One of many first stuff you discover about Amsterdam are the bikes. They’re in all places: peppering the roads, overflowing from bike racks and, repeatedly, clogging up the canals. For somebody who has grown up within the UK, it’s not merely the 881,000 bikes within the metropolis which are surprising. It’s the very fact nobody wears helmets. The explanations behind this are multifaceted, however one firm is trying to change this.
The Hövding is an airbag-style bicycle helmet designed in Sweden that goals to be unobtrusive, whereas providing superior safety in comparison with conventional gear. The query is: do the Dutch public care? We took the Hövding to the streets of Amsterdam to find out.
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Oh, and we set it off in a trampoline park, in fact. Watch the entire thing under.
Utilizing the Hövding was a breeze. It was straightforward to placed on and was surprisingly comfy for one thing that appears a bit like a elaborate canine collar.
The expertise inside additionally it is fairly cool. The airbag is deployed when the accelerometer within the Hövding detects the kind of motion skilled in a motorbike crash, one thing the corporate pumped time into monitoring and trialling. Every Hövding additionally has a black field in it, which the corporate analyses after every accident to enhance the expertise.
You’ll be able to see an instance of this within the video. We tried setting it off with a leap to the aspect, nevertheless it wasn’t till my physique was extra airborne that it truly inflated. When this occurred, there was a robust, bitter, and gas-like odor from the machine and, in a cut up second, my head was rigidly encased. It felt each spectacular and secure. And, to be sincere, kinda freaky.
There are some evident points with the Hövding and the general public picked up on them: value and re-use. €299 is some huge cash for a single use merchandise, although many insurers will cowl its price when you get into an accident. Possibly when you do buy a Hövding, stumping up for a little bit of insurance coverage isn’t the worst thought on this planet.
The truth that it must be charged to function – which isn’t shocking when you think about the tech inside – feels… unusual. There’s one thing about having to cost a helmet that appears counter-intuitive, particularly once you don’t actually see it utilizing the facility.
We even have to contemplate the cultural angle to helmets. Judging by the Dutch public’s response to the machine, it appears unlikely that the Hövding will acquire traction in nations with out a helmet behavior or strict biking legal guidelines.
So, who’s it for?
Mainly, somebody who actually, actually hates common helmets, however nonetheless needs to be secure. The Hövding is unobtrusive, comfy and, importantly, received’t mess up your stunning bouffant whereas biking. And, you recognize, it’ll defend you fairly nicely too.
Myself? It was enjoyable to make use of, however I’m most likely not going to shell out for one too quickly. It’s cool although.
For those who’ve been on the lookout for a novel method to take care of your noggin, you can buy the Hövding here.
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