$1.50 Paper Bicycle Helmet Makes Bike Sharing Easier and Safer (w/ video)


Paper Bicycle Helmet

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!


Source | Photos: Gizmag.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • john jacob jingle himer schmit

    If only they could say……I am we tall did…….really really fast.

    • Jo Borras

      I’m pretty sure you’re we tall did, but I’m not convinced you can say anything “really fast”.

      (if you still think that’s funny, then you’re probably slow)

  • Moses.lonn

    Or like we used to say in the motorcycle world, “Got a $10.00 head? Wear a $10.00 helmet…” As if bicycle helmets don’t look dorky enough.

  • Hunter @ Bike Lane Living

    I share your persperctive Jo. These helmets are winners on several levels, light-weight, safe, 100% recyclable, and who cares what it looks like…you can’t even see it when it’s on your head.

    The old argument of “$10 head – $10 dollar helmet” is a throwback to old-school fear-based marketing and bears no relation to real-life safety performance. People who sell helmets will give you this line all the time and it’s very tedious.

    • Jo Borras

      Well said. You know you’re dealing with a totally-closed mind that’s beyond reason/critical thinking when you start getting clichéd “truisms” tossed at you. I don’t even try to reach those guys anymore.

  • • I’m not generally regarded as a fashion-forward person, but I think these are just too ugly. This folding/collapsible Closca helmet looks more like something I want: http://kck.st/19ccWsT (I have no financial interest in this aside from wanting it to succeed so I can buy one.)

    I am a helmet-wearing bicyclist, but I have to admit I’m weary of this issue popping up every time a bike share launches. Cars cause far more head injuries, and motoring helmets exist, but you never hear them mentioned when somebody starts up a car “share” or ride “share” (even as the latter hinges on drivers with dodgy credentials who are dispatched via a phone app that they consult while on the road).

    • Jo Borras

      The CLOSCA helmet article will be published tomorrow (already in the queue). As for your – complaint? Are you complaining that more people in cars don’t wear helmets? I can’t even wrap my head around it.