Infants, toddlers and young children often chew on toys. That makes it sensible to have rules in place ensuring that toys are not toxic.
But so far as we know, young people who have motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles aren't prone to chewing on those vehicles. They'd rather ride them or show them off to friends.
Nonetheless, in a symbol of Congress' failure to consider the effects of bills it passes, a 2008 law bans the sale of motorbikes and ATVs if they are intended for children 12 or younger. Why? Because the vehicles contain more lead than is permissible by law for items used by children.
The law was supposed to keep children from ingesting lead in toys or jewelry. But it didn't distinguish between items that a young child is apt to chew and big-ticket items such as motorcycles that surely no older child would think of chewing.
Sales of the vehicles have plunged - which is hardly desirable in a time of economic crisis.
Members of Congress don't "do very good research before they do these things," one dealer told McClatchy Newspapers. "It's silly. It's absolutely silly. A child is going to eat their motorcycle?"
Now, with a lot of economic damage done, some in Congress are trying to pass bills to exempt motorcycles and ATVs from the lead limits.
We wish them luck. But don't all these unintended consequences over a law that deals narrowly with the issue of children's toys make you wonder how many costly unintended consequences will show up in laws such as ObamaCare, which is far bigger and was hurriedly enacted?