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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 has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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