Motorcycle Dealers Feel Threatened by Lead Ban
Larry Neill, who owns Larry's Motor Sports in Jefferson City, cannot sell or repair the bikes because of a new federal law that bans lead.
"These little products are the gateway to our business," Neill said. "When some bureaucrat in Washington decides we can't even sell these products, it's just pretty unfair."
A national motorcycle trade group says dealers across the country cannot sell roughly $100 million worth of child-sized bikes. Including parts, service, accessories and personnel, the market could lose nearly $1 billion annually, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.
"Kids don't eat or lick ATV or motorcycle parts," said Paul Vitrano, a lawyer for the trade group.
Commission spokesman Joe Martyak said the law is written so narrowly that exemptions can be granted only to products that do not result in any — not even a tiny amount of — absorption of lead. "If the word 'any' were missing, that would leave more flexibility to the agency," he said.
According to mcall.com, Vitrano said there is no adequate substitute for lead in some motorcycle parts. He argued that because most of those parts are in the engine, they pose little threat to children.
Besides simply prohibiting vehicle sales, the law also says repair shops cannot fix the bikes or sell replacement parts containing lead. Shop owners say that simply doesn't make sense.
"Who's ever heard of a child getting lead poisoning from chewing on a wire harness?" said Craig Silvers, who owns the Motorcycle Doctor in Camdenton.