Mammy State ruling is verging on the ridiculous

Just in case you thought that the Nanny State had gone away, think again.

In fact, make that the Mammy State, because nobody but a brooding, finger-wagging, cross Mammy could take exception to the vision of a Sound of Music-style family meandering through the woods on bicycles. The Mammy in question is the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland and the outrageous behaviour they espied consisted of a national press advertisement featuring a two adults and three children cycling on a laneway through fields.

The ad was designed to show the benefits of getting up from the armchair and enjoying nature’s bounty. Below the photograph, it stated: “A guide to getting your family active this summer. Get On Your Bike…”

So what was the problem?

Were the children being abducted? Were the parents snorting cocaine from their saddles? Had they stolen the bikes?

Not a bit. The trouble was that ! none of them were wearing helmets.

The ASAI said: “On being informed by the ASAI that the Road Safety Authority had expressed concerns about the depiction of cyclists without helmets, the advertisers said that it was not their intention to encourage unsafe practice, and that they took the comments of the RSA very seriously. They said that they would not use the image again.”

Another judgment saw the ASAI condemn an ad showing a man cycling behind a bus while holding a mobile phone. The ad made clear that this was not a good idea.

The ASAI was relieved to see the man was wearing a helmet.

They noted, however, that this chancer was using his mobile phone while cycling. While they accepted the scene was intended to be humorous and that the voice-over condemned rather than condoned the cyclist’s behaviour, they were of the view that the scene nevertheless “depicted dangerous behaviour and an unsafe practice of using a mobile phone while cycling, which contravened Section 2.29 of the Code”.

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