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    Hovding airbags for cyclists

    World's First Cycling Airbag Claims to Save Hundreds of Lives a Year

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    The newest invention to hit the cycling industry is here, the world's first airbag for bicycles, which claims to provide the best shock absorption in the world. But how many lives will it save?

    The company, Hovding, developed the airbag for urban cyclists in 2005, when founders Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin decided that something was needed to protect people who ride their bikes. It's been seven years in development and claims to protect cyclist against head injuries and has proven itself in numerous crash tests.

    ​However, after a number of cycle deaths on urban roads within cities like London, can this airbag really protect the most vulnerable vehicles on the road or is it just another fad?

    The CEO of Hovding, Fredrik Carling, told Sputnik that the airbag could save hundreds of lives a year.

    "We have 30,000 cyclists using these airbags and we have documented 700 accidents. In all of them the airbags have done their job and have never failed. Some of these accidents have been severe and they have shown that without the protection to the head, the incident could have been far more serious, even fatal," Mr. Carling told Sputnik.

    The airbag works quite simply — when you get on your bike, you wear the airbag like a collar around your head which reads the movement of your body.

    It has been trained to understand the movements of the body in and out of an accident. When the airbag detects it will go into an accident, if the cyclist is hit by a car or falls on an icy road, it then takes the decision to inflate and it does this in 0.1 seconds, so very quickly.

    The founders and developers claim that it has the best shock absorption detection.

    However, with cyclists falling foul to accidents every year, will this actually make a difference?

    "It is not very convenient to wear a collar around your head, but if it keeps you protected, why not? A few years ago there were several cyclists killed in one month in London. We shouldn't be seeing these numbers. Something like this could make a huge difference," Mr. Carling told Sputnik.

    With cycling becoming a popular mode of transport in urban areas such as London, major cities are now experiencing an awaking, with many ex-car owners opting to cycling to work. Could the development of technology coupled with better safety precautions for cyclists mean that cars will some day become obsolete?

    "Not necessity, we worked on a project this summer together with a cycle campaign called, Give a Beep. The project mapped out areas in London that were difficult and not secure for cyclists. Then we handed over that data to the planners to build roads in a better way.

    "A car has a purpose to transport heavy goods and it has a place [in society] as well. I don't necessarily see in the future having roads that have no cars, but I do see the necessity to make way for both modes of transportation. We can have both existing in harmony. It doesn't mean that cars don't have a place, it just means that bikes have a place as well," Mr. Carling said.

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    Tags:
    cyclist, urban, bike, deaths, airbag, innovation, cycling, accident, protection, Sweden, Europe, United Kingdom, London
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