Have you seen the Eco Helmet yet? It looks like one of those party decorations that you fold out and either hang from the ceiling or use as a table centerpiece because it looks like a snowman or a turkey. All jokes aside, it’s an interesting concept, one that just won a Dyson award according to Bike Hugger.
It’s supposed to be a compact, foldable, reusable bike helmet that can withstand impact. I like this as an add-on item for city bike rentals like B-Cycle or CycleHop. If you think about it, people renting bikes on one off situations tend not to be carrying helmets, and traditional helmets would be near impossible to keep stocked at bike share kiosks due to space and shrinkage, so this could fill in that glaring safety gap. It’s small enough that it wouldn’t take up much room at docking stations and durable enough to last users a few rides if properly cared for, so they could keep it in their purse or backpack for future rides.
As far as safety I would DEFINITELY say it’s safer than nothing. Its honeycomb construction is supposed to disperse impact across a wider surface area and be comparable to the typical polystyrene used in helmets but does not have a hard outer shell. That lack of an outer shell makes me wonder what types of impact it could withstand. Their website does state that it is crash tested, and I have seen other honeycomb designs on the market lately but those were made of denser material built into a traditional helmet. Eco Helmet is still in development according to their website but I am happy to see a product that will encourage helmet use particularly for riders who don’t ride often, especially on busy city streets.
All in all, I like the idea. The Eco Helmet is recyclable which is a bonus, but I am unsure of how many uses you will get out of it. Overall I would absolutely recommend a more traditional helmet be on hand if you’re going to make a bike sharing service part of your regular routine. But if you always have one of these in your bag, you’ll never have a reason NOT to ride. So I can’t complain there.