Airbag Bicycle Helmet Alternative Promises Safe Cycling and Fewer Head Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Is it ever safer to take a bicycle trip without a helmet than it is with a helmet? In other words, are there any scenarios in which a cyclist is less likely to sustain serious personal injuries in a bicycle accident if she is not wearing a helmet? According to a recent article in Business Insider, a new “airbag collar” is being advertised as a “safer alternative to the traditional bike helmet,” and American cyclists will soon be able to buy them as the latest means of reducing bicycle deaths per year.
What is an airbag collar and how might it improve bicycle helmet effectiveness? The product is known as the Hövding bicycle collar, and it bills itself as the safest bicycle helmet on the market. The article describes the product as having an “unusual appearance,” but nonetheless has “become somewhat mainstream and no longer raises eyebrows when spotted on the roads of Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Berlin.” While the product is only now sold in Europe and used by European cyclists, the company plans to expand into U.S. markets as soon as this year.
In the event of an accident, it is claimed that the airbag bicycle helmet, which is literally worn as a collar around the cyclist’s neck, can inflate in 0.1 seconds. Hopefully, this will impact bicycle accident statistics by reducing injuries and deaths per year.
According to research around bicycle helmet effectiveness, the Hövding airbag bicycle helmet may be safer than traditional bicycle helmets and much better at preventing head injuries. A recent bicycle helmet study conducted by researchers at Stanford University determined that the collar provides eight times better protection than a traditional bicycle helmet. Moreover, according to researchers, the risk of a serious head injury for bicyclists traveling at a speed of 16 miles per hour is 90% with a traditional bicycle helmet, but only 2% with the Hövding bicycle collar. According to them, this new product could be deemed the safest bicycle helmet available to consumers.
How does the Hövding airbag bicycle helmet work? It contains sensors that track a cyclist’s movements at a rate of 200 times per second. These sensors detect the alternate movements associated with a bike accident and then inflates to protect the cyclist from head and neck injury. Newer versions of the airbag bicycle helmet in 2019 will be “even safer, more comfortable, and will also be connected to your smartphone.”
The Hövding has not made it to the US yet and time will tell if it will become the safer alternative for bicyclists while reducing the number of bicycle deaths per year. In the meantime, always make sure to wear a helmet while riding!
Understanding Bicycle Accident Statistics
Until the Hövding bicycle collar replaces traditional helmets throughout the country, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center cites the following as common facts and figures for bike crashes in the U.S.:
- Bicycle deaths per year have risen in the last decade by about 6% while bicycle accident nonfatal injuries rose by more than 2%;
- 818 bicycle accident fatalities occurred in 2016 and 45,000 bicyclists suffered serious injuries in crashes;
- Average bicyclist killed in a crash is 45 years old;
- 88% of bicyclists who suffer fatal injuries are male;
- More than 70% of bicycle deaths per year happen in urban areas;
- Highest number of bicycle accident fatalities occur between the hours of 6:00pm and 9:00pm; and
- Approximately 35% of bicycle accidents involve either an intoxicated motorist or an intoxicated cyclist.
If you were injured in a bike collision, you should speak with a bicycle accident attorney about your options.