Germany Enlists Darth Vader for Nationwide Bike Safety Billboard Campaign

Courtesy of the German Transport Ministry

A Disney-sanctioned campaign from the German transport ministry has the Sith Lord calling on bike riders to don protective head gear.

Soon the ominous figure of Darth Vader will be seen towering over the streets of Germany, glaring down from billboards from Munich to Hamburg, Berlin to Cologne.

The campaign, which launches May 19, has nothing to do with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams’ hotly anticipated sequel to the science fiction franchise. Instead, the epitome of the dark side is being used as a force for good: to encourage more Germans to wear a bike helmet, which is not required by law here.

"The saga continues, thanks to the helmet. True for every galaxy and on a bike,” reads the safety slogan.

The German transport ministry came up with the idea of using Vader, arguing that the Star Wars baddie “was the most famous helmet-wearer in the galaxy.” Star Wars fans will also remember that when Vader did remove his helmet, it was curtains for the Sith Lord.

According to the transport industry’s own figures, a third of children under 10 don’t wear a helmet when riding a bicycle and only 7 percent of Germans aged 17-30 wear one.

Disney Deutschland, Disney International and LucasFilm International are backing the safety campaign, and are letting the German government use Darth Vader’s image free of charge.

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