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Manufacturers license London design student's new take on the lid which could benefit bike hire schemes...

A London design student has devised a cycle helmet based on a cardboard frame that he claims is able to absorb four times the impact of a standard helmet while also being recyclable. Anirudha Rao believes that as well as providing greater protection for cyclists who own their own bikes, the helmet – called the Kranium – could also prove useful to operators of bike hire schemes.

Rao, a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Art, unveiled the helmet made its debut at the London Cycle Show last October, and has been developed with the help of a £20,000 grant from the James Dyson Foundation.

The designer says: “The ribs of the structure have been designed to accommodate movement in some places where as it remains perfectly rigid in some areas. Thus during a crash the force peak of the impact is absorbed by the ribs tending to flex and de-flex. The remaining amount of energy is then absorbed by the crumpling nature of the corrugated ribs.”

Carlton Reid of the trade focused website BikeBiz filmed Rao talking about his invention at the Cycle Show last autumn, and there's also a video from Bike Republic that shows the Kranium being subject to a drop test together with a standard, off-the-shelf helmet.

An acrylic compound renders the cardboard waterproof, and it can be adjusted to provide an exact, snug fit to the wearer’s head.

As for bike share schemes, which have struggled in Australia for example due to the compulsory helmet laws there, Rao hopes that a quick assembly version of the helmets might be sold via vending machines and recycled after use.

The Independent reports that the Kranium has already been licensed by several cycle helmet manufacturers, bringing it a step closer to be seeing on the streets some time soon.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

5 comments

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
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Great to see someone exploring materials other than expanded polystyrene foam for bicycle helmets. Polystyrene is hard in compression and cracks under impact. There must be materials out there that can do a better job than polystyrene did for Wouter Weyland or Mauricio Soler in their recent crashes.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 5 years ago
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It'd need to be covered in plastic though - wouldn't want as much protection as a damp cardboard box after a rainstorm.

I have heard of this before. Some motorcycle helmet manufacturers are taking a serious look at this particular cycle helmet as it happens.

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Chuffy [201 posts] 5 years ago
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cat1commuter wrote:

There must be materials out there that can do a better job than polystyrene did for Wouter Weyland or Mauricio Soler in their recent crashes.

Wouter's injury was to a part of his head not covered by a helmet. The same applied to Casartelli in his fatal crash.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 5 years ago
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Chuffy wrote:
cat1commuter wrote:

There must be materials out there that can do a better job than polystyrene did for Wouter Weyland or Mauricio Soler in their recent crashes.

Wouter's injury was to a part of his head not covered by a helmet. The same applied to Casartelli in his fatal crash.

Not that those facts will stop the venal from using them as arguments for compulsory lids.

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Viro Indovina [81 posts] 5 years ago
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Wouter's injury was to a part of his head not covered by a helmet. The same applied to Casartelli in his fatal crash.[/quote]

I'm sorry to hear about this accident, but this sort of proves that unprotected cranial areas are vulnerable to trauma, doesn't it?

Not that those facts will stop the venal from using them as arguments for compulsory lids.[/quote]

venal |ˈvēnl|
adjective
"showing or motivated by susceptibility to bribery"

Are you really suggesting that all helmet advocates are on the take?

Get a dictionary, then get a helmet to protect your vocabulary vault (had many discussions with aphasics?).