Advert for new e-bike banned in France because it ‘discredits the entire car sector’

The ad for VanMoof bikes supposedly causes a ‘climate of fear’ about motor vehicles

An advert for a Dutch bike has been banned in France because it “discredits the entire car industry.”

The 45-second-long ad for Dutch e-bike builder VanMoof has been pulled from screens for highlighting the congestion and pollution caused by cars.

French advertising watchdog the Autorité de Régulaion Professionalle de la Publicitie (ARPP) has taken the commercial off air because it supposedly creates a “climate of fear” about motor vehicles.

The ad, which is still being aired on Dutch and German TV, shows a shiny black vehicle with images being reflected from the surface, showing oil refineries, traffic queues and emergency services.

In a letter to VanMoof, the ARPP said: “Some images in the reflection of the car are, in our opinion, unbalanced and discredit the entire car sector.

“The images of factories/chimneys and an accident create a climate of fear so they will have to be adapted.”

VanMoof said it wants people to rethink the way they move and that the ad is aimed at launching the next generation of VanMoof S3 and X3 e-bikes.

Co-founder of VanMoof, Ties Carlier, said: “It’s puzzling that car companies are allowed to gloss over their environmental problems, but when someone challenges that situation it gets censored.”

Fellow founder Taco Carlier added; “We were always aware that this commercial isn’t your usual bike ad.

“It’s really a call to action, a chance to leave the past behind and make real progress that benefits everyone.

“Questioning the status quo will always be confrontational, but that was our purpose from the start.”

VanMoof was founded in 2009 by Dutch brothers Taco and Ties Carlier, who built distinctive-looking e-bikes.

The machines are available online or from flagship stores around the globe.

>>> ‘Parks should not be for cars to cut through’: Should motor vehicles be permanently banned from Richmond Park? 

The new S3 and X3 models are available for £1,800.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.