cycling helmet

Is the ASA off it’s head?

Marketing, cycling and road safety are three areas which interest me greatly, so it’s no great surprise that today’s news of an advert promoting cycling in Scotland being banned by the Advertising Standards Authority got my attention.

As a keen cyclist, I’m fully in support of getting people out of their cars and onto their bikes. There’s nothing that quite matches the feeling of exhilaration and satisfaction after a lung-busting ride through the country lanes. However, we can’t ignore that cycling brings with it a number of safety related risks. We only need to look at recent news reports or Department for Transport statistics to confirm this.

So surely anything that can be done to promote safer riding should be encouraged, right?

Well, probably. But hasn’t the Advertising Standards Authority overstepped the mark on this one? The advert in question has been banned because it shows a cyclist riding along without a helmet.

Now I’m fully aware of the ongoing debate about whether helmets should be compulsory or not. Personally, for what it’s worth, I think you’re off your rocker if you take to the roads without a helmet, but then again, I’m not the law.

And this is my objection to the ASA’s interference. It’s not compulsory to wear a helmet while cycling so how can an advert be banned because of this? They’re not portraying anything illegal so what’s the harm? The campaign is simply aiming to raise the profile of cycling safely and is one I believe should be supported wholeheartedly.

However, it could be that we have a keen cycling ally within the ASA and the ban has actually breathed life and a whole heap of publicity on what was a pretty naff campaign. Damn – wish we’d have come up with that PR gem!

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