Today I came across Hövding’s alternative to a traditional helmet.
As someone who needs to get into the habit of putting a helmet on before I head on out, I did think it was a really interesting concept (albeit a little silly, especially as it’s being marketed as a fashion accessory).
It looks like a snood, but has a small, USB rechargable black box which senses the rider’s movements, and triggers the airbag if it picks up something out of the ordinary. It inflates around the head in a fraction of a second, and can stop a crash from becoming (even more) nasty.
The idea of having an airbag to protect your head seems like a much better idea than a traditional helmet, and it’s clear that a lot of hard work has gone into creating this, however I can’t help but think that it just wouldn’t work in the real world. What would happen when you get off the bike? Hop off a kerb? A typical commuting situation for me is where I get off the bike and jog down steps to make my train. What would happen? The squat jog scene from Four Lions springs to mind.
Even though I (obviously) have my reservations, it’s a great idea, and I’d happily use one during the winter for commuting. I’ll be keeping an eye on the company, but I dont think that they’ll appeal to the average Joe until the price comes down (from $600!) and it looks a lot more discreet – meaning it is more practical during summer.
Hövding have a long way to go until people view this as a serious alternative to a traditional helmet, but the potential is there.