AMA - ATV Input Needed

From a press release issued by AMA:

Federal Comment Period on ATV Safety Ends July 5

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA) reminds ATV enthusiasts that the deadline for submitting comments on ATV safety to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission is July 5.

Comments should be captioned "ATV Hearing" and sent to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington D.C. 20207.

On June 5, the commission held a hearing in Morgantown, W.Va., to gather information on ATV safety, and to hear comments on a proposal to ban the sale of full-sized ATVs for use by children under 16. Among other things, the panel could be laying the groundwork for a displacement limit of 399cc on ATV engines.

At the hearing, more than 35 people testified, with about half charging that ATVs are unsafe, and the other half saying ATVs are a viable form of individual and family recreation.

The ATVA and its sister organization, the American Motorcyclist Association, testified that no new federal regulations are needed. Instead, they sought more rider-training opportunities and more areas where enthusiasts can ride under controlled conditions.

The Morgantown meeting marked the first time since 1985, as far as the commission staff could remember, that the panel had gone outside Washington, D.C., to conduct a hearing on product safety. Those 1985 hearings also involved ATVs, and two years later three-wheeled ATVs were banned.

ATV critics told the three-member commission this month that installing rollbars, seatbelts, and governors to limit speed, banning kids under 16 from riding ATVs, and requiring ATV riders to wear helmets, stay off public roads and never carry passengers are just some of the steps that they believe could improve ATV safety.

Dr. Jack Bergstein of the West Virginia University Department of Surgery argued that laws are needed to ensure riders follow those recommendations. "Changing behaviors in people is difficult," Bergstein said. "The best way is to mandate changes where people don't have a choice."

But Doug Morris, director of the ATVA, testified that a review of ATV-related accidents indicates that vehicle misuse and ill-prepared riders appear to be the fundamental causes of crashes. Educating riders about the need to wear helmets and other safety gear, not carry passengers and stay off public roads are key measures that could reduce crashes, he said.

Morris also noted that existing commission guidelines setting machine size limits for riders under 16 actually impede safety training.

That's because federal guidelines call for those under 16 to ride ATVs with engines no larger than 90cc. As a result, young people who are too large to safely ride such small machines aren't able to take a safety training course.

Others who testified against further regulation of ATVs included the BlueRibbon Coalition, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, the Specialty Vehicle Association, the ATV Safety Institute, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, the National 4-H Council, the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Dealers Association, the Pennsylvania Off-Highway Vehicle Association, the West Virginia Recreational Vehicle Association, ATV dealers and individuals.

For more information, or to sign a petition, go to
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George Obradovich
George Obradovich

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