The saying Necessity is the mother of invention can be said to apply to Hövding’s story. The concept of an airbag for cyclists was born in 2005 after Sweden passed a law requiring those under 15 to wear a bicycle helmet. This sparked a public debate on mandatory helmet use and whether the requirement should be extended to adult cyclists. Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, industrial design students in Lund at the time, began discussing this. Their brainstorming ultimately led to one pivotal question — regardless of whether helmets are required by law, would it be possible to design a bicycle helmet that everyone would want to wear? And if so, what would it look like? Perhaps the most stylish helmet was one you couldn’t even see.
For their thesis project, Haupt and Alstin developed a revolutionary idea – an airbag for cyclists. They set out to make a helmet that wasn’t a helmet but rather an airbag that is worn around the neck like a collar. This ground-breaking concept and innovative design earned the project immediate publicity.
In 2006, Hövding won Venture Cup, a competition that helps young entrepreneurs transform their visions into viable business plans. Hövding Sverige AB was founded the same year, and over the following seven years the concept progressed from an idea to an approved and certified product.
Today Hövding is rated the world’s safest means of head protection for cyclists. Creating a helmet that everyone would want to use had an unexpected but welcome result. According to scientific research, the unique airbag system provides up to 8x better protection than traditional bicycle helmets. No wonder Hövding made such an impact on the market.
More than 230 000 of our airbags for cyclists have been sold in over 15 countries. And since 2006, Hövding has grown from two people with a good idea to a listed company that manages everything from development and product production to marketing and sales. Now we have more than 40 employees with a wide range of skills and expertise, but that hasn’t slowed us down in the least. As technology advances, we continue to improve and renew our product. These efforts gave life to a new product generation hitting the market in autumn 2019. Hövding 3 is still the world’s safest head protection — and now it’s connected as well. This enables it to automatically alert loved ones in the event of an accident.
Cyclists around the world are beneficial to urban environments, public health and the climate. Our mission is to keep these everyday heroes safe, and so far, we’ve protected more than 5000 cyclists in traffic accidents over the years. We take great pride in this figure, but it’s not the only thing we’re proud of. In fact, most of what we’ve achieved was written off by others as impossible. It was impossible to make an airbag in the shape of a collar, it was impossible to decode the differences in the movement patterns between regular cycling and bicycle accidents, and it was impossible to obtain approval and certification for our specific type of airbag. But we proved them wrong.
Continuing to believe in our vision and proving time and time again that the impossible is possible has given us the unique expertise that ultimately landed us several global patents. But our journey has only just begun, as we’ll never stop moving forward. All our employees share a motto that is at the heart of everything we do — At Hövding, we thrive on the impossible.
The brain is truly amazing and worth protecting. Without it, we would be unable to move, think, feel or interact with the world. It’s home to our unique personality and it interprets everything we perceive in the world. The brain houses enormous capacity for new ways of thinking, and by protecting it in an innovative way, we empower people to unleash their full potential. As always, we believe in putting our clever heads together to make the impossible possible. Challenging and inspiring people is our way of helping create a brighter future.
This approach is exemplified by the Every Pedal Counts initiative, which aims to encourage cyclists around the world to join forces in helping make cycling as enjoyable and safe as possible. Given the benefits of cycling for both public health and the climate, the more people choose to cycle the better. Together we can create a healthier, cleaner and safer world. Start making a difference today by joining our community.