Paper helmets: a solution to bike share safety concerns?

Recyclable and readily available, Paper Pulp Helmets could be sold near docking stations for about $1.50 a piece.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

One major complaint against bike shares, such as New York’s Citi Bike program, is that it’s just not safe to flood the city with bicyclists without requiring the use of helmets.

Could inexpensive, readily available headgear made of recycled newspaper be the solution?

A group of artists came up with the concept for the Paper Pulp Helmet to go along with the London Bicycle Hire Scheme. It could be sold in vending machines or stores near the docking stations for just £1 (around $1.50).

The designers, graduates of the Royal College of Art in London, took these simple steps:

  1. Gather newspapers left behind on public transportation and turn them into pulp by blending with water.
  2. Mix in some pigment (different colors are used to correspond to various sizes) and an organic additive to make it water resistant for up to six hours in the rain.
  3. Mold into bowl-shaped helmet by vacuum forming (similar to how coffee cup trays are made). Heat, dry.
  4. Add straps that fit in the grooves, crisscrossing the top of the helmet. Clip these place under the chin.

After they’ve been worn, they can be recycled and made back into pulp for a new helmet. Here’s a cool video of the process:

Some initial drop tests indicated they’re in fact safe to use, Metro reports, and the headgear meets stringent European safety standards.

The helmets were unveiled at the Royal College of Art’s graduation show in London.

[Paper Pulp Helmet via Popular Science]

Images/video: Paper Pulp Helmet

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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