A paper cycling helmet has been making headlines for its simplicity and ingenuity. The device is called the Ecohelmet. It can fold out from a neat stack of paper into a half sphere that encircles the wearer’s head. Just looking at it, you might not expect it to provide the necessary protection, but crash tests continually show that the paper helmet can save your life.
A thin film of chemical coding protects the paper from absorbing water or other elements. In a bicycle accident, the paper cushions the impact just like traditional helmets. However, unlike traditional helmets, the Ecohelmet is recyclable and small enough to fold into a handbag.
It was invented by Isis Shiffer, CEO and founder of Spitfire Industry. She has recently received the prestigious James Dyson Design Award for her innovation.
What’s the Point of a Paper Cycling Helmet?
The goal for the invention was to provide affordable and convenient helmets to city dwellers looking to use bike share programs. As more cities are providing borrowable bikes as a public form of transportation, riders are frequently going without helmets. These cheap but effective foldable helmets would be easy to sell at bike sharing stations. This could prevent thousands of people from riding without helmets and potentially save lives.
The convenience of a portable helmet might also encourage other riders to wear helmets more frequently. For example, commuters could fold up their helmet and tuck it into a briefcase during work. This might encourage someone to carry a helmet with them, even if they aren’t the type who would lug around a tradition helmet.
What do you think of this new device? Would you wear a paper helmet on your rides?