Advertising watchdog withdraws ruling banning ads showing supposedly 'unsafe cycling'

Back in January, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that all future cyclists appearing in television advertisements should only be shown wearing helmets and riding close to the kerb.

This ruling was made in response to a TV advert, which formed part of the media promotion of the ‘Nice Way Code’ awareness raising campaign, which was funded by the Scottish Government and run by Cycling Scotland. The advert in question attempted to reinforce the message that drivers should give as much space to cyclists as they would to a horse rider when overtaking.

The advert featured a cyclist riding without a helmet and in the secondary position (roughly a metre from the edge of the road). ASA ruled that the cyclist’s position on the road was unsafe, which contradicts UK-wide cycling standards supported by the Scottish and UK Governments.

The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group expressed its concerns with the ruling in a letter to the ASA and CTC, the national cycling charity, said it would support Cycling Scotland in seeking to appeal against the ruling, and a petition was set up on Change.org calling for a reversal of the ruling, which gathered over 4,500 signatures.

The ASA announced it would withdraw the ruling pending an independent review.

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