Category: News - International (Outside Canada)
Written by Hugh Hewit
Examiner Columnist | 4/5/09 8:21 PM
Thousands of children 12 and younger ride motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles, which is why a lot of effort and time has gone into designing vehicles made for smaller folks. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal noted a study by the Motorcycle Industry Council that concluded "90% of the youth fatalities and injuries on motorcycles occur when kids ride adult vehicles."
On Thursday of last week, the Senate of the United States voted 58 to 39 to reject an amendment to the budget bill designed to keep kids on bikes designed for them and thus off adult vehicles. The reason the amendment was offered by South Carolina's Jim DeMint is because the 2008 "Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act" mandates that products containing even trace amounts of lead --trace amounts highly unlikely to ever come in contact with a child's digestion system-- were banned from sale to children 12 and under.
The law took effect in February an instantly made it illegal to sell the kid-sized vehicles because of nearly undetectabl amounts of lead in tire valves, brakes, batteries etc. Replacement parts for vehicles for kids are similarly interdicted.
The Journal quoted Ken Luttrell, a Democratic state house member from Oklahoma as noting the obvious: "With these new regulations, Washington has only succeeded in making biking much more dangerous for kids."
There isn't any debate about the impact of the law on the ATV industry. Nor is there much debate about the insanely expensive toll the CPSIA is taking on the children's toy business, children's shoes, children's clothing, resale and thrift shops and on and on.
Whenever I report on the law on air my e-mail box fills up with small business owners who cannot cope with the expensive (and in some instances impossible to comply with) mandates of the law. Follow a blog like Overlawyered.com that chronicles the chaos, and the picture of an extraordinary blunder by Congress emerges.