Posts Tagged: Alstin



World’s First ‘Invisible’ Bike Helmet: The Hövding

Yeah, but can I get it in paisley?

Do bicycle helmet laws help protect cyclists?

On the one hand, yes, helmets reduce serious injuries to cyclists so presumably a law that mandates helmet usage will reduce injuries.

On the other hand, however, are the people who make the not illogical point that people don’t like helmets. Helmets mess up a cyclist’s hair, they make one sweat more and they just generally look stupid. These people argue that because of these reasons, helmet laws actually reduce cycling usage, thereby defeating the point of the legislation.

This counter point (and others) has generated enough attention that even a cycle helmet advocacy site has taken the time to assemble much of the research against helmet laws.

Enter into this never-ending debate, the Hövding – the world’s first ‘invisible’ bike helmet.

The Hövding is the brainchild of Swedish (of course, Sweden) industrial designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin who recognized that “Swedish cyclists were extremely reluctant to wear helmets and were critical of the possibility they might be made mandatory for adult cyclists.”

'Invisible' might be a touch of an overstatement.

More airbag for your head than “invisible” helmet, it’s an ingenious – but expensive contraption. Starting at $600, the Hövding is out of reach for all but the most fashion-conscious amongst us. There is also some question as to the effectiveness of the device and whether or not it would be compliant with strict North American helmet laws.

Whether the Hövding catches on or not (and while I hope it does, I suspect the price point will prevent it from doing so) at least we have people like Haupt and Alstin who understand the human dimension of the products they’re designing. Too often when we design products, laws, buildings or spaces we forget that the end user is almost always a person.

We may not like to admit it (especially to ourselves), but people are highly irrational and illogical. Even if a bicycle helmet may save our life, there are many of us out there who simply won’t wear one if it ruins our perfect coif. It ain’t rational, but it’s reality.

Haupt and Alstin recognized that and designed around it.

We in the planning and policy-making professions should take a lesson.

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