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Scottish TV advert banned because of helmet concerns

A television advert by Cycling Scotland has been removed from the airwaves following complaints that the cyclist in the advert was not wearing a helmet, reports the BBC.

The television advert was actually devised to encourage safer cycling on Scottish roads, by reminding drivers of the need to give cyclists room on the road and to slow down when passing a cyclist the same as you would when passing a horse.

Although wearing a helmet when cycling is not a legal requirement, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has ruled that the advert should not be shown on TV again because not wearing a helmet when cycling is 'socially irresponsible'.

Cycling Scotland had argued that the matter of wearing a helmet when cycling was one of personal choice.

Although many studies have shown that wearing a cycle helmet reduces the risk of brain damage following an accident, opponents have argued that mandatory helmet laws have a negative effect on cycling generally by discouraging people to take up the pursuit.

There is also an argument that wearing a helmet encourages drivers to drive less responsibly.

The ASA acknowledged that wearing a helmet was not a legal requirement, but said in a statement: "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," the statement concludes.

The ASA ruled that future adverts involving cyclists should always show them wearing safety helmets and should show cyclists on the road in a suitable position.

Cycling Scotland said it was disappointed with the ASA ruling.