By Heather Balch
Bike helmets are known for being unattractive, bulky, and constantly ruining your hairstyle; however they do help save bicyclist lives, including mine. In the last two years, there has been an innovative helmet creating a lot of buzz. The helmet was designed by two Swedish industrial designers and is marketed as an invisible helmet or ‘airbag for cyclists’. The Hövding, as it is called, is designed as a fashionable bulky scarf that blends in with your outfit.
The invisible helmet works similarly to the airbags you would find in a car. It has a protective function that kicks in the moment a blunt force occurs to the cyclist. As soon as the cyclist looses stability and beings to fall over, the helmet recognizes this and ejects airbags; these airbags instantaneously surround the head and the sides of the face before the cyclist hits the ground.
The invisible helmet has gone through many tests to ensure its safety. It is CE labeled, which means it complies with the EU safety standards. It also had some of the highest safety rating when tested by a Swedish insurance company.
Although the invisible helmet is a great and innovative invention, it does have a few draw backs. The airbags can only be deployed once, so the helmet is only good for one use after a crash. This can be a large downside, especially when we look at its high price tag (currently $500+).
Some also argue that the helmet is making cycling seem more dangerous than it is, while others say this encourages safety among cyclist in many countries where wearing a helmet isn’t mandatory.
There are also a few limitations to who can use these, individuals must be over 15 and certain hairstyles, like dreadlocks, Mohawks, and afros, are not recommended.
All in all I think this is a great invention that ultimately makes biking more accessible to everyone. Those who can’t stand wearing a helmet, but who think biking in the city is too dangerous without one, now have this as an option (although not in Canada yet).
And you, what do you think of invisible helmets?