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Must watch: End of the helmet? Enter airbag for cyclists.

I’m not much of a bicycle fan, and one of the things that does irritate when I do get on one, is the need for a helmet. Having grown up in the eighties, the idea of wearing one wasn’t in most people’s vocabularies, but it has become an essential element given the increase in fatalities on South Africa’s roads. But Brendan Jack has discovered the Hövding airbag for cyclists, which may change my view. It looks like it’s taken straight from a sci-fi movie, but could well be the next big thing in cycling. The video is a must see as you need to see the airbag in action, as it may only suit those who ride to work and back, because the weekend speed junkie may be looking for more aerodynamics. Innovation at its best. – Stuart Lowman

By Brendan Jack*

The first version of car airbags were used as far back as the 1940s. But it’s the future now and we need better tech to protect our heads. Enter Sweden’s Hövding bicycle helmets who have spent a decade developing airbags for cyclists.

You don’t need to wear anything on your head, so it’s great for people who don’t like wearing helmets or for those who don’t want their impressive hairdos ruined. You also avoid schlepping a sweaty helmet around the shops.

The makers explain that ‘through advanced sensors, Hövding can sense the cyclist’s movement patterns and will react in case of an accident. The unique airbag will inflate, fixate your neck and provide the world’s best shock absorption. The collar encloses the airbag system that protects the head and is made of black, waterproof, dirt-repellent functional fabric that rests comfortably around your neck.’

A 2016 safety report by Stanford University states that the scarf-like headgear provides eight times better protection than regular bicycle helmets.

You’ll look a bit like a Stormtrooper when it blows up, and they’re designed to be worn by cyclists over the age of fifteen. It also has a black box inside to record crash test data.

They need to be replaced once triggered. So at 300 Euros, you might want to risk going without a helmet. Although replacement unit prices are subsidised in some countries. And if you have cash left over, there’s also the option of alternative neck covers for an extra 50 Euros per style and colour.

  • Brendan Jack is a team member at Coolfidence. Filmmaking, comedy, marketing, writing, his fondness is for all of them. Stories seem to be his common thread, engaging people’s minds and eyeballs. Whether you’re a stranger or friend, stories and ideas connect. From the mundane to the fantastical, all ideas are welcome to be discussed at his corner table next to those old leather couches.
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