You don’t need a bicycle helmet (if you have 2000 shekels for a head – airbag)

In Israel you are required by law to wear a helmet when cycling. I have always thought this was a dumb law because what happens if you’re five? or thirteen? Is a tricycle a bicycle?

The most stupid part of the law is that while it is illegal not to wear a helmet, there is no punishment if you break it. Police can stop you for a chat, no more.  The reality is that Israeli police never stop anyone for riding without a helmet, so the law wasted parliamentary time and inflated the law books. I don’t know why it requires a law.  Why can’t the Police or Ministry of Transport simply pass a regulation?

Incidentally I usually do wear a helmet when I cycle. The main problem with wearing helmets in Israel is that it is very hot and helmets make you hotter.

Well there is a solution. Its called a Hövding and its an airbag for cyclists. You wear what looks like a scarf and if you crash sensors detect the sudden movement and it inflates into a helmet.

The main catch, apart from the Swedish name (which means Chief in Ikean), is that it costs 400 Euros and has to be bought over the internet because there are no Israeli retailers.

If you have the cash then pick it up at this site. Please let me know what you think.

By the way. I am a great believer in the importance of bicycle lights at night. I would rather prevent an accident then rely on a helmet to save me after it happens.

About the Author
Jonathan Lowenstein is an Anglo-Israeli who has lived half his life in England and half in Israel, but has never spent longer then a decade continuously in either country, Both Tel Aviv and London are his native cities and he has almost always commuted by bicycle. In the 1990's, he helped found the Tel Aviv Bicycle Association, arguably Israel's most successful bicycle advocacy organization, now known as the Israel Bicycle Association.
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