5 Innovations That Make You Want To Wear A Helmet

Couple Wearing Yakkay Helmets in the park photo

Photo credit Yakkay via Facebook.

This is not a story of why you should wear your helmet. We're not going to get into that hornet's nest...if we can help it. The debate may never be over. Instead, we're going to show off the ways helmet manufacturers are trying to make you WANT to wear your helmet...if you want to wear a helmet.

Nutcase Helmet With Fidlock Buckle photo
Photo credit April Streeter.

1. No More Pinched Chin.

You know it's happened to you - the curse of the pinching helmet straps. It's worse when parents or other well-meaning helpers pinch the tender neck skin of their younger charges in between the clicking clips, causing small hickey-like wounds on said tender flesh. Now German company Fidlock has been testing a magnetic snap-out system for helmet straps, and Nutcase helmet company of Portland, Oregon is implementing the new system. First out this fall will be children's helmets, with eventually the entire line getting the new magnetic locking system.

Graphic simulates stress and strain areas in the brain from crash impacts. Credit MiPS.

2. Bye Bye Joggled Brain Effect.

Traditionally, helmet makers drop them vertically down at high speed to simulate crash conditions - but who falls onto their fontanelle? It is the rotational (side impact) forces that can do a lot of brain-joggling damage. Thus researchers at MiPS in Sweden discovered that adding a membrane between the outer layer of a helmet and the inner shell that stretches and slides almost imperceptibly can mitigate the rotational forces being transmitted to the brain from a crash impact. Thus far the helmets are being manufactured for dirt bikers and fast and furious BMX bikers (POC's MiPS helmet retails for 389), but urban biking manufactuer Nutcase has said they are looking at the MiPS technology, and MiPS itself would like all helmet manufacturers to deploy (natch).

Product shot of Dahon Pango foldable helmet
Photo courtesy Dahon.

3. Full Function Foldable Helmet Fits in The Backpack.

Dahon took a great idea and made it reality. The company's new folding helmet folds clamshell-like, to allow users to more easily fit it into bag or backpack. Dahon says the folding helmet betting meets the needs of the on-and-off urban cyclist that makes a lot of stops, but doesn't want to leave the helmet hanging from the handlebars. The Pango helmet meets U.S. and European safety standards but goes for the relatively steep price of US$129. It's available starting this month.

Girls in Park Wearing Yakkay Hat Helmets photo
Photo credit Yakkay.

4. Here's Your Hat, Where's Your Helmet?

Yakkay is planning to launch its line of hat covered helmets this spring in the U.S. The company, based in Denmark, has had success in the European market with its concept of a standard "brain bucket" helmet with interchangeable covers. The drawback, at least thus far, is price - the helmets start at $120 with your single cover choice. Hopefully, with mass distribution and popularity that price may drop, or a smart Asian firm may choose to do a similar concept cheaper. If you ride every day, however, and constant encounter the helmet cover issue, in the long run you won't regret the price.

Soft foam dinosaur protective helmet cover photo

Photo of a dinosaur foam cover Richard Masoner @ flickr.

5. Staying Dry or Just Being Crazy.

Helmet makers such as Yakkay and Dahon are realizing that urban bikers don't want to go around equipped with shower caps to put over pointy aerodynamic helmets just to keep our brains dry and protected. In Dahon's Pango, there's a snap-in, snap-out protective rain cover (it replaces the ventilated plastic mesh shown in the Pango photo in #3) that the company says will be available in multiple colors - the Pango is to be launched this month. Yakkay helmet covers have both warmth and simple rain protection fronts covered with their different helmet covers. Or, if you rather than staying dry you prefer to make a statement put a dinosaur on your helmet - soft foam covers are $24.95 from Nogin Sox and the battery-driven LED lights that grace the six different covers add visibility.

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