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Airbag cycle helmet triggered as man put coat on was being used incorrectly, says manufacturer

Swedish company Hövding says product should be deactivated when off the bike

Hövding, the Sweden-based manufacturer of an innovative airbag designed to protect cyclist’s heads in the event of a crash, says that a man featured in a video that showed the helmet deploying while he was putting his coat on was using it incorrectly.

The company says that the movements of the man in the video, posted to Instagram earlier this year and featured on yesterday, are similar to those that a cyclist would make during a crash, thereby triggering the airbag.

- Video: Airbag cycling helmet deploys - as rider puts coat on



AS IT HAPPENED #hovding #airbagged

A video posted by abc3d (@abc3d_) on

A company spokeswoman told “Hövding should only be activated when you are cycling. The cyclist in the film unfortunately had it activated also off the bike. His movements are related to movements your body does during an accident. Hence the inflation.”

As for its deployment, she said: “The Hövding acted correctly, assuming the cyclist was on a bike given its activation,” adding that the company offered the man a replacement.

She underlined that the airbag should be deactivated when users are off the bike, saying: “When activated Hövding measures your movements 200 times per second and compares your movements with normal bike riding movements and movements your body will make in an accident.

“When you leave your bike and go in to a shopping mall, a hotel lobby or anywhere else you should always de-activate Hövding.”

Stressing that it was important that purchasers read the manual prior to using the product, she added that “Hövding to date has been in close to 200 real accidents and [has] protected the cyclist every time.”

Last year, Maria Krafft, head of division traffic safety & environment at Folksam, one of Sweden’s largest insurers, said: "Hövding is the biggest thing since the emergence of the cycle helmet and, as a milestone, is equivalent to when the airbag was developed for cars."

- Cycle helmets have "major flaws" in safety, insists cyclist airbag firm Hövding (+ video)         


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Daclu Trelub | 8 years ago

Smells like maker BS to me.

Accessibility f... | 8 years ago

This is like Apple blaming people suffering from poor reception for holding their phones incorrectly.  If there's a risk the airbag could deploy when off the bike, the solution is to make it impossible to arm the airbag when off the bike.

Bad design and a very poor response.

burtthebike | 8 years ago

Maria Krafft "Hovding is the biggest thing since the emergence of the cycle helmet....."

Does she mean the price?

sizbut | 8 years ago
1 like

Having watched the video several times, I would not want to be wearing one when I chose to look over my shoulder whilst riding on the drops - but I suspect that cyclists who ride on the drops are not the main market. 

I'm a technical author so I naturally applaud "always read the manual". But it seems that with sensing the user's movements 200 times a second, sensing that the user isn't actually cycling should be fairly simple, though obviously they've gone for the 'always assume the worst' approach since it will more likely cover their arse.

Critchio | 8 years ago

I'm not buying it. Appears to me that this guy had a defective unit. How can putting on a jacket equate to the inertia generated when becoming unsaddled or going over the handlebars?

If you got off the bike then tripped over a path defect or crack in the pavement and went arse over tit I could understand it as that would likely generate the trigger inertia. Not convinced by their response.

Pfaff | 8 years ago
1 like

This is not an unique event, Ive seen - and heard, loudly! - it happen twice in situ.

Hövding maybe shall add some advice how to handle the gadget, which certainly isnt cheap. Seems to be worn mostly by woman caring bout the hairstyle.blushBut of course better than none at all.

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