Cycling Scotland advert banned over 'no helmet'


The ASA said showing a rider without a helmet could encourage behaviour "prejudicial to health and safety"

Related Stories

A television advert promoting safe cycling has been banned for showing a rider without a helmet.

The advert, part of a campaign by Cycling Scotland, seeks to encourage drivers to give cyclists the same space and care as they would give a horse.

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it should not be shown on TV again as not wearing a helmet was "socially irresponsible".

Cycling Scotland said wearing a helmet was not a legal requirement.

The national cycle promotion organisation for Scotland told the ASA wearing a helmet was a personal choice for the individual - a fact it considered was reflected in the advert with footage of various cyclists both with, and without, helmets.

Cycling Scotland also referred to its helmet policy, which discussed the possible undesired outcomes of wearing helmets, including limiting uptake of cycling and "influencing a driver's behaviour to be less careful when interacting on the road".

still from advert Some of the cyclists in the advert were wearing helmets

A further complaint that the cyclist was riding too far from the kerb was also dismissed by Cycling Scotland.

It said that given the width of the road featured in the advert, the cyclist was safer riding out past the area where cars would be parked so they could be clearly visible to other road users.

It told the ASA the shoot for the advert was supervised by one of its most experienced cycling instructors.

The ASA, which received complaints from five viewers, acknowledged the advert was primarily aiming to encourage motorists to take care when driving near cyclists.

'Socially irresponsible'

It noted that the cyclist in the final scene was not wearing a helmet or any other safety attire and appeared to be more than half a metre from the parking lane.

It said: "We understood that UK law did not require cyclists to wear helmets or cycle at least 0.5 metres from the kerb.

"However, under the Highway Code it was recommended as good practice for cyclists to wear helmets. Therefore, we considered that the scene featuring the cyclist on a road without wearing a helmet undermined the recommendations set out in the Highway Code.

"Furthermore, we were concerned that whilst the cyclist was more than 0.5 metres from the kerb, they appeared to be located more in the centre of the lane when the car behind overtook them and the car almost had to enter the right lane of traffic.

"Therefore, for those reasons we concluded the ad was socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety."

It ruled that the advert must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Cycling Scotland was told that any future adverts featuring cyclists should be shown wearing helmets and placed in the most suitable cycling position.

A statement issued by Cycling Scotland said it was "disappointed" with the adjudication of the ASA that future ads should always feature cyclists wearing helmets.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 811.

    Years ago, there was a cartoon public safety advert advising cyclists how to manoeuvre correctly on the road, featuring a character identified as ‘the oldest cyclist in the world’.

    He didn’t wear a cycling helmet as well.

    Since when did the ASA have a mandate to decide what was ‘socially responsible’?

    They don’t ban booze adverts, do they?

  • rate this

    Comment number 810.

    Firstly as a cyclist i wear a helmet on even the shortest journeys. Secondly is this rubbish all we in Scotland are allowed to comment on. I take it we are not allowed to comment on the extremely pro unionist biased BBC article on currency union. Thirdly a helmet once saved my life during a crash where my head hit a large rock at about 20 m.p.h

  • rate this

    Comment number 809.

    2008 audited revenue from road users in B£. Fuel duty 24.9, VED 5.4, fuel VAT 6.8, vehicle sales VAT 6.9, insurance tax 1.0, company car tax and fuel 2.5. Total of £47.5 billion paid by road users. Inescapable costs to use roads so a tax on road use. No matter what side you're on if all of that was used on roads then both motorists and cyclists would have exceptional roads plus economic benefits

  • rate this

    Comment number 808.

    I wonder if the ASA will be banning adverts from TFL as well since none of their adverts have helmets either. Ridiculous decision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 807.

    She is not wearing knee pads either - good job she was not smoking she would be locked up by now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 806.

    To 23. Pudwin.

    This cyclist doesn't wear a helmet as I don't do enough cycling to justify the purchase of a good helmet. Cheap helmets are about as effective as a chocolate fire guard and have been known to make impact injuries worse. Added to this I find they restrict visibility when having good all round vision is essential.

  • rate this

    Comment number 805.

    I cycle frequently and wear a helmet,however extensive research shows that, 1 cycling rates drop and health benefits decline. 2 helmet wearing helps sometimes but if your hit by a car it wont held much.

    The problem is the attitude of some motorists which is get out of my way,.

    If only car drivers always obey rules of the road,sadly no chance.
    God bless the car in the UK at least

  • rate this

    Comment number 804.

    Cycling safety is a two way street, cyclists must take every precaution to prevent injury and drivers must take every precaution not to cause injury.

    It would seem the logical choice would be to shoot the advert with the cyclist wearing a helmet. The message was aimed at drivers anyway, so this ban seems more than a little counter productive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 803.

    The only misleading part of the advert is it only depicts one car, one cyclist and an empty road. It looks like a scene from the 1940s or 50s and not the reality for cyclists today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 802.

    Glad to see the editor has picked a few more since my comment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 801.

    “See bike think motor scooter.” It’s about as dangerous to it’s rider and everyone else.

    Then think why on earth its allowed on the road with no helmet, no licence and no 3rd party insurance.

    … and if a car has a crash with bus the car driver generally ‘comes off worse’. That does not make the bus driver automatically responsible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 800.

    In a desperate attempt to appease both Cycling Scotland and the ASA, the government have announced that all potential refugees from Syria, will have to pass a cycling proficiency test.

  • rate this

    Comment number 799.

    Re 8.

    "I've been cycling since I was about 5.
    I've never worn a helmet on a bike. I'm still alive."

    Well written for a six year old.

  • rate this

    Comment number 798.

    "787. Dominic
    770. toorie
    "....Ever heard of the Highway Code"

    Yeah, like motorists are sooo law abiding. 70% of motorists admit to speeding according to Admiral Insurance poll. 10,000 motorists/month caught jumping red lights in London. 1700 people killed in motor accidents last year."

    Ever heard the phrase "two wrongs don't make a right"?

    Justifying lawbreaking because others do it is wrong

  • rate this

    Comment number 797.

    783. Secretbanker

    Once again a comment that uses some individual experiences to define the behaviour of a whole group of people.

    We don't tolerate this for Race, Religion, Sex etc. yet we allow Cyclists, Motorists etc. to be grouped and have behaviours attributed given to them.

    It's the left handed people I can't stand, they always undertake me. Well, one did last week, I think?

  • rate this

    Comment number 796.

    @Jimmy - You don't pay "Road Tax" either, it hasn't existed since 1937!

  • rate this

    Comment number 795.

    apparently the ASA are now saying they adverts do not need to conform to "rules of the road" if they're "fantastical" in nature- their justification for car ads where the cars are driven in a dangerous manner" so had the girl had been cycling along the road in a gorilla suit but no helmet then the ad would probably have been allowed

  • rate this

    Comment number 794.

    "This is the same ASA that approves , despite complaints, car ads where the drivers breach the highway code"

    I wouldn't defend that for a minute ... they got it right re. cycling helmets but, from what you say, wrong in this other instance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 793.

    It is the ASA that is being socially irresponsible, not Cycling Scotland. The ASA's behaviour is not just irresponsible, it is dictatorial. It is good practice to cycle away from the kerb and the highway code states that motorists should "give cyclists at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car".

  • rate this

    Comment number 792.

    When I ride my horse on the road, I ride in the centre of the left-hand lane. If you position yourself too close to the kerb, motorists behind you think they can sneak past even when there are cars coming the other way. Positioning yourself in the centre of the lane means that they cannot do that and must wait for the road to be clear to pass safely.


Page 1 of 41


More Scotland stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.