Scheuer's controversial bicycle helmet campaign: In underwear for more security

What do underwear model have to do with bicycle helmets? Right! Actually nothing. Transport Minister Scheuer sees things differently and has now launched an extraordinary security campaign - and reaps indignation.

"Looks like shit. But saves my life." To German: Looks like shit, but saves lives. This is the slogan of a campaign by the Federal Ministry of Transport, which campaigns for the wearing of bicycle helmets. As if this title were not unusual enough for a German authority, young women and men with helmets are posing on the advertising posters - and wearing only underwear.

This latest campaign by the Ministry led by Andreas Scheuer (CSU) is supposed to encourage young people to wear bicycle helmets. However, a nationwide debate has also raged over whether women and men dressed in underwear are the right choice. In addition to politicians now also bicycle associations expressed criticism and call the campaign "silly".

"More than half of the young cyclists say of themselves that they never or rarely wear a helmet, and why not because it does not look cool," says Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer on the occasion of the advertising campaign. The action is therefore aimed specifically at young people. "The slogan may not be quite the same as the usual German official, but he sums up the message in a nutshell: helmets save lives!" Scheuer says.

Many young people renounce for aesthetic reasons on a helmet while cycling. We want to change that! U. a. with a joint action from BMVI, @DVR_info & @topmodel. Our message: #HelmeRettenLeben!

More info #gntm # gntm2019

- BMVI (@BMVI) 21st March 2019

In order for the campaign to be well received by young people, the Ministry of Transport has received prominent support from the TV show "Germany's Next Top Model" (GNTM) in the form of star photographer John Rankin and GNTM candidate Alicija. But the campaign does not go down well everywhere.

The General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) strongly criticizes the bicycle helmet campaign of Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) with lightly clad models. "Many people are annoyed about such a campaign, many people do not feel taken seriously," said ADFC Federal Bureau Burkhard Stork today in Berlin before deliberations of a working group on climate change in transport.

ADFC: "silly campaign"

There are many issues that would need to be taken care of, such as more road safety and avoiding and preventing accidents. "That's where Mr. Scheuer would have a lot to do, but instead he cares about silly campaigns," Stork said.

Also from the SPD come critical voices. "It is embarrassing, stupid and sexist, if the Minister of Transport sells his policy with bare skin," said the chairman of the Association of Social Democratic Women, Maria Noichl, compared to the "Bild am Sonntag".

Criticism also came from the Greens. Green traffic politician Stefan Gelbhaar said that "instead of having no effect on sexist advertising, Scheuer should finally take serious steps to ensure road safety on our roads."

Ministry of Transport defends campaign

Even Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) finds the action of her cabinet colleagues little amusing. On Facebook, she posted a photo of herself and her bike. She is fully clothed, wearing a helmet and writes: "Dear Andreas Scheuer: WITH HELMET ALSO GOES ON!"

The campaign is defended by the Junge Union (JU). JU boss Tilman Kuban said: "It was clear that the genderists are now outraged again. I like to watch a beautiful woman!"

The ministry justified itself via Twitter. The main target group are young women and men who do not wear helmets for aesthetic reasons. The first ratings of viewers - with 1.78 million viewers between 14 and 49 years old - confirmed "that we have reached this target group very well". Although one can understand the objections from different sides, but stand behind the motives.