Protecting Your Brain & Your Hair-Do: The Invisible Bike Helmet

Cycling is a major mode of transportation in Philadelphia. Okay, well maybe not major, but a lot of people do opt for bikes over cars or trains to get from Point A to Point B. And while there is nothing scientific to back this up, it seems that for every 5 bike riders I see, only 1 is wearing a helmet. Knowing what we know about helmets and brain injuries, wearing a helmet seems like, well, a no-brainer. But for lots of people, vanity and discomfort get in the way.

Photo courtesy of Hovding

Photo courtesy of Hovding

Enter the Swedish-made invisible helmet. Yes, REALLY. The helmet, called the Hovding, is not actually a helmet at at. It’s an airbag hidden in a collar cyclists can wear around their necks. The collar contains sensors that detect when an accident is happening based on jerks, and will deploy within 1/10th of a second. Take a look at the video below.

Pretty cool, huh? In tests, the Hovding was shown to be 3 times better at shock absorption than regular helmets, and thousands have already been sold across Europe.

But before you toss your old bicycle helmet, there are a few things you should know. First, the collar cannot protect you from a direct hit to the head, like a low hanging tree branch. Second, it’s not yet approved for sale in the US, and experts from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute are skeptical it will be. And last, even if it is approved in the US, the price tag is considerably higher than a traditional helmet — it’s more than $500, and can only be deployed once. To learn more, check out this great NPR article on the topic.

We want to hear from you! What do you think of the Hovding? Would you use it?

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