We my be walking soon
r maybe leaving your kids at home because vehicles are a lead risk. What about car and trucks?
If you are in the market to buy your child a new ATV, you're out of luck.
ATV dealers in Escambia County — like dealers across the country — have pulled ATVs and dirt bikes for children off sales floors because of a federal law that recently took effect.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission's ban on toys with lead in them includes ATVs, off-road motorbikes, and some parts and accessories designed for children 12 and under.
Kenny Craig of Pensacola has been riding off-road vehicles for the past 30 years. He has three children — ages 4, 7 and 17 — who ride mini-dune buggies, and he thinks the new law has gone overboard.
"That means there are going to be a lot of parents buying adult ATVs for kids; that's what it boils down to," Craig said. "So there will end up being more injuries because of this law."
The ban stems from the presence of lead in the battery, brake components, valve stems and other parts of the machines. Dealers who don't pull these models off the floor could face big fines.
They won't be sold again until manufacturers meet accepted limits for lead content, lead paint and phthalate, a chemical sometimes used to increase flexibility in plastic parts.
Terry Gonzalez, a salesman for Cycleworld in Pensacola, said it's not affecting business right now because Christmas is when most ATVs for children 12 and under are purchased.
But Wayne Briske, chairman of the statewide Off Highway Vehicle Advisory Council, has concerns about the law's impact on a broad community of riders.
"We're already in a hurting economy, and now we are going to take our local motorcycle and ATV dealers and put them under more stress," Briske said. "Unlike toys, where children are going to be handling them or putting them in their face, it is highly unlikely children would have valve stems or tires or the battery in their mouth.
"If you want to go this far, you have to start banning cars too, because they have lead in them and children ride in them," Briske said.
It's unclear whether manufacturers will have the issues corrected by the time the holiday buying season rolls around.
Kevin Wells of Pace worked in motorcycle shops for 10 years. He and his two sons still ride ATVs in Santa Rosa County as a family sport.
"I think that would be atrocious to lose 12-and-under ATVs and dirt bikes, because kids don't have a lot of options for sports," Wells said. "And there are a lot of kids who want to ride here."
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