Florida is one of the most dangerous places for bicyclists. A 2019 report had Cape Coral, FL ranked No.1 with 1,333 annual bike fatalities per 100,000 commuters while Pompano Beach was also in the top 5.  While Florida requires that cars remain at least 3 feet away from bicyclists, the number of bikers hit by cars shows that trusting drivers to follow the law is not enough.

A different type of bike helmet

In 2019, the Swedish brand Hövding released a collar-like device that has an airbag inside that activates in the event of a crash. The manufacturer claims that it is the world’s safest bicycle helmet and inflates in .1 seconds and forms around the head and neck like a protective hood.  The collar can detect a cyclist’s movement 200 times a second and inflate a well-padded hood, protecting a cyclist’s neck and head, will inflate during a fall before the rider hits the ground.

Although the technology is exciting allowing for analysis so bicyclists can see where more accidents are occurring and allowing them to contact others in case of an emergency, there appear to be some drawbacks as well.  The helmet is electrical and only holds a charge for 12 hours so owners would need to makes sure it is charged.  I also can envision accidents like a bicyclist running into a stopped car or a tree where the rider may hit their head without a fall occurring and therefore no helmet inflating.   It also would likely not satisfy Florida’s law that requires riders under 16 years old to wear a helmet. However, Hövding’s collar airbag/helmet, which currently costs about $310 in the United States, might be the future of bike helmets.

Safer streets

Although there is evidence that helmets may help in some accidents, the change that is really needed are safer streets and reducing driver distraction.  Recent research has shown that while the United States has the highest percentage of bikers wearing helmets at nearly 60%, it is also has the deadliest rate for cyclists per distance traveled.

While bikers should take care to protect themselves by wearing a helmet and bright clothing to be noticed, ultimately this may not be enough to guard the rider from a careless and distracted car driver.  If you or someone you car about is injured while on a bike, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer immediately to make sure to protect your rights and get fair compensation for injuries.