From Hovding (translated here) comes the Chieftain, an airbag-like bicycle helmet that’s worn as a collar rather than above on your head.

Designed to enclose the head in an accident, the “helmet” is a durable nylon airbag that’s inflated with a helium gas generator in 0.1 seconds. The covers are soft and can be removed and washed, and a variety of prints and colors are or will be available to match your outfit. Inside it all are accelerometers and gyrometers that sense an impact and inflate before your head hits anything.

Another video and more details after the break…

The airbag should surround enough of your head to protect you while leaving enough opening in the front to maintain a field of vision and let you breathe…although it likely won’t do much for the total faceplant in the video above.

Once inflated, it remains full for several seconds to handle multiple impacts, then slowly deflates, much like an automotive airbag. It weighs about 670g without the shell.

Lest you worry about accidentally inflating it while rocking out on the walk into the office, there’s an on/off switch at the front by the zipper used to secure it around your neck. There are small LED lights to show battery charge and indicate whether it’s on or off, and you can charge it with a mini-USB cable.

Lastly, if you’re in an accident, a small internal black box records the motion for the 10 seconds prior to the trauma, and if you return your Chieftain to Hovding after the accident so they can review, they’ll give you a discount on a second one.

CE safety certification is pending. Pre-0rder now for 2,498kr (Swedish Krona, about $375) or wait until they’re fully shipping and get it for 2,998kr (about $450).


  1. Why the collision with the bike hit from behind by the car? It’s one of the rarest types of motor vehicle-bicycle collision.

  2. Interesting idea BUT: 1) No face coverage as shown in the first video 2) Size is huge. If riders wont wear a lightwieight helmet, why would they wear a giant heavy and expensive collar? If they are willing to wear a helmet then this uncomfortable thing will really not be worth the price and discomfort.

  3. I’m not sure how bulky or uncomfortable the collar is, but I see that it actually protects you chin/jaw.
    I was knocked unconscious coming off my bike when the side of my jaw hit the ground -and ended up in the hospital for five weeks with third degree burns from lying on the pavement.

    I suspect a helmet wouldn’t have helped at all and this would.

  4. Just like in the excellent cyber punk book snow crash, that the skaters where to hitch rides latched on to cats on the highways acting as curriers. Very cool.

  5. The speed of the bike in the video is 16 km\h, what is max. speed where the air bag is efficient,
    so it won’t open up after the person will hit the ground?

  6. I wanna see a person put this “accessory” on backwards by mistake. It would be hilarious if inflated during riding by accident. “Can’t see shit”

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