Back to Back Issues Page Newsletter, Issue #001, ATV Safety Recalls, Are You Up On the New Laws?
February 02, 2005

Safety Recalls AND New Laws Too, Happy 2005!

I know most of you have been waiting for our inaugural Newsletter, and now it is here!

Before we get started, please keep in mind this is our first edition. Some things will change a bit, as our Newsletter evolves, and grows. So, if you don't like something you see, or don't see something you like, let us know about it, please.

Our Website and Newsletter have basically two objectives, and they are:

1. Unite all ATV riders, this includes all Duners, Trails, Woods, Mudders, Desert, and Utility riders, and of course families.

2. Provide ATV resources such as ATV news, safety training, vendors, tire and rim dealers, videos and DVDs, riding areas, clubs and associations, safety recalls, legislative decisions, land closures and openings, registration and insurance, do you see where going here...All the info they left out of your owners manual.

Third, well, there is no third, so let's get started with the Newsletter!

Safety Recalls and Issues

Since safety is always the most important part of ATV Riding, we'll start with the safety recalls that we know about. If your ATV is involved in a safety recall, please let us know. This way we can make sure that as many ATV riders as possible, are in the loop about it, and can get their ATVs fixed.

Currently the only recall we are aware of is posted on the ATV News page at the site, but we will repeat it here for safety's sake. Suzuki Motor Corporation of Brea, Calif. is voluntarily recalling the Eiger "QuadRunner" ATVs by Suzuki.

Mis-located welds secure the upper front suspension A-arm mounting brackets to the frame. The A-arm mounting bracket could break off during riding, severely reducing rider control and resulting in loss of control of the ATV. Loss of control could result in a crash and severe personal injury or even death. The affected units were sold at Suzuki dealers nationwide from May 28 through August 16, 2004. If you are unsure if this recall affects your ATV, get your VIN number off your frame or registration, and call your local Suzuki dealer, as soon as possible.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that it has provisionally accepted a settlement that imposes CPSC’s first civil penalty for reporting violations involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn., has agreed to pay a $950,000 penalty to settle allegations that the ATV manufacturer failed to timely inform CPSC of serious defects and hazards in certain models of the company’s ATVs.

CPSC conducted two investigations into the timeliness of Polaris’s reporting. In the first matter, Polaris manufactured and sold 13,600 Scrambler, Sport and Xplorer 400 model ATVs. The throttles on these ATVs can stick and prevent the machines from slowing down or stopping, leading to loss of control and crashes.

Between December 1998 and May 2000, Polaris learned of 88 reports of throttles sticking due to defects in the throttle control, including 19 crashes or other accidents. The company also had seven reports of injuries, including a dislocated hip, a broken shoulder, torn back muscles and scrapes and bruises. Prior to reporting these incidents to CPSC, the company allegedly made three engineering changes to the ATVs in an attempt to prevent the throttles from sticking. Polaris reported to CPSC in May 2000 and announced a recall in August 2000.

In the second matter, Polaris manufactured and sold 55,500 Xpedition, Trail Boss and Magnum 325 model ATVs. The oil lines on these ATVs blew off, disconnected or loosened, resulting in the spraying of hot pressurized oil. This presented the risk of fires, burns, other injuries and death.

Between March 1999 and February 2001, Polaris received nearly 1,450 reports of oil line blow-offs, disconnections and leaks resulting from the oil line defect. In 61 reports, the discharging oil caused smoke, fire, melting and accidents, and 42 of those 61 reports involved ATV fires or the surrounding area catching fire. Polaris received 18 reports of injuries, including second- and third-degree burns, scarring, bruises and scrapes.

Between February 2000 and January 2001, Polaris allegedly did extensive analyses and made four engineering changes to the defective ATVs without informing CPSC; and from May 2000 to January 2001, the company sent five alerts to its dealers about the oil line defects without telling the government. Polaris finally reported to CPSC in February 2001, a little more than a month after CPSC asked the company to report. Polaris announced a recall of the ATVs in April 2001.

Federal law requires manufacturers, retailers and distributors to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standard.

Although it agreed to pay a civil penalty, Polaris denies CPSC’s allegations and that it violated the law.

The New Year Always Means New Laws That Take Effect

Next Item.....SB 232, All-terrain vehicles. The definition of an ATV has been changed in California, to allow for the new two passenger ATVs. Here is the fine print, expect other states to adopt some similar language in their definition of an ATV in the near future.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 111 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

111. ‘‘All-terrain vehicle’’ means a motor vehicle subject to subdivision (a) of Section 38010 which is all of the following: (a) Designed for operation off of the highway by an operator with no more than one passenger. (b) Fifty inches or less in width. (c) Nine hundred pounds or less unladen weight. (d) Suspended on three or more low-pressure tires. (e) Has a single seat designed to be straddled by the operator, or a single seat designed to be straddled by the operator and a seat for no more than one passenger. (f) Has handlebars for steering control.
SEC. 2. Section 38506 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

38506. No operator of an all-terrain vehicle may carry a passenger when operating on public lands. However, the operator of an all-terrain vehicle, that is designed for operation off of the highway by an operator with no more than one passenger, may carry a passenger when operating on public lands. SEC. 3. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

Legislative Actions, This Time It's Good News!

The TRAIL Act (HR 3247) has passed the House of Representatives, we are awaiting Senate approval which should happen when Congress reconvenes after the holidays. The Trail Act is a major victory for off-roaders, such as us. It allows responsible access to federal lands, while maintaining enforcement and penalties for those who break the law.

So, if you are like us here at ATV-411, you register your ATVs, pay your access fees, stay on the marked trails, stay out of the designated closed areas, take care of any trash you have, and only build campfires with a permit, nothing will change. However, if you don't follow the rules above, you will be punished. This can involve, tickets or citations which can show up on your DMV record if not paid, paying to repair damage you caused, and in some cases, seizure of your OHVs ( Off Highway Vehicles, like dirt bikes, atvs, buggies, jeeps, trucks) and even trailers or RVs.

Next up is The Recreation Fee Bill. The House Resources Committee has voted to report (send) HR 3283 to the full House of Representatives for consideration and approval. The full name of this bill is the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

This bill was introduced by Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), and provides for the collection of recreation fees (on federal lands) for the next ten years. It also outlines where the fees can be charged, and even more importantly, how the money can be used. Since the money is generated for access to federal lands, it is a sure bet that most of the money will be used for enforcement, maintaining, and improvements (campsites and facilities) to the areas where the money is generated. We will keep you posted on any new developments, as soon as we receive them.

Next on the list involves dune riding areas, especially here in SoCal, where the ASA is fighting to keep the dunes open for all of us to enjoy. In case you didn't know, the ASA is the American Sand Association. They use money from membership fees and, of course, donations, to fight the legal battles involved in keeping the dunes open.

Currently the ASA is attempting to get the PMV plant delisted from the endangered plant list, and hopefully re-open nearly 40,000 square acres, that have been recently closed to all motorized vehicles, at Glamis or the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. But until the ASA has the areas re-opened thru legal channels, please do your part and stay out of the posted closed areas. If you are interested in helping win this battle, please read the email below, and keep your eyes open for the PMV sprouts they talk about.

Dear Fellow Sand Enthusiast,
Recently, we have had an unusual amount of early rain in the California deserts. NOW IS THE BEST TIME IN YEARS to be on the lookout for populations of Peirson’s milk vetch (PMV) outside of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA). There are old reports of them growing in the Yuma and the Ocotillo Wells/Borrego Springs areas.

Documenting them at locations other than the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area will go a long way toward delisting the plant and simplifying management at the ISDRA.

There's no scale on the pictures, but the penny in the first picture will give you an idea what size they are. The seedlings are an inch or less tall and under the size of a quarter in circumference. The first-year plant is about 10-12 inches tall.

If possible, provide GPS coordinates and close-up pictures - for clarity sake, make sure the sun is at your back when shooting a picture. To save Art Phillip’s time and expenses, I will go to the site before calling him in to verify that it is really PMV.

Because of the heavy rainfall, it is very possible and quite probable that locations that haven’t seen germination in years could have seedlings sprouting this year. So, do not hesitate: even if you just “think” it "might" be PMV, send the pix and coordinates.

Your help is vital and appreciated,
The ASA.

One Last Thought Before You Go,

I know that everyone has already made their resolutions for the new year, any many have been broken by now. But, please make this one with me, and we can all make sure that we stick to it, and get it done.

I resolve to become a better ATVer this year.

I will be a safer rider, which means a better rider.

I will respect and obey the rules and laws at each ride area.

I will always follow the "Pack it in, Pack it out" rule.

I will always keep my OHV registration current and pay the required fees when due.

I will become a better ATVer this year.

Well everyone, that is about it for now. Please keep the emails coming, your thoughts and opinions are always welcome.

Ride Safe. Ride Legal. Ride Again...Curtis

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