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Motorcycle Industry Plays Better Safe Than Sorry with CPSIA—Should Bike Industry Do The Same?

Published March 2, 2009

Had an interesting chat with the vp of communications over at the Motorcycle Industry Council last week about the CPSIA. That industry has taken some pretty drastic steps to make sure it's complying with the law: Big-time manufacturers like Honda and Kawasaki have told dealers to yank ATVs and motorbikes made for kids off the shelves becuase some of their parts exceed the new 600 parts per million lead limit.One of the main parts that exceed the limit is the valve stem, similar to bicycles.

Retailers, as you may have guessed, are taking a huge hit.

"They're completely upset," the veep said. "It's hard enough with the economy to get sells without them being told to lock up youth product."

The Council estimates lost sales due to the CPSIA could amount to $1 billion annually.

Ouch.

The bike industry seems to have taken a more business-as-usual approach, at least until the CPSC issues a ruling on what's considered accessible to kids and what's not. As far as I know, manufacturers haven't instructed sales reps to inform retailers to stop selling kids bikes, and retailers don't seem to be in a panic, unlike their counterparts in the motorcycle biz.

Is the motorcycle industry overacting or are they smart to play it better safe than sorry? Should the bike industry be doing the same?

According to Alan Klestadt, an trade attorney who spoke recently to Outdoor Industry Assocation members about the CPSIA retailers have a responsibility to take product off the shelf if they know it's not complying with the law.

"If a retailer finds they have a noncomplying product—this is with any CPSC rule—they are required by law to halt the sale and notify the CPSC." The CPSC will then determine whether a recall is necessary.

For now, the CPSC has said it will accept a manufacturer's determination that a lead-containing part on a children's product is in accessible to a child—and therefore not subject to the lead limit—as long as it's consistant with the Commission's guidance.

With things left somewhat up to interpretation, it seems to cause even more confusion.

As Klestadt put it: "The CPSIA is one of those pieces of legislation that just keeps on giving. It keeps evolving and changing and continuing to make everybody's life very challenging."

 

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