Bicycle riding in the Middle East is thwarted by challenging climate and terrain, and to lesser extent by culture. A new invisible helmet, akin to an airbag, and pictured above, could incite more Middle Eastern cycling.
In Afghan, as example, the sport is taboo for women. Here in modern and moderate Jordan, a handful of early-morning cycling clubs hit the highways to the airport and Dead Sea to avoid car traffic.
A pair of Swedish designers have devised a remarkable solution to help us keep our heads: an “invisible” bike helmet! Weary of uncomfortable and clunky foam-filled plastic helmets, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin (pictured above) devised a revolutionary solution that offers total head protection without being on your head. Invented in 2005, their Hövding Invisible Bike Helmet was launched in 2011 and are now sold on their website – link here.
It looks like a simple puffy cowl, covered in a variety of fabric designs. Inside is a fully-engineered airbag that is released by a sensor that detects cyclist movement. The unit deploys in the first 1/10th of a second of an accident, and an internal “black box” also records the last 10 seconds – allowing for follow-on analysis that may provide info to make future biking safer. This short video shows the device in action:
The developers see many other long-term applications ranging from skiing to motorsports. It could also be worn by equestrians: horseback riding is extremely popular throughout this region.
Maybe the Speed Sisters, the Palestinian women’s racing team, could take them for a spin. But priced at $450 bucks each, the helmets are beyond the reach of most. And once inflated, can’t be reused.
See still of crash test dummy test in action:
If costs could drop, the Hövding helmet could ensure that those who dare ride a bike on Middle Eastern roads don’t end up as crash test dummies.
All images from the Hövding Helmet website