Airbag bike helmet

$450 bicycle helmet disguises safety device as fashion accessory.

The Hövding (Swedish for “Chief”, Bork Bork Bork) is a head protection system that remains hidden in a vaguely stylish collar until you need it in a crash. The collar contains a folded airbag which deploys in a crash. The airbag then poofs out into a big hood that wraps around your head so your head is okee-dokee, yaaa, bork bork bork.

Here’s the collar with the airbag hidden away. Note how attractive you can become just by wearing the Hovding collar!

Hovding airbag bike crash helmet - before crash, undeployed in collar

And here’s the Hovding after it’s deployed.

bike helmet airbag deployed

The inventors borrowed from existing technology used for motorcycles. The gas generator is one of the smallest gas generators on the market, according to Hovding’s website. Accelerometers trigger the airbag’s release. The video shows the helmet in action in various crash scenarios. The endo at the end is particularly fun to watch.

I’m amazed that even bike-riding European crash test dummies seem better dressed than their American counterparts.

The helmets, which will be sold in Sweden, will be available for about 3000 Swedish Kronas, or about US$450, begining in 2011. Sweden is a member of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), but I’m not familiar with the European standard. Some creative interpretation might be necessary if the makers want this to pass the US CPSC bike helmet standards testing.

You can see more photos of beautiful Scandinavians wearing the Chief airbag at


  • Wuss912
    October 21, 2010 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    directly out of the book snow crash….

  • Andy
    October 21, 2010 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    As if we needed another reason for people to try to throw soda bottles at our heads… Can you imagine the new games this would cause?

  • October 21, 2010 - 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh boy, I’m LOL picturing that scenario.

  • Mel
    October 22, 2010 - 12:12 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I was thinking of that too. Not only did Gibson write a book about the internet and something very much like Second Life in the 80s and it doesn’t seem a bit dated in 2010, apparently he can see into the future of personal crash protection as well. I thought that idea was creative if unrealistic until now. Guess not.

  • nick
    October 22, 2010 - 1:25 am | Permalink

    at 43 sec it still looks like the dummy hit his head pretty hard

  • October 22, 2010 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Hm, skeptic

  • October 22, 2010 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Hm, skeptic

  • Siouxgeonz
    October 22, 2010 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Not that it’s a new idea 🙂

  • October 22, 2010 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh man, I forgot all about that!

  • GFW
    October 22, 2010 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Snow Crash was Neal Stephenson, not William Gibson.

  • October 22, 2010 - 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Hahahahahaha. I think you meant “Dork, Dork, Dork”

  • Fpsalchemy
    October 23, 2010 - 5:40 am | Permalink

    wonder how the motion tracking that your head does will affect this system

  • October 23, 2010 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    The developers have been working on this for several years, and they say they’ve tried every conceivable bike / head movement. Still, I wonder about accidental deployments too. “I was Just Riding Along and *POOF* my collar exploded!”

  • Andy
    October 23, 2010 - 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Why just a helmet? A better (and funnier) use of this technology would be to make a Hulk suit that you wear under your clothes. If someone hits you, you’re clothes rip apart and you’re now fully protected (and 10x more muscular looking!)

  • October 30, 2010 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Looks like at fairly low speeds you’d be okay

  • October 30, 2010 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Looks like at fairly low speeds you’d be okay

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