Hövding is an airbag bicycle helmet, invented by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin in Malmö, Sweden in 2005. The innovative 'Airbag for Cyclists' is a radical departure from the traditional cycle helmet and proved to also be a lot safer. In 2011 was launched on the market and it was recognised with a prestigious INDEX Award.
Hövding has released this provocatively titled short film "Cycle helmet safety - What the industry doesn't want you to know,” which explores comparative safety data and tests that showcase the designs unprecedented level of protection and argues that if Hövding was the benchmark for helmet safety all other helmets would fail.
They quote former director of Product Safety at the Swedish Consumer Agency, Stig Håkansson: "I have spent much of my professional life working on product safety at national and international level and I have never seen a cycle helmet that provided anything like the level of protection that the Hövding provides. Naturally I hope it will be used by a lot of people in the future"
Despite the results and endorsements, the short film has renewed debates about the product with commentators questioning cost, practicality and even necessity of the product. Here are some of the comments:
"You can shout about how much safer it is all day long, the fact is it's far too expensive for a 1-time use thing. £299 for something that could essentially be wasted on a simple fall? I've had several falls that, judging from your 'live crash event' videos, would have set this thing off despite that fact that my head was never in danger."
"OK, so quite apart from the whole debate over whether or not helmets actually protect cyclists, this new invention relies on electronics. Electronics can fail. Electronics DO fail. Would you put your faith in a piece of equipment that may or may not deploy when you need it to? Not sure I would. A polystyrene hat is not much help, but - at the very least - it can't 'break down'. When it's on your head, it's on your head."
"As an engineer who has been critical of helmets ever since they were foolishly made a legal requirement in Australia in 1991, I agree with the principals of most of the physics & injury levels in the video. But I strongly disagree with the assumption that cycling is so dangerous you need a helmet. The level of risk per hour of cycling in most countries is similar to the level of risk in a car yet how often do people insist on car occupants wearing a helmet?"
What is your opinion about the airbag? Would you swop a traditional helmet for the airbag instead? Tell us what you think in the comments below.