Airbags are not a new invention, as they are common in automobiles. However, now there are airbags for bicycles. This post will look at 11 things you should know before buying an airbag for your bike.
1. What is a bicycle airbag?
An airbag is a safety element for cyclists. It consists of a piece of clothing worn by the individual, which can inflate in a matter of seconds to protect the rider from falls and blows.
2. How do airbags for cyclists work?
Bicycle airbags typically operate using gyroscopic technology, algorithms and other sensors. When worn by the user, the airbag technology records every movement of the airbag, approximately 200 records per second.
At all times the airbag compares the user’s movements with the movements programmed in its software algorithm. When the airbag for cyclists detects an irregular movement, e.g. too rapid and unexpected acceleration, it sends a signal to activate the inflation of the product.
This whole system occurs constantly and the activation of the inflation from the detection of the unexpected speed increase takes only a few hundredths of a second.
3. Are airbags for cyclists safe?
Yes, airbags for cyclists are safe. Or at least they are safer than regular bicycle helmets.
This has been demonstrated by Stanford University in a study conducted in the United States. The tests were conducted with the Hovding 3 airbag, an airbag manufactured in Sweden. The study concluded that this airbag was 8 times safer than an ordinary hard helmet.
This is because the Hovding 3 was able to protect the wearer against brain injury eight times more effectively than wearing a traditional helmet.
4. What types of airbags for cyclists are there?
There are at least two types of airbags for cyclists, these are:
- Vest airbag.
- Helmet airbag.
Its principle of operation is the same, as explained in the answer to question 2 of this article. However, unlike the helmet airbag, the vest airbag has a CO2 canister, which is activated to inflate the bag.
For this reason, the weight of the vest airbag could become uncomfortable after a short time of wearing it. On the other hand, a positive aspect of the helmet model is that it only pretends to be a helmet when inflated – the airbag covers the entire head, except the face – but at rest, it is a kind of neck brace that tends to go unnoticed.
Even so, these are products that have not yet been refined because they are relatively new to the market. Their designs are still somewhat robust and, above all, they can still present false positives.
In the latter case, for example, when we unintentionally make a quick movement; if we stumble a little, the helmet airbag could inflate even though we are not really in an accident. However, this rarely happens.
5. Which is better, a vest-type airbag or a helmet-type airbag?
Actually, both types of airbags are relatively good so far. We could not say that one is better than the other because both protect extremely important areas of our body, such as the neck.
Deciding which airbag is better, a helmet or vest, depends on several factors that you must consider. The important thing is to choose a bicycle airbag that can meet your needs and fit your budget.
The vest airbag protects the back, torso and neck, while the helmet airbag protects the neck and head. It would be better to have both airbags, don’t you think? But this is a bit complicated considering the price of these products for average cyclists and bike users.
6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an airbag for cyclists?
The advantages and disadvantages include the following.
Advantages of using the airbag for cyclists and bicycle enthusiasts
- Provides greater safety than a traditional hard hat.
- It absorbs a good part of the impacts received.
- Decreases the probability of suffering injuries in the body, such as brain, neck and back injuries, among others.
Disadvantages of airbag use by bicycle users
- They may present false positives.
- They are a bit heavy, especially the vest ones.
7. What to consider when buying an airbag for bicycle handling?
Among the aspects that you should take into account when buying an airbag to ride your bicycle are the following:
- The areas of the body that you would like to prioritize their safety.
- The price.
- The comfort.
- The weight.
- The reliability.
You should think about comfort when riding a bike with an airbag, and this goes hand in hand with its weight.
Reliability is its capacity to function properly with little probability of failure during its useful life, under normal operating conditions.
8. What are the best and safest airbags today?
So far, among the best airbags for bikes today, the Hövding 3 stands out. It is a helmet-type airbag, with a collar-like attachment to the body. As mentioned in point 3, this airbag was even used in a study at Stanford University.
9. How much does an airbag for cyclists cost?
The price depends on the type: helmet or vest, the brand and model. The Hovding 3 is priced around $270 – $350.
10. What are the alternatives for bicycle airbags?
In addition to airbags for bicycle users, there are alternatives in terms of safety. Such is the case of collapsible helmets. These products are situated between traditional helmets and airbags.
This equipment consists of three concentric rings, which can be unfolded to take the shape of a helmet.
It is a fairly safe option – when compared to driving without a helmet at all or other personal protective equipment – and above all convenient to carry, as it can be compressed for storage in a backpack.
Check out the best models of folding helmets on Amazon.
11. Where can I buy a Hovding airbag helmet?
On different online platforms, for example on Amazon. There you can find this Hövding 3.