Chris Peck's picture

Watchdog overturns its finding on Cycling Scotland ad thanks to CTC's evidence

The original finding, issued in January, upheld a complaint calling for helmets to be worn in adverts involving cyclists. Thanks to work by Cycling Scotland and CTC, that finding has now been reversed.
The original offending image, now deemed acceptable

Cycling Scotland's ad campaign that sought to improve overtaking of cyclists was found by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to have breached the Broadcast Code of Advertising in January 2014.

The ASA's original decision was based on the fact that a cyclist in the video was shown not wearing a helmet, and taking a position away from the kerb to avoid a badly surfaced road. Both of these situations reflect reality and are legal.

CTC and many others immediately took to Twitter to criticise the ASA's decision.

Roger Geffen's picture

Now send us your 'irresponsible' walking-down-the-street adverts!

Although the ASA has provisionally withdrawn its ruling against Cycling Scotland's TV advert, the fight isn't over yet. Please send us videos showing how a ban on helmet-free cycling in TV ads would be like refusing to show people on the streets at night without reflective clothing.
How many TV adverts breach Highway Code rule 3?

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful adverts you have sent us, containing lots of examples of deeply 'irresponsible' cycling (e.g. without helmets) - notably the famous Hovis adverts of the 1970s! Thank you too for your equally impressive collection of (quite genuinely) irresponsible car ads.

Chris Peck's picture

Which car ads show breaches of the Highway Code?

The ASA ruling that outlaws cyclists not wearing helmets and riding outside 'secondary position' is a very hazy interpretation of the Highway Code and cycle training expertise. If you've got examples of car ads that show Highway Code infringements by drivers, let us know and we'll collect them here.
A car ad involving driving around with flares was accepted by the ASA

We've already collected many examples of adverts that show cycling to be normal and aspirational, yet would fall foul of the ASA's latest ruling.

To help further Cycling Scotland's appeal, we'd also like to point to the many adverts for cars that show flagrant breaches of the Highway Code.

So let's get started

Chris Peck's picture

Which ads are now banned? Your examples wanted

The ASA's bizarre ruling (under appeal by Cycling Scotland) that all cyclists must now be helmeted and cyclists must adopt dangerous road positioning has caused anger amongst the cycling community. If you've got examples of ads that would now be banned, please send them here.
Unhelmeted hipsters riding all over a promenade. Tsk tsk.

The ASA's ruling is being appealed by Cycling Scotland. To help support that appeal, we'd like examples of advertising - print and broadcast - that show cycling as a normal activity, and which would therefore (theoretically) not be allowed.

To start you off, here is CTC's own cinema advert, 'Cycle Hero', made a few years ago to communicate the issue of climate change and suggest cycling as an alternative.

Roger Geffen's picture

Advertising watchdog’s helmet ruling threatens the promotion of normal cycling

CTC, the national cycling charity, has voiced concern over a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which could prevent future adverts from showing cyclists without helmets on TV.
The image that proved controversial to the ASA

In response to complaints against a TV advert produced by Cycling Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, the ASA ruled that all future television advertising featuring cyclists must only show cyclists wearing helmets. 

The ASA also ruled that the cyclist's position on the road in the advert was unsafe. CTC believes this is at odds with UK-wide national standards for cycle training, which CTC was instrumental in developing, and which are now backed by the UK and Scottish Governments.

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