A bicycle helmet funded on Indiegogo aims to make commuting to work even more convenient -- and a lot less bulky.
"The Morpher" is designed to fold flat, making it easier to carry around than a traditional helmet. And while cyclists will still deal with its heft, it beats having to lug around a helmet and a bag all at once.
British inventor Jeffrey Woolf came up with the concept after commissioning a survey to learn about the helmet-wearing habits of those who rely on bike rentals, like New York City's CitiBike and Boston's Hubway. Of those he surveyed, 92 percent reported not wearing a helmet when riding their temporary bike. Eighty-four percent believed they were risking their lives by forgoing head protection, and 83 percent said they go without the helmet due to "lack of portability."
Woolf's invention is a direct response to this last problem: "If I could create a helmet that could fold flat," he wrote on the product's Indiegogo page, "I could save lives."
Indeed. A multi-departmental report by the city of New York revealed that from 1996 to 2005, 97 perfect of cyclists involved in a fatal crash in the city were not wearing a helmet. Neither were 87 percent of riders who were seriously injured in crashes. If the majority of those that forego helmets do so because of the inconvenience associated with hauling one around, the Morpher and products like it could be an easy solution.
Woolf's invention, which is made of the same hard plastic and foam used in a conventional helmets, is in production with initial orders expected to ship out in June. It has already passed safety inspections for use outside the U.S. and Australia; in an update post last week, Woolf announced that the Morpher will soon undergo the independent testing required before it can be approved for sale in the U.S.
The folding helmet, which was selected as Popular Science Magazine's Safety Invention of the Year in 2014, is available for pre-order for $89 via Indiegogo.