New Backpack Deploys Airbags to Protect Bicycle Riders in Accidents

Electronic sensors detect fall from bike and inflate football-style shoulder pads for upper-torso protection

Bike Backpack Airbag
The rechargeable and reusable system is controlled by a sensor that analyzes the location of the rider and backpack 1,100 times per second. If it detects a fall, an electric igniter automatically deploys the airbags before the wearer makes impact. Courtesy of EVOC Sports

A new cycling backpack with airbags features built-in sensors that detect sudden falling movements and activate protective measures before a crash.

Called the Commute Air Pro 18, the ordinary-looking backpack deploys into football-style inflatable shoulder pads in 0.02 seconds, according to manufacturer Evoc Sports. When worn with a helmet, the airbag “reduces the impact forces and braking acceleration on the cyclist by up to 80 percent,” reports Andrew Liszewski of Gizmodo.

The rechargeable and reusable system is controlled by a sensor that analyzes the location of the rider and backpack 1,100 times per second. If it detects a fall, an electric igniter automatically deploys the airbags before the wearer makes impact, reports Ronan McLaughlin of CyclingTips.

Made from recyclable materials, the backpack is designed to protect a cyclist’s upper body, including neck, shoulders, collarbone and chest. It also features a built-in back protector that provides additional support to the spine in the event of an accident, writes Nolan Beilstein of Manufacturing Business Technology.

The Commute Air Pro 18 sensor is activated by connecting an electronic magnetic buckle around the waist. Once unsnapped, the rider is safe to bend over and lock up his bicycle without fear of accidental deployment, reports Cristina Mircea for AutoEvolution.

If the airbags do activate, they can be refolded and replaced in the backpack to be reused, although the CO2 cartridge will need to be replaced.

In addition to being a safety system, the backpack is in fact a backpack. There is enough space inside—along with zippered compartments—to carry a laptop, phone, glasses and more. There is also an elastic side pocket for water bottles.

Evoc Sports of Germany introduced the Commute Air Pro 18 at the IAA Mobility trade show in Munich. It is expected to go on sale next year for a €900 Euros, or about $1,062—not cheap, but perhaps a small price to pay to avoid serious injury.