I fredags dök bilden på den använda Hövding-hjälmen (som vi för övrigt testat tidigare: Cyklistbloggen testar Hövding) upp i flödet. Jeroens före detta kollega Hosuk hade blivit påkörd och gått i backen, men det hela hade avlöpt väl, kanske tack vare Hövding-airbaghjälmen. Vi undrade ifall han ville skriva något om vad som hände. Här är hans berättelse (på hans förstaspråk engelska).
»So I find myself lying on my back on asphalt. I recall opening my eyes, and there is a shimmer of white light. There is a noise In my ears, the river of sound that you hear from your car radio when you drive into a tunnel. My first thought is, “shit I smashed my iPhone”. That’s until I realise the noise is not in my earplugs and it’s actually air seeping out from the shiny white airbag that has inflated around my head. Perhaps it’s the noise, or the memory lapse – I feel like an astronaut crash landing on a distant planet. Ground Control? It’s Major Tom. The circuit is definitively dead, and I think I’m in central Stockholm.
I’ve been using the Hövding airbag helmet for the past three months – the inflatable helmet that went viral on social media with a clip that mocked art house aesthetics. I admit it took some time to get used to carrying an airbag around your neck – to begin, it’s bulkier on me than on the Swedish hipster amazons that adorn Hövding’s web site. The experience is like wearing an ungainly cross-breed between New York Police riot gear and a slick fashion accessory from Tokyo. A pedestrian even once asked “Is that Alexander Wang?” – also, the explosive charge used to open up the airbag is still a no-no to European air safety regulations, which means the helmet can’t (officially) follow me and my Alfine geared steed on my travels.
As I lay there on the ground, I’m encircled by Friday night crowd in Stockholm, dressed to the nine in cashmere and designer jeans. I resist the temptation to proclaim “Earthlings, I come in peace”. I see that all the witnesses are clearly in awe – if not chocked outright – by the detonation, rather thean the accident. I could even hear a couple of are them whispering: “…so it works.” It actually takes a while until one of the onlookers goes: “… er, perhaps we should help him up”.
As it turns out, I had a light collision with a car coming up from behind me. The good news is that we were both doing less than 15 km/h. The bad news is that my wheels got pushed into the tram tracks which catapulted me off the bike. As the gyro-sensors in the Hövding went to work and detonated the airbag before impact, so did also a hundred thousand years of human evolution: By sheer instinct, I cushioned the fall with my hands and elbows, keeping my head straight up.
The fact is that I (with the driver behind me, and the two dozen witnesses around us) were probably more chocked by the bang. I still can’t remember the 2 seconds between losing control of the bike and waking up on the moons of Mars. Apparently, there’s a flight recorder inside the helmet that will tell the engineers at Hövding whether I flew a mere two metres or lightyears, as if there were any doubts.
The Hövding sets you back a couple of hundred Euros – quite relatively pricy by any measure, considering the airbags cannot be folded back, and you need to buy another one once it inflates. Apparently – this being progressive Sweden – your home insurance will cover a little less than half of the purchase of new one. And I think I will.
Now, the thing is that on this particular occasion, I think I would have been okay even without a helmet. But there’s no real way of knowing. Nor is there a way for the helmet to distinguish whether its wearer is diving head first into a ten ton truck and a certain death – or (like me) just falling of the bike, hands and arms first. But that’s perhaps the whole point about safety margins – there’s no real way of knowing.«