A company in the United Kingdom called Headkayse says it has come up with a new type of bicycle helmet that conforms to world safety standards and is easier to cart around. As Ben Coxworth writes for Gizmag, a reason many cyclists give for riding without a helmet is that a helmet takes up so much space when it’s being carried.
The Headkayse helmet solves that problem because it folds down to a small size. On Headkayse’s IndieGoGo page, the company says the helmet flattens by 70% to just under 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide, a 50% decrease in volume.
It is made from a proprietary, semi-rigid foam called Enkayse instead of the expanded polystyrene (EPS) used in conventional helmets. Since Enkayse compresses to absorb shocks and doesn’t break like EPS, it doesn’t need to be replaced each time it experiences a hit. “It’s also better able to soak up smaller hits, plus its 3-mm polymer outer surface is more abrasion-resistant,” Coxworth wrote.
On its Facebook page, Headkayse claims its helmets can be hit with a hammer without breaking.
Effects of Impacts on Brain
The company claims Enkayse is a safer material for helmets than EPS, explaining the safety problems of EPS:
At lower speeds EPS’s rigidity means a small knock passes the energy straight to your skull, adding up to some nasty long term affects to the brain. Try knocking your knuckles hard (not too hard) on the top of your EPS helmet — it’ll shake your eyeballs about.
In fact, according to recent research cited on the Headkayse website, such smaller impacts can lead to the later occurrence of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Enkayse has a unique combination of slow response plus elasticity, so that “it can absorb impacts without permanent damage.” In addition, its tough outer layer is resistant to sharp objects and withstands tears.
Because the Headkayse is flexible and adjustable, it conforms to individual head shapes, and one size fits all.
The London-based company was founded and is directed by Tony Walker, a former military pilot and former investment banker, and Andy Creak, who also was involved in Egg, the launch of Cofunds, and the plan.co.uk investment platform. The two men met more than two decades ago in college.
Headkayse helmets are available by pre-order on IndieGoGo and are expected to ship in the summer.
Bicycle Helmets in Colorado
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Colorado does not require bicyclists to wear helmets. However, as the Colorado Department of Transportation writes in its Colorado Bicycling Manual:
Seventy-five percent of all bicycle driver fatalities are a result of head injuries. The best protection against this type of injury is use of an approved bicycle helmet. Wearing a helmet can reduce the severity of brain injury in a crash by 88% and could save your life.