The ASA say cyclists must ride in the gutter, must wear helmets

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  • The ASA say cyclists must ride in the gutter, must wear helmets
  • Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    bencooper: I nicked your handy screenshot and reposted it on the road.cc and CTC discussions. Hope you don’t mind – I think it adds some important context to her road position.

    bencooper
    Member

    Not mine, I pinched it off someone on Twitter 😉

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Dear Mr Sinatra,

    Thank you for writing to us. Mr Parker has read the correspondence carefully and has passed your email to a colleague, who will respond in due course.

    Kind regards,

    Lydia Dodgson
    Assistant PA
    (on behalf of Guy Parker, Chief Executive)

    Advertising Standards Authority
    Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn
    London WC1V 6QT
    Telephone 020 7492 2222
    http://www.asa.org.uk

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Not mine, I pinched it off someone on Twitter 😉

    All good then 😀

    jamiea
    Member

    Dear Jamie,

    Thank you for writing to us. Mr Parker has read the correspondence carefully and has passed your email to a colleague, who will respond in due course.

    Kind regards,

    Lydia Dodgson
    Assistant PA
    (on behalf of Guy Parker, Chief Executive)

    Looks like Guy’s PA has had a few e-mails to read hit reply to today!

    Cheers,
    Jamie

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    Email sent

    Dear Mr Parker

    I am writing to you to urge you to reconsider you recent ruling on the Nice Way Code “Think Horse” ad.

    The ruling appears to contradict current advice given by the Cyclecraft and the Highway Code on road positioning for cyclists and overtaking cyclists.

    Your ruling states the following:

    “The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Cycling Scotland that any future ads featuring cyclists should be shown wearing helmets and placed in the most suitable cycling position.”

    Could I ask what specifically you believe is wrong with the cycling position shown in this ad? It appears that the cyclist has taken “primary position” as recommended by Cyclecraft.

    In the Assessment section of the ruling the ASA makes the following 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.”

    I don’t really wish to debate helmet usage by cyclists, the bigger picture does suggest that the benefits of cycling far outweigh any risks associated with it by a very large margin, however this is not why I have quoted this part of your ruling. I’ve quoted this section because you specifically refer to advice given in the Highway Code

    Further on in the Assessment section the ASA make the following statement:

    “Furthermore, we were concerned that whilst the cyclist was more than 0.5 metres from the kerb, they appeared to be located more in the centre of the lane when the car behind overtook them and the car almost had to enter the right lane of traffic. Therefore, for those reasons we concluded the ad was socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety. “ (my emphasis)

    Entering the “right lane” (also known as the other side of the road) is also recommended by the Highway code, specifically rule 163 “Give vulnerable road users at least as much space as you would a car”. While the road shown in the ad is actually very wide on most urban roads entering the “right lane of traffic” would almost certainly be necessary to pass a cyclist safely.

    So while you have specifically applied advice from the Highway Code on the wearing of helmets you appear to have ignored it in your assessment of overtaking.

    Therefore, for those reasons I have concluded your ruling on the ad was socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety.

    I hope in light of this obvious contradiction you will reconsider this ruling. I would also like to ask what cycling experience the adjudication team has? Perhaps in future you would consider using staff members more accustomed to cycling on urban roads.

    Yours

    Premier Icon TPTcruiser
    Subscriber

    More correspondence added to the fires.
    I asked what evidence supports the complainants.
    Quango Top Trumps. ASA versus DSA: who wins on the “Evidence based practice” numbers?

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    bencooper – Member
    Anyone want to crowdfind a cycling advert, to run in a national newspaper? It’ll be a very simple image, with a cyclist riding in the middle of the lane, sans helmet, with one middle finger held aloft

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    jamiea – when did you write? Ms Dodgson hasnt deigned to reply to me yet, even with a copy&paste answer 🙁

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Having actually read the ASA judgement… I’m not too sure who’s actually in the “Wrong” here.

    http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2014/1/Cycling-Scotland/SHP_ADJ_238570.aspx

    Ad
    A TV ad for a campaign promoting safer cycling on the road, stated in the voice-over “Not a lot of people know this but you should treat a cyclist the way you treat a horse … slow down, treat them with care and give them their space on the road.” The final shot showed a young woman cycling down the road whilst the on-screen text stated “SEE CYCLIST THINK HORSE.”

    Issue
    Five complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and harmful, because it showed a cyclist without a helmet or any other safety attire, who was cycling down the middle of the road rather than one metre from the curb.

    BCAP Code
    1.24.14.4
    Response
    Cycling Scotland pointed out that wearing a cycling helmet was not a legal requirement in Scotland, but a personal choice for the individual. This they considered was illustrated in the ad, by showing various cyclists with and without helmets.

    Cycling Scotland further commented that cycling had a high benefit:disbenefit ratio, even when factoring in injuries and referred to the national cycling charity (CTC) report. Cycling Scotland also referred to their helmet policy, which discussed the possible undesired outcomes of wearing helmets, including limiting uptake of cycling (leading to less physical activity) and influencing a driver’s behaviour to be less careful when interacting on the road.

    Regarding the cyclist’s clothing, Cycling Scotland commented that this was to reflect the accessibility of cycling and to help promote it as a viable way to make everyday journeys.

    With regards to the cyclist’s positioning, Cycling Scotland stated that given the width of the road featured in the advert, the cyclist was safer riding out past the parking area where they could be clearly visible to other road users. Furthermore, they informed the ASA that the shoot for the advert was supervised by one of their most experienced cycling instructors.

    Cycling Scotland referred the ASA to the National Standard for cycling training’s recognised reference source for cycle training, “Cyclecraft”, which identified two clear positions: the first being the primary position, which is the default position for urban roads, placing the cyclist in the centre of the active traffic lane; and the secondary position, placing the cyclist on the left of the primary position, but not less than half a metre from the kerb. In this case, the advertiser commented that the cyclist was not less than half a metre from the parking lane.

    In their response, Clearcast reiterated that it was not a legal requirement in Scotland for cyclists to wear helmets. Referring to various scenes in the ad, they also commented that cyclists were shown with and without helmets, and believed this reflected an individual’s preference.

    Clearcast stated that the ad was focusing on care and safety in the form of giving space to cyclists on the road, and was communicating a positive message in that respect. Furthermore, they considered that the ad depicted a realistic situation, in that not all cyclists wore helmets. This they considered illustrated that the same care and respect should be given to all cyclists, whether they wore a helmet or not. Furthermore, they considered that the cyclist was clearly positioned on the road and therefore, visible to all motorists.

    Clearcast believed that the cyclist’s distance from the curb appeared to be around or within one metre, and commented that the final scene only featured one car, which had adequate space to safely overtake the cyclist.

    Assessment
    Upheld

    The ASA acknowledged that the ad was primarily encouraging motorists to take care when driving within the vicinity of cyclists.

    We noted that the cyclist in the final scene was not wearing a helmet or any other safety attire, and appeared to be more than 0.5 metres from the parking lane. We also acknowledged that the cyclist was shown in broad daylight on a fairly large lane without any traffic.

    We understood that UK law did not require cyclists to wear helmets or cycle at least 0.5 metres from the kerb. However, 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. Furthermore, we were concerned that whilst the cyclist was more than 0.5 metres from the kerb, they appeared to be located more in the centre of the lane when the car behind overtook them and the car almost had to enter the right lane of traffic. Therefore, for those reasons we concluded the ad was socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety.

    The ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.1 and 4.4 (Harm and offence).

    Action
    The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Cycling Scotland that any future ads featuring cyclists should be shown wearing helmets and placed in the most suitable cycling position.

    First of all the Ad isn’t actually aimed at cyclists or promoting cycling, it’s aimed at changing motorists behaviour, effectively telling them to expect the worst, i.e. for cyclists to be all over the road and not wearing hi-viz or helmets… I mean that is the reality of driving, you will encounter cyclists like the “Beautiful Giant” shown in the last shot (the primary cause of the objection) who are not cowering in the gutter hi-vized and helmeted up…

    So in one respect the complaint really should be invalid as it goes against main aim of the Ad… But then the ASA adjudicator has clearly read his charter and the concept of “social irresponsibility” is applied because; “…We understood that UK law did not require cyclists to wear helmets or cycle at least 0.5 metres from the kerb. However, under the Highway Code it was recommended as good practice for cyclists to wear helmets… the ad was socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety…

    Its a fundamental problem with a rather rigid interpretation of their own rules and kind of ignores the context/goals of the advert, they don’t feel they can approve the depiction of “socially irresponsible actions” in an advert intended to warn Drivers about those same “socially irresponsible actions” So… :shrugs:

    I expect the Bikebiz article was the first recourse sought when Cycling Scotland got a negative ruling, its simply cheaper and easier to try and whip up an indignant storm of cyclists via online media than to water down/re-cut the advert…

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    We understood that UK law did not require cyclists to wear helmets or cycle at least 0.5 metres from the kerb.

    did not? when was the law changed? That should read does not.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    its simply cheaper and easier to try and whip up an indignant storm of cyclists via online media than to water down/re-cut the advert…

    The “Nice Way Code” advert campaign is long finished. They wouldn’t need to water down or re-cut the advert as it won’t be shown again (even if it was “unbanned”).

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Looks like Guy’s PA has had a few e-mails to read hit reply to today!

    It is not his PA who has read them. Mr Parker reads them carefully. Must be true, Lydia said so!

    Stoner, I sent mine at 10.15am

    alpin
    Member

    not usually into the whole Mr Bumdage from Tunbridge Wells and despite not even living in the UK i’m making an exception and drafting a letter….

    is “prat” offensive?

    is guyp@asa.org.uk the guy responsible for the ruling or just the organisation?

    richardk
    Member

    Stoner – i had my reply in under 3 hours from the original email. Same cut and paste reply as others

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    The “Nice Way Code” advert campaign is long finished.

    What? So all this fuss is about an advert that was never going to be shown again??? flippin ell.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    signed
    ASA trending on twitter apparently

    alpin
    Member

    how about, just to give them something to do, we have a thread here and collect all the car adverts that are ridiculously daft/absurd and complain en mass taking up their time.

    who funds the ASA?

    bencooper
    Member

    What? So all this fuss is about an advert that was never going to be shown again??? flippin ell.

    No, the fuss is the precedent that it sets.

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    What? So all this fuss is about an advert that was never going to be shown again??? flippin ell.

    Its more the fact its sets a precedent for not being able to show cyclists in normal attire taking primary position. The ASA’s judgment is that this was

    “socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety.”

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    Action
    The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Cycling Scotland that any future ads featuring cyclists should be shown wearing helmets and placed in the most suitable cycling position.

    They were in a suitable position and I’m a bit concerned about the second sentence there as I see nothing wrong with an idylic image of cycling being shown in that context. Social responsibility requirements at the ASA does not mean the highway code is the most important aspect when considering helmet use vs other social or health considerations, ie the Australia effect.
    –without any wish to turn this into the overdone helmet debate–

    If having ‘suitable safety attire’ becomes a requirement for all cycling advertising its not necessarily a good thing. I don’t know if this sets any precedent though, or if it’s a case-by-case decision.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Just out of curiosity, how many people actually saw this advert on tele? I certainly did not but now it is trending on twitter and in the top 10 most read news stories on the BBC. I wonder if some people are now delighted with the extra, free, publicity!

    Still in disbelief at the ASA responses to this ad.

    Email sent to the names provided above. Also CC’d Lord Smith (ASA Chair and patron of Sustrans, smithcr@parliament.uk )

    retro83
    Member

    GrahamS – Member

    Actually obesity levels in Scotland are (just) lower than England.
    http://www.iaso.org/resources/world-map-obesity/

    England: 42.2% of men (aged 16+) were overweight.
    Scotland: 41.6% of men (aged 16+) were overweight.

    But a bit worse for under 16s, significantly so for boys 🙁

    Eng: 26.1% of girls / 22% of boys overweight
    Scot: 27.4% of girls / 33.6% of boys overweight

    Though the data is for different years

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Had they followed the same logic in the past the various road safety adverts which used demonstration actually showing Drivers having accidents, yapping on the phone, rear passengers without seatbelts crushing those in front, etc… should all have been banned too as they depicted “Socially irresponsible” and in fact illegal actions, the only difference perhaps being that they tended to show the consequences…

    Thinking further on that point, while the Goals of “THINK HORSE” might be good, it’s fluffy, humorous presentation and the failure to show the consequences of Not “THINKING HORSE!” (Dead or Injured cyclists) would already have served to lessen its actual impact and undermine the campaign (IMO)…

    Shouldn’t have been banned, but it wasn’t a great campaign to start with…

    edlong
    Member

    So they’ve cocked up with reading haven;t they? Referring to road positioning in “Cyclecraft” of

    the secondary position, placing the cyclist on the left of the primary position, but not less than half a metre from the kerb

    They’ve somehow, in their judgement, decided that it should be not more than half a metre.

    Idiots.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Sandy Meek wrote:

    Also CC’d Lord Smith (ASA Chair and patron of Sustrans, smithcr@parliament.uk )

    To be honest he seems like the most obvious point of attack – hopefully Sustrans are in the loop on this.

    cookeaa wrote:

    it wasn’t a great campaign to start with…

    That’s as maybe, and a lot of cycle campaigners will doubtless agree with you, but as discussed above this is about a point of principle rather than this particular ad, particularly given the advice not to show unhelmeted cyclists riding in primary in future ads.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    just watched the ad, it’s ludicrous and seriously trivialises a serious subject, the ban may actually be a blessing in disguise

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl_IzodNazY[/video]

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    @dezb your marked up still from the vid is brilliant, the finger isn’t needed the markup does the job

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    just watched the ad, it’s ludicrous and seriously trivialises a serious subject, the ban may actually be a blessing in disguise

    Absolutely not. The ad had already run and would not have been shown again. The ‘ban’ has no effect on this ad.

    It does however ban any future adverts from showing cyclists more than 50cm away from the kerb or riding without a helmet. The helmet is contentious so let’s not go there, but the 50cm thing is truly stupid. They seem to have misread the guidance in Cyclecraft as meaning the opposite of what it actually says. Ads telling cyclists where to ride for their own safety are now VERBOTEN! That is A Bad Thing and it has nothing to do with the much-maligned Niceway Code campaign.

    Premier Icon surroundedbyhills
    Subscriber

    Dear Bruce,

    Thank you for writing to us. Mr Parker has read the correspondence carefully and has passed your email to a colleague, who will respond in due course.

    Kind regards,

    Lydia Dodgson

    Assistant PA

    (on behalf of Guy Parker, Chief Executive)

    Advertising Standards Authority

    Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn

    London WC1V 6QT

    Telephone 020 7492 2222

    http://www.asa.org.uk

    Carefully? My arse!

    bencooper
    Member

    just watched the ad, it’s ludicrous and seriously trivialises a serious subject, the ban may actually be a blessing in disguise

    The campaign was (rightly) slated by many cycle campaigners when it was run. But that’s not the point – the point is the ASA says adverts in future – any advert, not just this one – should not show cyclists riding without helmets, and should not show cyclists riding in the primary position.

    Premier Icon philtricklebank
    Subscriber

    Just had a reply back from an ASA press officer regarding my complaint

    Dear Phil

    Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority and providing us with feedback on our ruling for an ad by Cycling Scotland.

    The ASA is responsible for ensuring UK ads stick to the rules which require that they don’t contain anything likely to be misleading, harmful or offensive. Further to this, the Advertising Codes place a particular emphasis on making sure that ads are socially responsible. This rule gives the ASA scope to apply the Codes, to ads, beyond what is required in law if we consider that an ad is depicting a behaviour or activity that is potentially harmful or irresponsible.

    It’s important to note that our ruling applies to advertisers only and should not be read as general advice to the public. There are lots of things that are not permitted to be shown in adverts that are perfectly acceptable and legal in real life – for example it is considered irresponsible to show someone buying a repeat round of drinks in an alcohol ad.

    Both the advertiser and complainant party to the original investigation can seek an Independent Review of our decision, should they wish to.

    Thank you again for your feedback.

    Kind regards

    Matt Wilson

    Matt Wilson

    Press Officer

    I responded by saying I found the close pass in the advert socially irresponsible, and that the judgement banning the advert was misleading and harmful.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Matt wrote:

    just watched the ad, it’s ludicrous and seriously trivialises a serious subject, the ban may actually be a blessing in disguise

    Well, no – if you read the whole thread (or maybe just the post immediately before yours) you’ll see that this ad isn’t going to be shown again anyway, and the ruling effectively bans any future ads showing cyclists without helmets riding out of the gutter.

    edlong
    Member

    It does however ban any future adverts from showing cyclists more than 50cm away from the kerb

    More than that, if you read the full judgement, they accept the line from Cyclecraft that secondary positioning should be “no less” than half a metre and in the adjudication object to the positioning being “more than” half a metre, therefore in any future advertising, cycles must therefore presumably be exactly 50 cm from the kerb, no more, no less.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Do you reckon you’ll have to have rulers in shot to make sure, or will they take your word for it?

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    ASA: “..if we consider that an ad is depicting a behaviour or activity that is potentially harmful or irresponsible…”

    Hmmm… that describes quite a few ads I can think of!

    In an age of obesity is an advert depicting someone safely riding a bike really more harmful and socially irresponsible than one showing children eating McDonalds?

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