Everything about the Hövding airbag for cyclists is extraordinary: It cost £10m to develop; its sensors record the wearer’s movements 200 times a second and, with a price tag of £260, it costs more than many bicycles.
The ground-breaking approach to head protection for cyclists has resulted in Hövding already selling 2,000 of its airbags, a significant proportion of which to cyclists in London. Most go unnoticed because the design is indistinguishable from the collar on a winter coat. In the event of an impending collision, the airbag inflates in a tenth of a second.
What this means in practice was demonstrated at last week’s Spin LDN cycling exhibition, when a volunteer deliberately rode his bike into a concrete column at speed.
When the Hövding was tested against 13 of the leading cycle helmets available to buy in Sweden in 2012, it proved to have more than three times better shock absorbency of all the other helmets. To be CE marked, a cycle helmet must reduce the force of acceleration at head impact to 250 g. The best performing conventional helmet managed 196 g – the Hövding achieved 65 g.
Whether or not you ride with a helmet, cycle insurance from the ETA offers protection for you and your bike. Every policy includes as standard, new-for-old (no matter the age of the bike) and accidental damage (including race events and triathlon), £5m third party, £20,000 personal accident, Cycle Breakdown and much more.
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