Marketers of these vehicles reach these families and help sell their youth-model dirt bikes and ATVs through advertising and promotions. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the ATV Safety Institute partner with these marketers to help get consumers started on these adventures.
Funded by all the major motorcycle makers, the MSF DirtBike School helps kids learn to ride off road. All the major ATV brands back the free ATV Safety Institute RiderCourse.
Marketers send their customers to the foundation through advertising, online postings and by including guidebooks in owner's manual packets. They want their customers to operate their products properly and safely.
The foundation and the institute promote training programs largely through media relations. Stories about safety classes have been featured in major metropolitan newspapers and morning talk shows. Because they are non-profit organizations, they get more free help through PSAs as well.
But as of last week, future MSF and ASI efforts are in question after the government banned sales of many youth-model motorcycles and ATVs, under the lead-content provisions of the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Despite the reality that children over six don't put motorcycle or ATV parts into their mouths, the government has enacted overly broad legislation. And the foundation and institute are in a tough spot since, as with any motorized vehicle, some lead embedded within certain alloyed parts is necessary either for safety or for functionality.
The Motorcycle Industry Council and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America have urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission to grant, and for members of Congress to support, requests for exclusions. But, for now, the marketers are unable to sell the bikes and a seasonal pleasure for many kids and their families is in doubt.