Foldable Bike Helmets Made From Recycled Materials Help Fight "Helmet Hassle"

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©. LID Helmets

By folding into a size small enough to fit into a bag, LID Helmets aims to help cyclists avoid a common excuse for not wearing head protection.

This London-based startup has developed a cycling helmet that could solve a common pain point for bicycle commuting, while also offering a safe and comfortable fit for both casual riders and daily cyclists alike. Although protective headgear is easy enough to carry when actively cycling, because it's strapped to your noggin, what to do with the helmet when you're not on your bike is another animal altogether. Some cyclists strap their helmet to the outside of their bag, where it can be a bulky addition to the rest of their regular gear and everyday carry kit, while others may choose to lock their helmet to their bike, which leaves it exposed to the elements and the possibility of theft or damage, and others may choose to not wear a helmet - or ride a bike - at all because of this "helmet hassle."

LID Helmets are designed to make it easy to carry your bike helmet wherever you go, thanks to a unique folding design that collapses it down into a small enough size to fit into a bag, while still providing adequate head protection in the event of a crash. Developed over the course of the last several years, LID helmets are now (almost) ready for market, and its first model, dubbed "plico," has been thoroughly tested over the last two years and is now officially certified as meeting both European and US safety standards.

LID Helmets folded

© LID Helmets

At the heart of the plico helmet is its multi-piece design, which allows the helmet to expand and collapse ("cascading compactibility") as needed. When wearing the helmet, this design is said to allow for a "truly snug fit" for a variety of head shapes, as the individual pieces fit to the rider's head. The multi-piece design is also claimed to enable good air flow through the helmet while riding, which could help reduce some of the sweaty head effect of vigorous cycling, although no mention is made of what sort of helmet hair one might expect after wearing it. The helmet also integrates a rear mounting point for attaching a blinky safety light, as well as a padded chin strap for a more comfortable fit.

Once the rider is at their destination and ready to store the helmet, the plico collapses down into a size small enough to fit easily into a backpack or other bag, and it features a magnetic fastening system to keep itself folded up until needed. While no actual measurements of the folded dimensions are given, it appears as if this 410 gram helmet can reduce its width significantly, thereby taking a bulky brain bucket and making it more convenient to carry with when off the bike.

Another feature of the plico is its use of recycled materials, namely the expanded polystyrene (EPS) that forms the basis of many safety helmets, which in this case was previously used in the automobile industry.

"Rather than filling the world’s landfills further, we are working with a leading auto manufacturer in the USA to collect their packaging materials used in transporting delicate auto parts. The polystyrene is compressed and reformulated into pellets that can be expanded to the desired density, creating EPS. This eco-friendly EPS has been strenuously tested against virgin EPS and delivers the same level of safety required by testing standards. It's more costly to produce this way, but we think it’s worth it."

In addressing questions about the ability of a multi-piece helmet like this one to protect a rider's skull, the company writes:

"There is often a misconception that safety helmets must be a one-piece design in order to absorb an impact and protect the skull. This isn't the case. In fact, many motorcycle helmets are made from strips of EPS at the protective core, covered by a thin, one-piece outer shell. Each helmet segment in plico's multi-piece design has its own independent ability to absorb impact, thereby protecting the rider's skull." - LID Helmets

To get these LID Helmets onto the heads (and into the bags) of cyclists, the company has turned to (wait for it...) crowdfunding with an Indiegogo campaign. The campaign, which has already passed its initial fundraising goal, promises that because all development and testing have been done, and initial batches already produced, getting it into production now is mostly a matter of placing the manufacturing order. Backers of the campaign can get their hands on a LID helmet for a pledge of at least $70 (said to be 50% off the MSRP), with deliveries of the helmets expected beginning in May of 2018.