Helite has been manufacturing jackets and vests featuring airbag protection for a number of years. Until now, however, these have been aimed at motorcyclists and horse riders. Their latest Vest, the B’Safe, has been designed for cyclists. This looks able to provide an unprecedented level of protection, perhaps better than down-hill body armor. Critically, it does this in an unobtrusive vest.
The system combines a motion sensor in the vest with a shock sensor on the bike to detect a crash within 200 ms. A CO2 canister is then used to inflate the vest within 80 ms. The sensor in the vest and on the bike communicate wirelessly.
The existing Moto products from Helite inflate a collar around the Neck braces against a full-face helmet to fully support the neck. The B’Safe is also claimed to protect the neck although it seems unlikely that this can be so effective with a regular cycle helmet. The Moto products are also mechanical, to avoid unexpected airbag activation and changing batteries. The wireless activation is therefore untested in the real world.
The vest is manufactured from water-resistant fabric with retroreflective detailing. It is available in a hi-viz and a black version.