Kids' ATVs, Bikes Banned From Sale

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Retailers in the U.S. could face fines between $100,000 and $15 million starting today, Feb. 10, if they sell products designed for children under the age of 12 that do not meet the limits for lead content, lead paint and phthalate, a chemical sometimes used to increase the flexibility of plastic parts.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) applies to used, current and non-current ATVs, motorcycles, and snowmobiles and related products such as collectibles, apparel, parts and accessories.

The law affects some 13,000 franchised and non-franchised dealers, as well as OEMs, aftermarket manufacturers, distributors, and numbers of other businesses involved with children’s off-road machines, such as racetracks and race promoters. It applies to anyone involved in the so-called “stream of commerce” involved in bringing these products to market. And the question of liability surrounding injuries suffered by kids using prohibited equipment is a whole other set of issues.

The penalties for violation are stiff: up to $100,000 per violation and up to $15 million for repeated violations.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSA) is empowered to enforce the CPSIA, which was signed by President Bush last August.

The Motorcycle Industry Council has a petition pending for a stay of the sales prohibition until final relief is granted.

“The issue is still under review by the agency staff,” the CPSA told Dealernews today.

“They are very cautious about taking any action under this law that isn’t well founded and well researched,” says Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the MIC. “We believe that, upon review, CPSC will grant our petitions.”

“This is huge for us,” Vitrano added, “but it’s only a small part of the problem for them. But we have to continue urging the CPSC and Congress to grant us relief.”

The MIC is planning a big push at the Dealer Expo this week, he said. “We plan a full court press at Indianapolis.” There will be letters and other materials available at the MIC booth to make it easy for dealers and exhibitors to make their feelings known in Washington.

Read more about the issue at the Dealernews blog.

- Submitted by Joe Delmont