Just last year while visiting Thule in Sweden ahead of Eurobike, I finally saw it. Bicycle riders wearing the Hövding airbag ‘helmet’ in the wild. To be honest, I might have seen it in my travels sooner, but the point of the Hövding is that it’s discreet until it’s needed. That is, the airbag was contained in a collar that you wore around your neck – when a pre-crash was detected, the airbag would inflate around the user’s head to protect them.
At this point, Hövding has been around almost as long as Bikerumor with our first coverage dating back to 2012/13. Unfortunately for Hövding and their fans, that all seems to have come to an end last month. First reported by Bloomberg, the Swedish Consumer Agency first imposed a temporary sales freeze on November 1, 2023, due to concerns that the airbag wouldn’t properly inflate. That temporary sales freeze turned into a permanent sales freeze and recall on December 15, 2023.
Hövding appealed the decision and won in Administrative Court, which overturned the recall and sales freeze. However, it seems like by that point the damage had been done – at least in the eyes of the board of Hövding Sverige AB. Feeling that the safety reputation of the system was damaged beyond repair, the board decided to file bankruptcy in late December 2023.
As the company works its way through the bankruptcy proceedings, you can continue to use your Hövding though it seems to be at your own risk.
It’s sad to see an innovator like Hövding fade away, but hopefully, they have laid the groundwork for future innovations in the airbag space – like those that we’ve seen from EVOC, and others.