Immer mehr Berufspendler steigen vom Auto aufs Fahrrad um. Viele nicht zuletzt, weil sie erkannt haben, dass sie gerade im Stadtverkehr mit dem klimafreundlichen Zweirad oftmals schneller vorankommen als mit dem motorisierten Vierrad. Allerdings ist im Großstadtdschungel der Ritt auf dem Tretross nicht frei von Unfallgefahren, weshalb das Tragen eines Helms ratsam ist.
Doch noch immer scheuen viele Radler den Fahrradhelm, oftmals mit der Begründung, dieser verzause die Frisur, sehe unvorteilhaft aus oder sei so unhandlich, wenn man vom Rad gestiegen ist. Doch jetzt gibt es endgültig keine Ausrede mehr. Denn nun kommt aus Schweden „Hövding“, der unsichtbare Fahrradhelm. Die Lösung: man trägt ihn nicht auf dem Kopf – sondern im Kragen! Denn Hövding, zu deutsch Häuptling, ist ein Radler-Airbag.
Der in unterschiedlichen modischen Designs erhältliche Kragen enthält Sensoren. Diese registrieren die außergewöhnlichen Bewegungen des Radfahrers bei einem Unfall und lösen den Airbag aus, der sich in Sekundenbruchteilen mit Gas füllt und so wie eine Haube den Kopf und Nacken schützt. Ein kleiner Gasgenerator ist daher ebenfalls im Kragen versteckt.
Diese Weltneuheit präsentierte Terese Alstin, eine der beiden schwedischen Erfinderinnen, nun in der Fahrradmetropole Münster. Das CleanEnergy Project sprach dort mit ihr.
Terese, how did you get the idea of Hövding?
Well, it all started out as a master thesis in industrial design in 2005. And the reason why me and my friend Anna Haupt founded a company to create a cycle helmet: there was a law introduced in Sweden at that time making it obligatory to everyone up to the age of 15 to wear a cycle helmet while cycling. And that triggered a debate whether not the law should be extended to adults as well.
To be honest, we were quite scared of the fact that we might be forced by law to wear a helmet, because we don’t like the traditional ones very much. We think there are safety problems with them and many others as well. We thought, maybe this is the perfect opportunity to see if there could be developed a new kind of cycle helmet that would make more people want to protect themselves in traffic. So we started talking to cyclists about what they felt were the problems with the current range of cycle helmets. Many of them said ‘Well, I would like them to be more discret’. Or ‘I want them to go better with my different out-fits.
Maybe to have the possibility to change the look from one day to the next’. There was this one person who actually said ‘Well, I think it needs to be invisible for me to wear it’. And there we thought, okay, how do we solve that? Also many people said ‘It destroys my hair-do’. So we thought: how do we make a helmet that will not destroy the hair and that is very discret and invisible?
Maybe it doesn’t have to be on your head at all but is something that would pop out in the event of an accident.That got us thinking about the airbag-technology, which is sort of hidden all the time and then it pops up to protect you. And that is how the idea came about.
How many people use Hövding in Sweden, already? And do you get any feedback concerning the customer satisfaction?
It has been sold in Sweden for about a year. I think it’s about 2.000 people who are cycling around with it at the moment. And now we are lauching it here in Germany and other European countries as well. And so far it has been a couple of accidents actually being reported to us of people who have been in accidents and who immediately bought new collars after they had an accident with it. It shows us, that they were satisfied with the technology of Hövding. So I‘m really happy to see it out on the market and see it actually saving lifes. It’s really gratifying.
Constraints might be the price of 399 EUR. Do you think it will become cheaper by time?
Of course, we are hoping that in the future it can become cheaper. Already, we have lowered the price. When we started selling it costed 499 EUR. This February we could lower the price to 399 EUR due to higher volumes in production and other improvements. We were really happy about that.
But I definitely think when it comes to safety aspects, Hövding is a far superior product than any other cycle helmets available on the market, so it’s a product worth paying for. The shock-absorbance capacity is more than three times better in this product than any of the current regular helmets. And also, it protects a much larger area of your head. There are many benefits with this product, so I’m hoping that people think its worth 399 EUR.
Thank you for the interview, Terese.