New Device Offers Alternative To HelmetBy Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Despite the fact that 50,000 bike riders were hurt last year – most of them with head injuries – many still refuse to wear a helmet.

Why? Let’s face it. They don’t look cool.

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As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports, only about one third of bike riders regularly wear a helmet, even though the majority of cyclist fatalities involve head injures that might have been prevented with the protective head gear.

Two women from Sweden, however, think they may have the solution to the helmet drawbacks: An airbag for your head.

The device hides in a collar that the biker wears, which contains helium to inflate the airbag and motion sensors that tell the bag when to inflate.

The sensors constantly monitor movement and deploy the bag when you’re in danger. The bag can be charged with a USB hook-up.

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The collar is simply switched on when its zipped shut around your neck.

The head airbag began as a thesis project, followed by six years of research. The designers say they’re planning to make the collars in a variety of fashion styles, including fake fur for the cold and light, breathable ones for the summer.

It’s not clear whether the airbag will inflate under all the varied ways a cyclist can have an accident and be thrown into the ground or a solid object. Even so, the inventors have started a company to make and market the collar. The cost is yet to be determined.

Right now, 22 states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, have helmet laws.

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Dr. Max Gomez