Published on July 5th, 2013 | by Jo Borras7
$1.50 Paper Bicycle Helmet Makes Bike Sharing Easier and Safer (w/ video)
Bicycle commuting and municipal bike sharing is taking off around the world, with major cities embracing the bike-sharing model as both a revenue stream and a supplement to their growing public transit needs. Despite the general acceptance of bike sharing as a concept, however, some people still find it inconvenient to carry a bicycle helmet around with them “on the chance that” they’ll end up renting a bike that day. Boston’s HelmetHub has proposed a plan to rent helmets, but the idea of renting someone else’s hat seems decidedly icky to me – even if HelmetHub promises that all rented helmets will be sent to the company’s headquarters to be cleaned and sanitized in between rentals.
Enter: the Paper Pulp Helmet.
The helmets are made from discarded newspapers that are mixed with water to create a pulp, to which an organic additive is added to make the helmets water resistant for up to six hours. The mixture is then vacuum-formed into shape. The result is a bike helmet with deep grooves that allow both for a strap to be attached to secure it to a person’s head, and to allow air to flow around the head to prevent it overheating. It looks like this:
Bike Sharing Gets Safer
The Paper Pulp Helmet’s designers claim the design “meets stringent European safety standards”, and that they’ll be able to sell the 100% recycled (and recyclable!) helmets for about $1.50, retail – making them cheaper than the Boston solution and quite a bit safer than riding without a helmet – the option that many, unfortunately, seem to choose when renting a bike.
Currently the Paper Pulp Helmet is just a concept, but it seems to solve an inherent problem with the bike sharing model – and addresses some underlying problems of legal liability in the event someone gets injured and decides to “go after” a participating city. You can check out the Paper Pulp Helmet in all its “How it’s Made” glory in the video, below. Enjoy!