An innovative cardboard cycling helmet has recently received recognition by winning the 2016 James Dyson Award. The EcoHelmet, which folds down to a much smaller size than a standard helmet, is made entirely from recyclable cardboard. Its honeycomb pattern is designed to absorb shock from any direction and can provide the same level of protection to avoid a head injury as standard polystyrene cycling helmets.
Due to its clever design, the helmet can fold down to a small size, making it much more portable than a standard helmet. They fold so small that they could be used in vending machines at cycle hire stations throughout the world. This could vastly improve cycling safety as currently, around 90% of people who use a cycle hire do not have direct, easy access to a helmet, so do not bother to wear one.
One thing that many cyclists may be concerned about though is the weather. But the designer, Isis Shiffer had already considered this and given the helmet a biodegradable coating to make it water resistant for up to three hours.
Isis Schiffer from Brooklyn commented on the design, “I imagined this as a helmet specifically for bike sharing programs. If it’s raining in the morning and then nice in the afternoon, and you decide to cycle home as a result, you may not have a helmet with you – and it’s not advisable to ride without one. My original idea was to make a helmet that could fold up really small. That then evolved into a helmet that not only could fold up really small, but would also be completely recyclable and low-cost.”
There is substantial research on the benefits of cycling with a helmet to protect yourself from a head injury should you be involved in an accident. Headway (the brain injury charity) has long campaigned to raise awareness about the importance of wearing a helmet to protect your head, whether that’s when cycling, or partaking in other activities that have the risks of you sustaining a head injury such as skiing and snowboarding.
This innovative helmet could be the next step in ensuring that everyone has access to this vital equipment, no matter where they are and reduce the number of people affected by life-changing head injuries.