JD Sports bike stunt ad campaign shows 'flagrant disregard for safety' according to industry association

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Motorcycle industry figureheads have criticised a new advertising campaign by clothing retailer JD Sports, which uses off-road motorcycles and quadbikes performing stunts in order to showcase a new range of Nike Air Max 95 trainers.

The adverts appeared online in early March and have been produced in collaboration with Monster Energy-backed stunt rider OneWheelWavey.

They show riders performing wheelies in an urban setting aboard off-road Yamaha enduro bikes, with one of the clips including the text: ‘take bike life to the max’ in the description. Quads can also be seen on their back wheels, as well as performing donuts – with riders wearing the Nike shoes as well as casual sports clothes including tracksuits and shorts.

Images taken from JD Sports' latest ad campaign

“JD Sports’ recent social media posts exhibit a flagrant disregard for safety by endorsing reckless riding conduct,” CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, Tony Campbell said. “By glamorising hazardous stunts and displaying a nonchalant stance towards protective gear, JD Sports sets a perilous precedent that directly opposes the views of the industry.

“Portraying antisocial riding behaviour only exacerbates the societal challenges currently prevalent nationwide and paves the path for impressionable young individuals to emulate such actions. These posts undermine the advancements we have achieved in advocating for safer roads and fostering a more positive perception of our passion.”

MCN contacted JD Sports about the adverts, with a spokesperson saying: “Our campaign was filmed with professionally trained riders on private land or indoors – not on public roads.

“This followed our health and safety team conducting a rigorous risk assessment that was shared with the riders, to ensure maximum safety. We take health and safety very seriously across all aspects of our business.” 

The spokesperson further stated that all of the filming was done legally, shot on private land or indoors with medics onsite should anything go wrong. A disclaimer has also been added saying: ‘Stunts performed by professionals – do not try at home.’

“Retailers have a responsibility to ensure they are not selling their products in a way which could encourage anti-social behaviour or criminality, and we encourage all users of quadbikes and motorbikes to use them responsibly,” a National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman added. “We know that anti-social behaviour has the power to wreck lives and we ask the public to continue to report incidents to us.

“Police forces use all local intelligence provided to prioritise their neighbourhood policing response and respond to incidents, and where it is not a matter for the police, we will work with local authorities and other agencies to effectively combat ASB (anti-social behaviour) and empower victims and communities.”

Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) spokesperson, Colin Brown followed this up by saying: “Trainers are not appropriate footwear for motorcycling, but key here is the imagery of youths pulling wheelies.

“Whilst stunt riding is perfectly acceptable in controlled environments, there is no place for it on the public road network. Portrayal of this illegal behaviour in an aspirational context is irresponsible. JD Sports should discontinue the campaign immediately.”

JD Sports ad campaign featuring stunt rider OneWheelWavey

The adverts have been met with a number of negative comments online, with responses now limited on certain Facebook posts.

“Trainers with motorbikes? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?” One commenter said. “Unless you like the idea of people becoming human crayons? If you’ve ever seen that advert, you’d know trainers and bikes don’t mix.”