New helmet planned for bike-share

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The EcoHelmet, which is a disposable paper helmet that folds flat, is creating buzz in the cycling world.

Four experts whom we interviewed express their approval of the EcoHelmet’s concept. However, they question the safety of a helmet that’s made of paper, even though it has a honeycomb design that Isis Shiffer, who invented the EcoHelmet, claims “absorbs blows from any direction as effectively as traditional polystyrene.”

Randy Swart, who is the director of Helmets.org, says the EcoHelmet is “a brilliant idea,” but it has to have the right materials to protect a rider’s head adequately. At press time, the EcoHelmet hadn’t met the requirements of Consumer Product Safety Commission. The EcoHelmet’s website states that the company targets a 2017 release, with a reported cost of $5 to buy the helmet from a vending machine at a bike-share station.

Hong Zhang, who is the director of education at Snell Memorial Foundation, questions whether the EcoHelmet can weather prolonged exposure to rain.

Kate Halse, who contributed to Consumers Digest’s identification of bicycle-helmet Best Buys in our May/June 2016 issue, believes that the inconvenience of bringing your own bike helmet still is better than depending on the protection that’s provided by a paper helmet.