ASA withdraws 'cyclists must ride in the gutter' ruling

Advertising Standards Authority has withdrawn yesterday's controversial and factually incorrect ruling against Cycling Scotland
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Advertising Standards Authority has withdrawn yesterday's controversial and factually incorrect ruling against Cycling Scotland
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However, the withdrawal is "pending the outcome of an independent review." The ASA was deluged with complaints yesterday when it decided it had the authority to become a quasi Department for Transport and tell advertisers they must feature cyclists wearing helmets and riding only a little distance away from the (non-existent) "parking lane".

Today the ASA has issued the following statement:

"The ASA has withdrawn its formal ruling against a Cycling Scotland ad pending the outcome of an Independent Review.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."

UPDATED: Cycling Scotland chief executive Ian Aitken has reacted to the news: “Following our request to the ASA to suspend the publication of its adjudication against our TV advert, I am pleased it has chosen to withdraw its formal ruling, pending the outcome of an Independent Review. It is important to highlight the key message of the advert which reinforces the need for drivers to give those traveling 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. The driver of the car in the advert also follows the Highway Code, which states that vulnerable road users, such as those on a bicycle, should be given at least as much space as you would give a car when overtaking.

"Cycling Scotland will also look at the references to helmet use within the adjudication and this will be reflected in our request for an Independent Review. There is a broad spectrum of research and opinion across the road safety and health communities when it comes to issues relating to helmet use and the ad reflected this diversity by showing cyclists both with and without helmets.

"Cycling Scotland will pursue the Independent Review Process and hope it results in the ASA Council being asked to fully reconsider its adjudication.”

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