Helmet concept made from recycled newspapers and designed to be used with hire bicycles

What do you do if you decide that you want to roll around on a Boris Bike but you didn't bring a helmet? That's the question that Bobby Petersen, Tom Gottelier and Edward Thomas asked, and their solution is a paper pulp lid that could be mass-produced for as little as £1 per unit.

Petersen, Gottelier and Thomas are student at London's Royal College of Art and the Paper Pulp Helmet is currently at concept stage. The lid is made from recycled newspaper, which is pulped and then combined with an organic additive to make the helmet water-resistant; the designers say that it's good for six to eight hours in the rain. A normal London day, then. When you're done with it, the helmet can be recycled directly into another one. Although unlike in the video, we'd probably take the strap off first. That's going to get stuck round the mixer...

The pulp is vacuum-formed into the helmet shape and heated to dry it. The design features very deep grooves, which have three main functions. Firstly, it allows a chin strap to be looped over the top of the helmet to keep it in place. Secondly, the inside channels offer a certain amount of ventilation over the head, as the design doesn't have any vents. Thirdly, the grooves form a crumple zone to absorb impact should you be unlucky enough to sustain one. The designers are intending that the helmet should be certified; since the cardboard Kranium helmet from Abus has passed safety testing – indeed, the manufacturers told us it was good enough to pass some motorbike tests – that's certainly a possibility.

So far, so good. There's some aesthetic issues to be overcome here; we doubt many people will be queueing up to roll round London with something that looks like a hospital bed pan on their bonce. And there's the eternal debate over whether we should be concentrating on helmets anyway, that one will run and run.


Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.