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."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.