$1.50 Paper Bike Helmet Concept Makes Bike Share Programs Safer

recycled paper pulp helmet for bike share and rental schemes

With Bike share and rental programs taking off across the US, safety has become a huge concern for travelers looking to optimize city time via a bicycle. But lugging around a helmet can be a bit cumbersome and renting one can often be downright nasty. Enter the Paper Pulp Helmet. A 100% recycled and recyclable, simple, inexpensive option for riders looking to stay safe when having their personal helmet is not an option.

The Paper Pulp Helmet’s designers claim it “meets stringent European safety standards”, and that they’ll be able to sell the packing material’esque helmets for about $1.50 retail – making them cheap and much safer than riding without a helmet – the option that many, unfortunately, seem to choose when renting a bike.

Currently the Paper Pulp Helmet is still in its infancy stages, but the concept is a great solution to an inherent problem liability issue with the bike share programs worldwide. You can check out more pics and how the the Paper Pulp Helmet is made in the video below…

recycled paper pulp helmet for bike share and rental schemes

recycled paper pulp helmet for bike share and rental schemes


ACE - 07/08/13 - 5:33pm

Wild idea, just a couple of questions <how does it handle the rain and does it deteriorate if someone uses it several times? These two things would be my greatest concerns

New England - 07/08/13 - 5:41pm

did you really ask about its longevity its a buck and a half… my greatest concern would be the protection it truly offers…

Dr. Monkeypants - 07/08/13 - 5:50pm

C’mon New England! If they can’t make it as durable as something that costs 100x as much it’s worthless to me.

Everett - 07/08/13 - 5:52pm

Here comes the helmet war debate and I want in.

Staying safe on your city bike first and foremost is about rider awareness and not crashing in the first place. You are not automatically ‘unsafe’ if you ride in the city (at relatively slow speeds) without a helmet.

My rule is tight clothes, or clicky shoes + speed = helmet.
City bike, street clothes – speed = no helmet See also Netherlands and Copenhagen.

So next time, just write, “here’s somebody making egg cartons for your head”, not “unfortuately people aren’t safe rididng bike share sans casque”

Ham-planet - 07/08/13 - 5:57pm

If you feel the need to wear a helmet on a bike share bike, you’re doing something wrong.

Topmounter - 07/08/13 - 6:50pm

Need or not, it is a perception issue for the do-gooders.

Annie - 07/08/13 - 7:04pm

Looks like it will at least keep the blood off the street.

jonny - 07/08/13 - 7:24pm

You may be doing everything correctly but if a driver or fellow commuter isn’t it can still present the need for a helmet. Personally, I don’t see the reason to ever not wear a helmet.. especially when they’re a buck and a half and easy to get/discard.

paul - 07/08/13 - 7:32pm

what about if it rains, it’ll fall apart, it’s paper

RickyBob - 07/08/13 - 7:39pm

What about the possibility of someone you know seeing you in this hideous thing?

ummmm - 07/08/13 - 7:59pm

Stupid! Don’t be as such and just wear a real helmet.

Annie - 07/08/13 - 8:16pm

All helmets sold in the US must pass CPSC standards. These will have to be given away.

David - 07/08/13 - 8:19pm

My brain isn’t worth protecting with a real helmet, I’ll just wear this piece of paper.

SmooveP - 07/08/13 - 8:28pm

I want mine made from shredded money, thanks.

ccolagio - 07/08/13 - 9:13pm

options for those who do not feel safe on bicycles:

1. do not ride a bicycle
2. buy a helmet that passes a safety standard and equip your bike with mirrors

this is just a silly fearmongering ploy to me.

Watchtower - 07/08/13 - 9:25pm

This isn’t an ‘Onion’ spoof?

GUz - 07/08/13 - 9:33pm

Funniest Sh!t I saw all day!!!

Chad - 07/08/13 - 9:44pm

The only reason the ride share programs would be safer with this helmet is because there would be fewer people biking as a result of that embarrassing thing on their head.

Tom - 07/08/13 - 10:16pm

Works well for chicken eggs (most of the time)!

Ham-planet - 07/08/13 - 10:30pm

Bicycle helmets have not been demonstrated to be effective in crashes involving motor vehicles.

Pmurf - 07/08/13 - 11:16pm

I like it. At $1.50 and recyclable, I say it’s a triumph of responsible design. And if the water-doubters bothered to go to their website and read more about it they’d have seen that it can survive rain for 6 hours. it is hideous, but then again, so is the Air Attack.

Psi Squared - 07/08/13 - 11:44pm

Wow. There’s a lot of helmet hate here. For the record, you’re intellect is failing if you think that anyone believes that helmets reduce the chances of being in an accident. It’s also possible that you’re just stirring the pot when you say that. I imagine that few here are actually qualified to determine in what circumstances enough energy will be developed to incur a head injury. For the record, a fall from seat height is enough.

It’s terribly interesting that an article about a helmet must be about fear mongering. Obviously there’s no bias whatsoever in such a claim, right?

Now without all the pointless distractions regarding whether someone dislikes helmets, wears helmets, or whatever out of the way, there are things about this paper helmet that do generate reasonable questions:

1. Helmet fit affects how well helmet works, so how do the makers of this helmet address that?
2. How will this helmet handle secondary or tertiary impacts? That’s a significant concern.
3. The helmet’s behavior in the wet is a valid concern. No one wants their helmet going all pear shaped right before an accident because the helmet got wet.

Only testing will answer those questions. Certainly if the helmet can’t pass the testing, it’s not worth $1.50.

Psi Squared - 07/08/13 - 11:51pm

“your” not “you’re”

Brian - 07/09/13 - 12:13am

Most people who don’t wear helmets don’t have anything worth protecting!

fredrick - 07/09/13 - 12:51am

as soon as i saw the picture i assumed this was just another kickstarter project posted on here

Topmounter - 07/09/13 - 1:11am

Make mine red!


Ham-planet - 07/09/13 - 1:19am

Are you wearing a helmet now?

Jason - 07/09/13 - 1:40am

Where is Darwin when you need him?

NASH - 07/09/13 - 4:52am

Is it Aero??

JH - 07/09/13 - 8:09am

I like it.
When you’re finished wearing it, you can hang it upside down and use it for petunias.

This is the New Black - 07/09/13 - 8:39am

I think that this whole “it’s cheap, now you don’t have any reasons not to wear it” thing is insulting…
..to my decision making ability, not to my wallet.

off-roadie - 07/09/13 - 9:14am

Actually, its longevity is a good question. If we are going to try to keep the masses safe from themselves, which is what this is all about, then you have to consider that some doofus is going to wear this thing over and over.

I don’t like the idea of associating bikes (which are clean and efficient) with something that is intended to be disposable. I know they are recyclable, but plenty of them will still end up as landfill.

Motorcyclists say - 07/09/13 - 10:17am

If you have a $1.50 head

wear a $1.50 helmet

James S - 07/09/13 - 1:02pm

Actually, it turns out that expensive motorcycle helmets are less effective for most real world crashes because they are designed to absorb high speed impacts and thus don’t deform and crush as easily at low speeds. What that means is that at lower speeds the expensive helmet imparts more force to your head than a cheaper helmet does.

Rustydog - 07/09/13 - 1:13pm

Its some kind of legal issue maybe? Meaning you supply a bike you need to offer a lid of some sort. It obviously isn’t going to save anyone from lawn darting, but the typical side spill it no doubt is better than nothing. All I know is that my helmet has actually saved me a couple times. It cracked and my melon didn’t.

Nimby - 07/09/13 - 2:29pm

Bit late for April Fool’s isn’t it??

Padrote - 07/09/13 - 3:03pm

anyone know where I can get a $500,000 helmet?

redbarn - 07/09/13 - 3:20pm

Finding it very hard to believe that is passing the CE EN1078 standard (which is pretty easy to pass for helmet standards).

Super cool idea, but I think it’s going to take more corrugations and perhaps a recycled PET shell to really be useful in a bike share environment. Just my 2c.

And for the record, riding in a city on a strange bike is PRECISELY where you want a helmet most.

nathan - 07/09/13 - 3:53pm

Will never be sold in the United States. CPSC requires submerging the helmet in water before testing…

nouseforaname - 07/09/13 - 4:52pm

@Everett: does the pavement get softer when you’re riding a city bike and going nice and slow?
not that i believe this egg carton will actually do anything except make your first responders laugh, while you slowly bleed out, in the event of a crash

Tete - 07/09/13 - 5:47pm


I’ll sell you my $1,000,000 one…

I just upgraded.

EricNM - 07/09/13 - 6:33pm

@ JH:

Best comment among the many good ones! Kudos and +1

(PS: I almost couldn’t wait for the BR page to load once I saw the title and the picture. I too though either The Onion or Kickstarter…awesome!)

crippled mule - 07/09/13 - 7:11pm

@ham-planet have you ever been hit by a car? some guy decided to check out his phone and hit me going 50mph and my body slammed into his truck, and then snapped my cleats when i was thrown 20ft. the impact from my head hitting the truck was enough for my teeth to chip…every doctor i have seen over the past few months have said that the helmet saved me from either being a drooling mess or buried 6ft deep. i dont need tests to prove/disprove the safety of a helmet.
can anyone explain why they dont wear one? that wasn’t supposed to be a rhetorical or facetious question.
Working at a shop and seeing what a helmet has done vs not wearing
one leads me to believe there is never a reason to ride a bike without one.

Mike - 07/09/13 - 10:26pm

Crippled mule, doctors always tell you that the helmet saved your life. It makes you feel proactive about something that you had no control over. Aids the recovery.

I collided head first with a high-sided vehicle and was left concussed. Don’t remember much of the minutes on each side of the incident.

I’m still here and just fine, and you know what? If I’d been wearing a helmet I can bet you a million bucks people would be saying, “the helmet saved your life”.

g - 07/10/13 - 12:52am

Your kidding right? I guess it would keep the brain matter in one general spot upon inpact. Safety. Very inconvenyient.

jonny - 07/10/13 - 4:57pm

@ham-planet. You’re telling me you would rather hit your head off of the ground with nothing on it? You’re right that would definitely feel the same. Im talking about staples in your head not a concussion.

Tyson - 08/12/13 - 4:08pm

Nobody has asked the real question the headline brings up–How does a concept make bike sharing safer?

BobWölfé Jung2 - 08/12/13 - 5:25pm

Oh… and of course helmets do not discourage ridership (/sarcasm off)


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