An Airbag Bike Helmet Could Save Your Life | HowStuffWorks NOW

An Airbag Bike Helmet Could Save Your Life | HowStuffWorks NOW

A group of researchers at Stanford have put
bike helmet air bags to the test. How do they hold up? First, in case you aren’t aware, there are
bike helmet air bags. Typically, they’re packed inside a pouch
that you wear around your neck. The pouch has sensors on it to detect changes
in orientation and acceleration that indicate a crash. At that point, a triggering mechanism inflates
the bag, which swoops up over the back of your head to protect you. An early bike helmet air bag called Hovding
received support from a Swedish insurance company named Folksam, which said according
to their studies the airbag was by far more effective than traditional bike helmets at
preventing traumatic brain injuries. Stanford’s results support this conclusion. Researchers suspended mannequin heads containing
sensory equipment upside down and then dropped them onto a hard surface. Some mannequins were wearing deployed airbag
helmets while others wore traditional bike helmets. According to researcher David Camarillo, the
airbag version had “the potential to reduce the acceleration of impact by a factor of
five.” Further, the study says that airbag helmets
can achieve up to an 8-fold reduction in the risk of concussion compared to standard helmets. Airbags are softer and larger than normal
bike helmets and can absorb energy more effectively, distributing the impact. In a Ted Talk in April, 2016, Camarillo said
that more kids got a concussion from cycling accidents than through any other sports activity. According to the CDC, this is true — though
you have to keep in mind that more kids ride bicycles than play contact sports. It doesn’t necessarily mean that cycling
is more dangerous than full-contact football. But Camarillo’s point was that kids do sometimes
receive concussions in bike accidents and that, more importantly, traditional bike helmets
don’t do a good job at preventing concussions. Camarillo said that the purpose of bike helmets
is to prevent skull fractures, which isn’t the same thing as a concussion. A concussion occurs when an accelerative force
makes the brain stretch, twist or bump into the inside of the skull. It’s an internal injury that results in
chemical changes in the brain and it can have serious effects. So a traditional helmet could protect your
skull from breaking while failing to prevent a concussion. The way we test bike helmets in the US is
within the context of skull fractures. If we take concussions into consideration,
airbags suddenly look much more attractive. But they’re tricky to test — not only do
you need to prove they are better at preventing cyclists from suffering concussions, but also
that the triggering mechanism will deploy the airbag quickly, safely and under the right
circumstances. It’s still a long road ahead before we see
bike helmet airbags as a legal alternative to traditional helmets. And that wraps up this episode. Remember to subscribe to the HowStuffWorks
Now podcast and visit our site, every day to learn about the most interesting
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21 thoughts on “An Airbag Bike Helmet Could Save Your Life | HowStuffWorks NOW

  1. That's stupid. It will either choke you to death or break your neck. Have you ever been hit by an airbag? It will break your arm.

  2. ill use a helmet thanks that shit looks dumb af lol what was not talk about was cost ya i may buy 3 or 4 helmets a year but i bet it alot cheaper then buying 1 airbag helmet and a 1 time fall

  3. I dont need much convincing that an airbag decreases impact. I only wish when I "invented" this a few minutes ago in my head, that my Google search would have come up empty. 🙄 back to the drawing board.

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