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"Looks like shit. But saves my life" – German government’s helmet advert sparks sexism row

Ad shows model dressed in just helmet and bra

An advert promoting the use of cycle helmets in Germany has sparked a sexism row since it features a woman dressed in her underwear.

The advert, from the country’s transport ministry, carries the strapline “Looks like shit. But saves my life.”

It shows a woman – according to AFP, a contestant in the reality TV show Germany’s Next Top Model – wearing a cycle helmet and a bra.

The advertising campaign is due to be launched on Tuesday, but the women’s wing of the SPD political party – a partner in the country’s ruling coalition – have urged transport minister Andreas Scheuer to pull it.

The women’s wing's chairwoman, Maria Noichl, said: “It is embarrassing, stupid and sexist for the transport minister to be selling his policies using naked skin.”

Germany’s family minister, SPD member Franziska Giffey, also called on the transport minister to halt the campaign.

She posted a photo of herself with her bike and a helmet on Facebook with a caption that read: "Dear Andreas Scheuer: fully dressed also goes well with a helmet!"

However, a spokesman for the transport ministry commented: "A successful road safety campaign should jolt people and can be polarising."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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