Lack of helmets in advertising.

Lack of helmets in advertising.

Lack of helmets in advertising. 150 150 Dustin John Bromley

I came across this photo advertising biking apparel, and couldn’t help but notice the model is biking in heavy traffic without a helmet (the picture file name is even called “Heavy traffic”). Prohab isn’t here to force helmets on people, -moreso to provide the option to people who want to wear one- but really, how is it going to negatively impact your clothing sales if you plop a helmet on the model? We also don’t want to single out one company, as this is a pretty common occurence.


Here’s a helmetless magazine cover featuring Tina Fey. Celebrities have a huge influence on the general public. If we could afford it, Prohab would hire a celebrity spokesperson, but since I don’t see that happening, we can only hope that larger businesses can take responsibility in their advertising.

Here’s an interesting article on the subject.

Leave a comment, let us know what you think!

Photos borrowed from: OUTLIER and PARADE

9 Comments
  • yeah, advertisements still suggest that wearing a helmet makes you look like a fag and you are a badass guy if you ride your bike without a helmet. there are no good helmet advertisement at all that tell the kids they should wear that fucking piece of plastic, so they won’t smash their heads on the ground. currently, i have no helmet and i feel myself unsafe when im riding my bike, but i have no money to buy one… so, here is the other problem, good helmets are very expensive. i totally agree with you on this subject. my next investment will be a good helmet, that’s sure. 🙂

  • I would think an advertiser would do just about anything they can to sell a product.

    I think it’s fair to say that helmets are sometimes depicted in advertisements just as sometimes they are not.

    I think someone must be living in some type of dream world if they think cyclists wearing helmets are in the majority.

    I also find it telling that the “interesting article” is really just a link to encourage people who want others to do as they think they should (wear a helmet) to protest ads that depict people who ride as they think they should.

    The “organization” (BHSI – described as a part of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, but really is an individual – Randy Swart – who has campaigned vigorously to increase helmet use) that the link leads to is known to advocate for mandatory helmet laws for all ages.

    While I can appreciate the Prohab Helmet Society is a non profit incorporation dedicated to promoting and providing helmets to cyclists who are not wearing them, I think to be fair, the Prohab society has to respect individuals who make the decision to not wear helmets. Prohab also has to respect the fact that advertisers will continue to depict cyclists not wearing helmets because in fact, most cyclists have made the choice not to wear them.

  • dustinjohnbromley April 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Hi Brad,

    I never claimed cyclists wearing helmets are the majority or otherwise.

    Prohab respects the decision of the cyclist if they choose to not wear a helmet.
    That said, it is our opinion that advertisers have more responsibility. When speaking to a large audience and promoting a “cool look”, we feel they could easily put a helmet on the model and not impact their sales.

    Thank you for your input.

  • Quit whining, safety nanny.

  • Yet you are assuming simply placing a helmet on a cyclist represents a more “responsible” image. That’s not necessarily the case.

    Helmets can represent a wide variety of associations (from a risk taker to someone safety conscious) just as a rider without a helmet can.

    You’re also taking a stretch at thinking what’s in the best interests of what the advertisers want to do with their money.

    You can think showing all cyclists wearing helmets is the right thing to do, but in reality, that’s a very narrow view-point. To consciously “blot-out” all cyclists without helmets isn’t being realistic, or fair. It smells of (dare I say it?), * fascism*

  • Whether it’s cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, according to many Canadian studies, head injuries are the #1 cause of serious injury and death to kids on wheels (http://www.safekidscanada.ca/safekidsCanada/). Taking steps (like advocating for helmet use) to prevent more children/people from un-necessary death or injury is a step in the right direction. Promoting safety and smart risks (http://www.smartrisk.ca/home/) for people who choose to cycle or take part in active sports helps prevent possible long-term injuries that can cause serious impact on an individual’s life.

    Your argument that anyone advocating for safety and promoting awareness is associated with a “facist” approach is pretty silly (Brad, are you just really bored at work?). It’s fairly common knowledge that helmet’s have an “un-cool” social stigma attached to them. Thanks to Prohab and many other pro-safety organizations/initiatives, this has encouraged many non-helmet riders to change their opinions on the matter.

  • I don’t think this is a debate about the efficacy of helmets, but weather it’s responsible to “eliminate” what one groups thinks is “the right thing to do”

    This is not the first time this issue has been brought forth. The League of American Bicyclists had refused to link a promotional video of Mathew Modines, “Bicycle For a Day” movement because in the video, he was shown riding without a helmet. The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration printed a report entitled, Handy Lessons From Overseas on Walking and Bicycling, in which they photo-shopped helmets onto cyclists in Europe without the authors permission. Velo News was also chastised for including one picture of an elderly cyclist running an errand in an article that implored people to replace at least one car trip of a mile or less with a walk or bike ride on a weekly basis.

    This is worse than simply burying your head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the ways of the world, it’s promoting ignorance and disinformation.

    It seems helmeteers are more concerned with having people wearing helmets than being safe, because it is very possible to be safe without a helmet. In fact, in the safest areas in the world for cyclists, virtually no one wears helmets.

    But like I said, this is not a debate on the value of a helmet, just a wake up call that there is more than just one view of the world and to ignore or refuse to acknowledge any view you may not agree with simply makes things worse. We can learn from differences and tolerance. These differences make us stronger. Being ignorant and dismissive makes us weaker.

  • But it’s flawed thinking to decide that every pro-helmet organization/advocate/person is a homogenous group that is terrorizing/censoring everyone not wearing a helmet. Prohab appears to be an organization that is:
    1) about creating helmet awareness
    2) encouraging positive statements about helmet safety
    And,
    3) ensuring that affordable helmets can be made available to cyclists within their region/community.

    Also, although there are definitely some safe locations to ride your bike in the world, it’s clear to BC/Vancouver/Canadian statistics that we are not at that standard yet. It will take a lot of work to educate people who not only cycle but use all sorts of transportation to work together in creating safe spaces. Until then, those who wish to prevent their friends and families from getting hurt in un-necessary bike accidents will continue to promote safety in their own ways, such as Prohab is doing.

    I think that supplementing awareness with further education as to how to ride safely in addition to wearing a helmet would also be a positive. Mostly it sounds like you have an issue with some of the policies of pro-helmet organizations in the states. I hope you’re able to communicate your opinions to the places you’ve mentioned in addition to the comments on this blog post. As it’s clear you’ve thought a lot about it. Good luck!

  • a group can create awareness, educate and provide without attempting to censure.

    It’s a waste of time to censure anyhow. It’s never going to happen and efforts to attempt it are wasted. In fact, it simply makes those making the effort look one-sided, narrow minded, and untrustworthy.

    If it is indeed important to educate the public, it’ll stick only if you present information that is honest and balanced. Something Prohab is not doing by attempting to present an image that does not exist in the real world .