Ducati Monster by Peg Pérego
Effective February 10, 2009, any and all children’s motorcycles and ATVs are now illegal in the land of the free and the home of the frightened. Thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, off-road motorcycles and ATVs intended for anyone 12 years old and under are now illegal, because their batteries contain lead and apparently, children love to eat motorcycle batteries.
This law shuts the door on a multi-million dollar industry that was one of the few actually thriving in this recessionary environment. The law says not even used bikes can be sold… or given away to anyone 12 or under. This means a 20% drop in the already troubled motor vehicle industry and it’s related parts sales businesses. Ironically, the under 12 market was the only part of that business actually doing well.
And it’s not just the local bike sellers and parts manufacturers getting screwed, but all the local off-roading sites and businesses that are devoted to that sport are essentially ruined. This is a perfect example of what economists call “unintended consequences”. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was pushed through congress because of the Chinese lead paint scare a while back. Big business saw an opportunity and had it’s lobbyists push for extremely tight regulation and special testing laws for toymakers, which force any toymakers to pay thousands of dollars to have anything they intend to sell to children put though a battery of expensive tests. This forces any small toy manufacturers out of business. The only companies left that can afford to pay the testing fees are the huge toy corporations.
But bikes have to contain lead, it’s integral to the batteries. So they’re off-limits to the under 12 crowd… for their own protection. Thanks, congress.
So what’ll happen now? Instead of stopping riding all together, young riders will just hop on adult sized bikes, risking potential injury all because corrupt lawmakers were paid by lobbyists to force nonsense into law. The system works.