The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fewer than half of bicycle riders between the ages of 5 and 14 wear a protective helmet, despite common sense, and well-publicized studies that show helmets cut risks of serious head injury by nearly 70%. Our friend Shimrit died while wearing a helmet on a moped so know that helmets aren’t an amulet but they are essential.
This disconnect from helmets being essential has spurred people at the international advertising giant DBB to devise a playful solution.
They’ve developed a prototype bicycle helmet based on an artifact instantly recognizable to most of their targeted demographic – it looks exactly like the plastic hair on LEGO figures. Truth be told, the helmet copies the head of a Playmobil figure, arch-rival of the LEGO brand.
Two remotely located DDB colleagues designed the helmet, Clara Prior in Copenhagen and Simon Higby in Stockholm office and Clara Prior from Copenhagen. The pair were collaborating on an MBA thesis that explored whether kids would voluntarily wear bike helmets if there were helmets available that kids would actually want to wear.
The duo turned to design company MOEF to make a model for them last year. They popped a head off one of their Playmobil figures, and put it through a 3D scanner. They tweaked the proportions and played with color-matching to create a comical outer shell for some serious inner safety kit.
You can see their entire design process, including 3D printing and paint job, below:
The picture of the helmet appeared on Imgur, and in UK free commuter newspaper Metro, and soon went viral. No surprise, most adult bike enthusiasts know to use a helmet.
And while new variations do occasionally appear (like the inflatable Hövding Invisible Bike Helmet), who wouldn’t want to sport the greatest “helmet hair”?
People contacted the designers asking if it came in different hairstyles and colors. A few specifically requested “The Trump”. And people just wanted to know how they could buy one.
Unfortunately, this helmet is only a prototype. Asked by Metro if they were planning to go into commercial production, co-designer Higby said, “I would love to do that. We just don’t know who [to approach] right now.” That said, the pair are petitioning for LEGO to take a look at mass-producing the helmets.
A major study of global bike helmet usage by Australian statisticians Jake Olivier and Prudence Creighton from the University of New South Wales looked at more than 64,000 cyclists and found helmets reduce risks of serious head injury by nearly 70%.
The study also found that while helmets are not associated with preventing neck injuries, cyclists who wear helmets reduce their chance of a fatal head injury by 65%.
Previous studies have indicated helmet use encourages risk-taking behavior or does not reduce serious injury to the brain. But this latest review collated data from more than 40 separate studies found helmet use did dramatically reduce odds of head injuries. They presented their findings in Finland last September at Safety 2016, the world conference on injury prevention and safety promotion.