AMA names Motorcyclists of the Year

Young riders victims in OHV lead ban

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 07, 2009
The American Motorcyclist Association has named youth off-highway vehicle riders its 2009 Motorcyclists of the Year.

In a rare move, the AMA named a group instead of an individual as the 2009 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year. The choice recognized young riders who are ultimately the victims of the ban on sales of youth vehicles containing lead.

The core of the AMA mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling, and few threats have taken a more direct aim at that lifestyle than the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which effectively banned the sale of youth-model OHVs, says Rob Dingman, AMA president and chief executive officer. The AMA Motorcyclist of the Year is the person or persons who have had the most profound impact on motorcycling in a single calendar year. Although they were unwitting victims, kid motorcycle and ATV riders were thrust into that role in 2009.

The CPSIA contains provisions intended to limit the amount of lead in childrens toys. Off-highway vehicles were among a number of items that were included in the CPSIA, and because of lead in battery terminals, valve stems, engine cases and controls, the CPSIA effectively banned the sale of youth vehicles.

The AMA says kids had the most profound impact on motorcycling in 2009.The Consumer Product Safety Commission, the organization charged with enforcing the CPSIA, decided to delay enforcement of the ban on off-highway vehicles until 2011, giving lawmakers the chance to amend the Act. The AMA has been asking its members to pressure legislators to exempt youth-model vehicles from the CPSIA.

The passion, thoughtfulness and perseverance of AMA members helped us make headway in this fight, says Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. But we have a long way to go. We urge all motorcyclists to reach out to their representatives so that we can make sure appropriately sized OHVs continue to be available to kids who ride motorcycles and ATVs.

The AMA is throwing its support behind H.R. 1587, legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) that would exempt youth off-highway vehicles from the CPSIA.

With the 2009 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year announcement, we want to thank every young rider and his or her family all across America, says Dingman. By further raising awareness of the issue, we will all gain more ground in this important battle.