nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
Kake ([personal profile] nou) wrote2014-09-14 09:05 am
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Invisible bike helmets

I just found out that the Hövding invisible bike helmet has gone into production and is now for sale. I saw a video about this idea a while back and thought it looked pretty interesting. It's quite expensive — £300 — and also it uses electricity, so it's not obviously better than a conventional bike helmet. I'm not a cyclist so I can't evaluate it further than that, but it's certainly interesting.

If you're a cyclist reading this, I'd love to know what you think.

damerell: (cycling)

[personal profile] damerell 2014-10-07 03:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Coo, this took a lot of time to get back to.

Thing is, "burned once, twice shy"; we've had one plausible-looking head protection device which turns out to do nothing, and I think the onus is now on the next one to demonstrate utility.

Beyond that, many of the hypotheses as to why the regular kind seem to do very little also apply here. Risk compensation? Check [1]. Increases the lever arm, potentially exacerbating rotational injuries? Check. The inflatable one is more shock-absorbent than the normal kind, but not by a factor that deals with the difficulty that helmet standards are for unassisted falls - they're massively underspecified for the motor vehicle impacts that typically cause KSIs.

Like early airbags, I'd also want to see if there's any potential for inflation (perhaps unplanned) causing comedy in its own right...

(Also, of course, cycling's not that dangerous; head injury rates are similar to peds and cagers, depending on whether you prefer to count per person-hour or per person-kilometre. So why not helmets for them? But that argument's besides the point here.)

[1] Well, maybe. At least some of the risk compensation is presumably by motorists, and an "invisible" helmet would eliminate that.
damerell: NetHack. (normal)

[personal profile] damerell 2014-10-16 05:32 pm (UTC)(link)
As I understand it, what matters is not really the instantaneous peak acceleration but whether enough of it is imparted to bounce the brain off the skull. The former can be used as a proxy for the latter for traditional helmets because they're all fairly similar, but I've no idea if the Hodving is actually better or just optimised for the test.

I mistrust that press release also because of the paragraph beginning "The harmful effects of Folksam's impact test have now been analysed" where some statistics are pulled out of thin air.

I'm not convinced it is practical for a cyclist to wear something that will provide effective protection from being hit by motor vehicles, especially if effects like increased lever arm and risk compensation are in play (and why wouldn't they be?); and as mentioned, since cycling isn't actually more dangerous than other modes of travel equally blighted by drivers, I'm not sure I see the point in any case; so I don't know what the standard should be.

The best way of testing it is to persuade countries to pass silly legislation and see if anything changes. :-/