Bike share programs are rapidly growing across the world. Cities in Europe, China, and Canada have long been participants of urban bike share programs, and an increasing number of cities in the US are coming onboard. New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, and Washington D.C. all have well-established programs, while places like Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Portland launched theirs in 2016. As the number of bikers continue to grow, their safety must be taken into consideration. Isis Shiffer took this into her own hands by creating the EcoHelmet, a collapsible helmet made of paper.
As a graduate of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York, Shiffer made the EcoHelmet from layers of recycled paper woven into a honeycomb-shaped structure. The innovative covering is designed to be light yet durable and keep shape to the cyclist’s head while it’s worn. It is creatively convenient and even waterproof, with a biodegradable coating that protects the helmet from the rain for up to three hours. The design has passed the European safety standards but still needs to be Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certified before it is officially listed on the US market.
Shiffer intends for the product to be sold at bike share stations and accessible to all riders. “It was important to me to keep the price as low as possible and the look as universally appealing as I could,” she explained. The targeted list price is £4 (about $5), and Shiffer is working on developing custom machinery to help produce mass quantities of the design.
The brilliant EcoHelmet has been named this year's winner of the James Dyson Award, which challenges young students to “design something that solves a problem.” James Dyson, the creator of the Dyson Award, was clearly impressed by Shiffer's creation, indicating that the EcoHelmet solves an “obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way.”
According to a 2014 study from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people who commute to work by bicycle has increased about 60% over the past decade. The demand for accessible, effective bicycle helmets will only continue to rise in the coming years, so be on the lookout for EcoHelmets at a bike share station in your city.
All images via EcoHelmet.