Biker Explains Importance Of Paper Helmets

Designer Believes Paper Offers More Protection Than Polystyrene

13.01.2014

A designer who suffered whiplash and concussion during a road collision has explained why paper-based helmets may offer better protection to cyclists than polystyrene versions.

Having been knocked off his bike, Anirudha Surabhi noticed that his headgear had "completely cracked", BBC News reports.

He set about designing a new helmet that absorbs more of the impact when a person falls off their bicycle.

The paper product has been tested to European standards and has produced better results than its polystyrene counterpart.

Mr Surabhi told the news provider: "If you crash at 15 miles per hour in a normal helmet, your head will be subjected to around 220G [G-force], whereas the new design absorbs more of the impact and means you experience around 70G instead."

According to international experts, any impact above 300G can lead to serious brain injuries, so the new design - which features a double layer of protection - gives cyclists a larger buffer than the polystyrene equivalent.

The "honeycomb design" is already available in the shops and Mr Surabhi is considering launching a flat pack version.

It is not compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets in the UK and there has been a great deal of debate over their use.

Jolyon Carroll, a safety researcher at the UK's Transport Research Laboratory, said it is the rapid change of speed when a person falls off their bike that can cause serious head injuries.

"When you hit the pavement, your hard skull will stop or decelerate quickly. However, being a relatively soft organ, your brain tends to keep going," he was quoted as saying.

Mr Surabhi's story has been reported at an opportune time, as there was a spate of cyclist fatalities in London in November.

There has also been an increase in accidents involving "vulnerable road users" across the UK as a whole, according to the latest figures provided by the Department for Transport.

Although overall incident rates have fallen, there was a 12 per cent upturn in the number of cyclist casualties in the second quarter of 2013 when compared with the corresponding period in 2012.

Expert Opinion
Any new research into preventing head and brain injuries is very important. These innovations are an important step in improving safety for cyclists.

“Through our work we have seen how serious injuries on the roads can be caused by a range of factors, such as irresponsible driving, poor quality infrastructure and many other issues.

“However, the importance of wearing the correct safety equipment whilst on the roads is vital to ensure that every precaution has been made to protect cyclists.”
Stephen Nye, Partner