Legislation to Make ATVs Safe for Children

Wednesday, March 18th 2009, 5:19 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- It's a double setback for motorcycle dealers in the area; first sales are down because of the economy and now they're being told they can't even sell part of their inventory.

But two state lawmakers are working to give the dealers a break.

There's a new federal law that says motorcycles built for children could be a health hazard. But some Oklahoma lawmakers say that hasn't been proven and it's hurting some businesses.

House of Kawasaki is a big seller of mini-bikes and ATVs geared toward children.

"On an annual basis we sell possibly 40 or 50 of these unites a year, on average about $2,000 a piece," Doug Monson with House of Kawasaki said.

But the business is losing money because a new law by the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the bikes may contain lead that could be harmful to children. The bikes can't be displayed on showroom floors and dealers can't even sell parts for them.

"You figure a loss of $100,000 worth of revenue, that's significant to our bottom line profit," Monson said.

Two Oklahoma lawmakers have now stepped forward to help dealers like Monson.

State Representatives Ken Luttrell and Rex Duncan say the law, which was probably aimed at toy manufacturers, is now hurting motorcycle dealers.

"I think it's a common sense concern that we share and a lot of legislation at the state and federal level in addition to its intended consequence has unintended consequences," Duncan said.

The lawmakers have authored a resolution they'll send to Washington asking for a temporary waiver to allow the sale of the vehicles while addressing safety issues.

"The lead that's contained in the handle bars and the clutch and brake grips is shown by testing to be less lead that you get in a glass drinking water, so they are safe," Luttrell said.

The dealers are hoping for quick relief.

"It's just a wait and see effort," Monson said. "Really, nobody knows how long we need to wait or what the final outcome will be."

There are provisions in the new law, but the safety commission is still working on guidelines to those provisions.

Learn more about the Consumer Product Safety Commission's standards for lead in children's products.