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Lead law failed to impact Indiana dealership

August 16, 2011
Filed under Features

President Barack Obama has signed a law into effect that exempts youth ATVs and dirt bikes from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, also known as the lead law.

The CPSIA bans lead from any product intended for children 12 years and younger, which included powersports vehicles because of lead in batteries and other components. However, now those vehicles can be sold despite their lead content because the lead is usually inaccessible to children.

Steve St. John, owner of Dreyer Honda South in Whiteland, Ind., didn’t see much of an impact in sales of motorcycles or ATVs to the younger crowd while the CPSIA was being worked out.

“We were selling them anyway,” St. John said. “With the temporary measure that had the stickers on the bikes and the parent signing off on the release sheet, we didn’t see much of an impact. It seemed like a lot of publicity over a minor issue. It was certainly a blunder on the politicians’ part to include such a thing in the law, and I’m glad it’s resolved.”

St. John said the stickers and release form might have given some parents pause before making the purchase of the youth-targeted unit.

“The parents would be in here looking and they weren’t afraid of the bike or ATV initially, but then they’d start reading the stickers and learning that they had to fill out a form and say ‘I don’t know if this is a good idea,’” St. John said. “As I told them, you’re dealing with 8-, 9-, 10-year-old kids. They’re not going to be chewing the rubber or eating the engine. It’s like the T-shirts that Malcolm Smith had made — ‘I don’t want to eat it. I want to ride it.’”

With the CPSIA in the rearview, St. John said the outlook for youth models heading into fall and the holiday season “seems better than it has been the last couple of years.”

Read more reaction about the law in an upcoming issue of Powersports Business.

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