Women Riders

2011 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year:  Nancy Sabater

Written by  January 31, 2012

The Consumer Product Safety Act of 2008 was passed following reports that cheap imported toys were tested and shown to have high lead content. Its sweeping language allowed for banning the making, distributing or selling of any product intended for children ages 12 and under that contained more than a trace of lead. This ended up including the banning of kids’ dirt bikes and ATVs because of the trace amounts of lead in the brakes and battery terminals, even though it was highly unlikely those would end up in the mouths of children.

Fixing this law would take the support of thousands of motorcyclists. Enter Nancy Sabater, a motorcyclist from Charlotte Hill, Maryland.

Nancy founded “The Moto Patriot” to bring attention to this issue. According to her statement in Youtube and elsewhere, “The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, though well-intentioned, has produced far-reaching and unintended consequences: The effective banning of the sale of new and used kid-sized motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), as well as certain replacement parts.

This will be devastating for the families who enjoy motorized recreation, the safety of children who are now forced to ride bigger, more powerful machines, the thousands of small independent dealers across America that are already struggling to survive in the current economic climate and the manufactures and aftermarket suppliers who serve these customers.”

Nancy organized the May 26, 2011 AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb, bringing families to Washington, DC to lobby in favor of overturning the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s ban on youth motorcycles and ATVs containing trace amounts of lead. She also produced several videos featuring racers and industry insiders voicing their opposition to the ban. Her efforts paid off. The signing of H.R. 2715 in 2011 gave exemption allowing the sale of youth vehicles. H.R. 2715 cleared the House by a 421-2 vote on August 1 just before lawmakers went into their summer recess, and earned Senate approval by unanimous consent the same day.

AMA President and CEO Rob Digman states in choosing Nancy, “A number of partners had a hand in our victory over this misguided law -- the motorcycle industry, race promoters, parts distributors and others, but it’s Nancy and those like her -- the individual enthusiasts -- who truly put the rubber to the road, gave our cause a face in the crowd and brought this victory home. They were the most influential motorcyclists of 2011, and AMA member and grassroots activist Nancy Sabater is the 2011 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year for her stellar work on behalf of families and kids.”

"This victory is something that demonstrates the fruits of our labors," Nancy stated. "Something really happened here. We effected change. We showed these kids that if you want something hard enough and you work hard enough, that you can get results. Who knows what battles we'll fight next, in D.C., for the AMA, for the rights of motorcyclists? This was a victory on many levels."

Congratulations to Nancy on a job well done.

By Louise Reeves