An advert to promote bike safety has been banned – because it features a cyclist riding without a helmet.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which scrutinises new publicity in the UK, said the campaign should not be shown on television because it was “socially irresponsible”.
The advert, by Cycling Scotland, encourages motorists to give cyclists as much room as horses. But in the final frame of the publicity a woman is shown riding a bike without a helmet.
Cycling Scotland argued wearing a helmet was not a legal requirement, but a personal choice.
But the ASA in its verdict 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.”
Cycling Scotland said: “We are disappointed with the adjudication of the ASA Council and the statement that future ads should always feature cyclists wearing helmets. Our guidance on the issue of helmets and safety attire for adults on bicycles mirrors the legal requirements set out for cyclists in the Highway Code.
“There is a broad spectrum of research and opinion across the road safety and health communities when it comes to issues relating to helmet use and the ad reflected this diversity by showing cyclists both with and without helmets.
“The driver of the car in the advert also follows the Highway Code, which states that vulnerable road users, such as those on a bicycle, should be given at least as much space as you would give a car when overtaking. This highlights the key message of the advert and reinforces the need for drivers to give those traveling by bike the correct amount of road space when overtaking.”