels about the current ban prohibiting the sale of kid’s ATVs, motorcycles, and related parts, garments and accessories. That’s why he plans to take some drastic action.

Malcolm is putting his money where his mouth is. Literally. He’s challenging the ban by selling

Malcolm Smith

Malcolm Smith

kid’s machines out of his dazzling powersports dealership in Riverside, Calif., on Thursday. (The sale begins at 6 am PST, March 19, 2009.)

The move could cost him big bucks, a lot more than he’ll get selling a few little dirt bikes. Fines can run as much as $100,000 per violation, up to $15 million, and there are criminal penalties involved, as well. For you non-lawyers, that means, worst case, that Malcolm could end up in jail, if authorities decide to get really nasty.

When I talked with Malcolm today, I asked him what would happen if the authorities come in Thursday and tell him to stop selling. The cagey veteran, avoided a direct answer, but I could almost see him smiling over the phone: “It’ll make a good show,” he said softly.”

He told me that he’s not certain what he’ll do after Thursday. “It depends on what other dealers do,” he says. “I don’t want to be the only one that is completely out of business.”

For those of you who have not been following the ban, here’s the deal: The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed last year, put strict limits on the amount of lead contained in products made for youths aged 12 and younger. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was charged with implementing the law.

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AMA Urges Action on Youth Vehicle Ban

March 16, 2009

The American Motorcyclist Association has made available a video public service announcement regarding the ban on the sale of youth OHVs intended for kids 12 and under.

It seems that just about every day, the motorcycle industry gets more vocal (here and here) about the lead content ban. Now, AMA president and CEO Rob Dingman is urging viewers to contact their representatives. Here’s Dingman:


Top Dealer To Challenge CPSC Lead Content Rule

March 14, 2009

*****EDITOR’S NOTE: Malcolm Smith has changed the time of his protest to 4 p.m. rather than 6 a.m. to accommodate those who want to attend. From his website kidslove2ride.wordpress.com “Due to numerous requests from Malcolm’s supporters far and wide, we have changed the timing of the event.”


Malcolm Smith To Sell ATVs Next Thursday In Protest

Fines Could Be $100,000 Per Violation

Well, the battle for the right to sell kid’s ATVs and motorcycles continues to heat up, and it could come to a boil next week.

California motorcycle dealer and industry icon Malcolm Smith says he plans to sell kid’s ATVs and motorcycles to consumers next Thursday (6 am PST, March 19, 2009) in protest against a federal law that limits the amount of lead that can be contained in products made for children 12 and younger.

The sales could be expensive. The law calls for fines up to $100,000 per violation and a maximum of $15 million for a series of related violations. Jail time also is called for.

malcolmsmith_2008jpg-copy34And, according to one attorney who is very familiar with the law, there are also criminal penalties of up to five years in jail for a willful violation of the law.

The so called “lead content” provision is part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed last year. The law is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The CPSIA and related rules developed by the CPSC ban the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes designed for children, ages 12 and younger. The ban became effective Feb. 10, 2009.

By one estimate developed by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the ban could cost the powersports industry as much as $1 billion this year.

Dealernews magazine, a leading industry business publication, estimates that the unsold inventory of machines and related parts, accessories and apparel that dealers have pulled off their showrooms and dumped in storage areas totals more than $100 million.

Smith’s planned protest is the latest step in the battle for the right to sell these small machines to youths.

The CPSC last week, in effect, tightened the restriction when it ruled that, under the law as written, products for children can’t contain ANY lead absorption into the human body, nor have ANY adverse impact on public health and safety, a seeming departure from the limit of 600 parts per million specified by the law.

Most machines have accessible components that contain some lead, especially those made with alloys such as aluminum and copper—valve stems, brakes, engine parts, for example.

This tough standard makes it virtually impossible for powersports companies to gain any exceptions, ones that Congressional leaders say are available under the law. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), a leading proponent of the CPSIA, told me that the agency has the authority to grant exceptions for ATVs and motorcycles.

The CPSC claims it can’t do that, and our industry is caught in the middle.

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One Small Word Ties Up ATV, Motorcycle Industry

March 12, 2009

CPSC Is Hung Up on Terminology In Child Safety Law
Battle Between Agency and Congress Continues

The Devil is in the details, they say, and that seems to be the case in the latest episode in the lingering battle between the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the rest of the world.

Yesterday (March 11, 2009) the CPSC published a final rule covering lead content in toys designed for children aged 12 and younger that virtually slams the door on industry efforts to avoid the foolish ban on kid’s quads, motorcycles and related parts, accessories and apparel items. The ban on kid’s toys was effective Feb. 10, 2009.

It all hinges on the three-letter word “any” that appears twice in the wide-ranging Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that became law last August.

The CPSIA was written to protect young children from eating small toys and jewelry that contained excessive amounts of lead, more than 600 parts per million. Good idea, but poor execution. It’s in those little detail thingees.

In its excitement and enthusiasm, Congress got carried away and extended the safety rules to everything from clothing and cribs to ATVs and motorcycles. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was one of the leading proponents of the bill.

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