Bicycles

Paper Pulp Helmet aims to solve bike sharing safety conundrum

Paper Pulp Helmet aims to solv...
The Paper Pulp Helmet offers an affordable recyclable bicycle helmet for use with bike sharing schemes
The Paper Pulp Helmet offers an affordable recyclable bicycle helmet for use with bike sharing schemes
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The Paper Pulp Helmet offers an affordable recyclable bicycle helmet for use with bike sharing schemes
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The Paper Pulp Helmet offers an affordable recyclable bicycle helmet for use with bike sharing schemes
The Paper Pulp Helmet comes in a range of different sizes to suit all people
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The Paper Pulp Helmet comes in a range of different sizes to suit all people
The Paper Pulp Helmet includes large grooves which accommodate the straps and allow the wearer to stay cool
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The Paper Pulp Helmet includes large grooves which accommodate the straps and allow the wearer to stay cool
The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
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The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
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The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
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The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
The Paper Pulp Helmet includes large grooves which accommodate the straps and allow the wearer to stay cool
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The Paper Pulp Helmet includes large grooves which accommodate the straps and allow the wearer to stay cool
The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
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The Paper Pulp Helmet has been conceived for use with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme
The Paper Pulp Helmet is vacuum-formed into shape and is comprised mostly of newspapers discarded on the public transport network
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The Paper Pulp Helmet is vacuum-formed into shape and is comprised mostly of newspapers discarded on the public transport network
The Paper Pulp Helmet is vacuum-formed into shape and is comprised mostly of newspapers discarded on the public transport network
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The Paper Pulp Helmet is vacuum-formed into shape and is comprised mostly of newspapers discarded on the public transport network

Bike sharing schemes have become a familiar feature in many major cities around the world. They are designed to help free up increasingly clogged urban roads and ease congestion on public transport networks. The only problem is that bicycle helmets aren't offered as standard. So unless you want to bring your own, you're left with with little choice but to go without. The Paper Pulp Helmet offers an ingenious alternative.

The Paper Pulp Helmet has been designed to offer a choice to those hiring a bike but who don't carry a bicycle helmet around with them at all times. It's the brainchild of Tom Gottelier, Bobby Petersen, and Ed Thomas, all of whom are graduates of the Royal College Of Art in London.

The helmets are made from newspapers collected from around the public transport network in London, in other words left on buses and trains. The newspapers are mixed with water to create a pulp, to which an organic additive is then added to make the helmets water resistant for six hours, and a natural pigment added to differentiate the different sizes. The mixture is then vacuum-formed into shape, heated, and then left to dry out.

The Paper Pulp Helmet is vacuum-formed into shape and is comprised mostly of newspapers discarded on the public transport network
The Paper Pulp Helmet is vacuum-formed into shape and is comprised mostly of newspapers discarded on the public transport network

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. The Paper Pulp Helmet is intended for short periods of use and after it has served its purpose it can be reused, or recycled to be pulped and reshaped into a new helmet.

The designers say that Eeach helmet is so cheap to produce that they could be sold for £1 each (US$1.50) from vending machines or local stores.

While conceived for the London Bicycle Hire Scheme otherwise known as "Boris Bikes" (in mocking honor of the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson), the Paper Pulp Helmet could also be used in similar schemes around the world and may be of particular interest in places that have mandatory helmet regulations like Australia (in Melbourne helmets made from polystyrene and thermoplastic are available for $5 from vending machines and local shops, but this is a subsidized price).

Is it safe? Well, the designers claim the Paper Pulp Helmet "meets stringent European safety standards," and the ultimate point is that it's likely to be better than wearing no helmet, which is the (lack of) choice currently offered by bike sharing schemes.

The Paper Pulp Helmet includes large grooves which accommodate the straps and allow the wearer to stay cool
The Paper Pulp Helmet includes large grooves which accommodate the straps and allow the wearer to stay cool

This is currently just a concept, but as it seems to solve an inherent problem with bike sharing schemes it surely deserves to be considered. The video embedded below shows the life and times of a Paper Pulp Helmet from beginning to end.

Source: Paper Pulp Helmet via Dezeen

Paper Pulp Helmet

14 comments
Pin
Good idea but it could use a little help in the design department. The prototype looks a bit silly.
Paul van Dinther
Or, indeed, don't use helmets. It doesn't seen to eradicate the Dutch population.
DixonAgee
Oooooh. Stylish!
Slowburn
Bicycle helmets cost lives. They create the impression that bike riding is dangerous resulting in parents discouraging their children from riding bikes reducing the exercise that their children get leading to premature deaths costing more lifetime lost than than the helmets save.
Bahnstormer
And I thought I looked like a geek with a regular bike helmet.
StWils
SlowKlue must be a Tea Party Pinhead. While this design at best has an unfortunate appearance that will give life to the name "Melon Head" helmets are essential. Bike helmets have two functions, A: They visibly define the shape of a rider, and B: They protect the rider in most ordinary spills. Note that I listed visibility first. It is very more important that riders be perceived by surrounding traffic as a rider in that traffic. The second feature is that a helmet will do an excellent job of protecting a rider from head & neck injuries in most falls. Not wearing a helmet results in death or severe head & spinal injury in about 85% of falls. I have regularly used bikes as transportation for over forty years and I do not get on a bike without a helmet on. Riders who wear helmets know they have something to protect.
Slowburn
re; StWils It was an English doctor who did the study. All the helmet protect you from is falling over. Do you wear a helmet when you walk. Adding weight to the head increases neck injuries.
VoiceofReason
Hmmm....but then I don't walk at 20mph either. Along with cars and other vehicles around me. I can't imagine a bicycle helmet causing neck injuries. They weigh very little. Otherwise why are more motorcyclists out there with neck injuries. Those helmets weigh pounds more than a bicycle helmet.
Slowburn
re; VoiceofReason The helmet does not protect from those 20 miles per hour either. Motor cycle helmets cause more neck injuries than bicycle helmets but remember the straw that broke the camel's back not because it was heavy but because it added that tiny bit of extra strain.
Captain Danger
Bike helmets and the people that insist others use them are an indication of much of what is wrong with western society. The only possible justification for wearing a bike helmet is the slight performance increase from better aerodynamics which frankly is not worth looking like a retard for. RE StWils "A: They visibly define the shape of a rider ...Note that I listed visibility first" STWils , Do you have a flag mounted to your bike? Do you wear a high visibility reflective vest every time you ride? Have you mounted strobing LED's to your head while you ride? All of these measure are more effective than a helmet for increasing visibility. Also you state "Not wearing a helmet results in death or severe head & spinal injury in about 85% of falls" Assuming that every child that learns to ride a bike falls only once 85 percent of the population that learned to ride before 1985 should be traumatized by the carnage caused by bicycles. If that figure was anywhere near correct China would have been entirely depopulated during the cultural revolution.