Ban on 'no helmet' Cycling Scotland advert under review

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

A ruling against a safe cycling advert which showed a rider without a helmet has been withdrawn while authorities review their decision.

The advert is part of a campaign by Cycling Scotland.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) objected on "health and safety" grounds but has now withdrawn its "potentially flawed" ruling while an independent review takes place.

Cycling Scotland welcomed the decision to suspend the ruling.

In a clarification, the authority stressed the advert could still not be broadcast in its current form.

The national cycle promotion organisation for Scotland had told the ASA that 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.

The advert also seeks to encourage drivers to give cyclists the same space and care as they would give a horse and Cycling Scotland said the positioning of the cyclist complied with the national standard for cycle training, which is referenced within the Highway Code.

Overturning its initial decision, an ASA spokesman said: "The ASA has withdrawn its formal ruling against a Cycling Scotland ad pending the outcome of an independent review.

"That followed a request from Cycling Scotland, in which it argued that the ASA's criticism of the positioning of the cyclist was incorrect.

"The decision to withdraw was made by the ASA chief executive in light of a potential flaw in our ruling.

"Once the independent review process is complete we will publish our decision on our website."

Ian Aitken, chief executive of Cycling Scotland, said: "It is important to highlight the key message of the advert which reinforces the need for drivers to give those travelling by bike the correct amount of road space when overtaking.

"The advert was produced in close consultation with an experienced cycle training instructor. The road positioning of the woman travelling by bike in the closing scene of the advert is in keeping with the National Standard for cycle training which is referenced in the Highway Code."

Mr Aitken said Cycling Scotland would pursue the independent review process and hoped that it would result in the ASA Council being asked to fully reconsider its adjudication.

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