Due to economic and environmental concerns, cycling is more popular than ever. With the influx of riders, both new and experienced, the demand for safety equipment is increasing rapidly. Competition is fierce in the bicycle helmet market, with manufacturers on every scale trying to outdo one another in terms of safety, style and sales price. This fact puts innovators squarely in the saddle and ready to drive (or rather, pedal) their businesses to new heights.
HOW HAS INNOVATION IMPROVED CYCLING HELMETS?
In recent years, the focus of helmet testers has shifted towards an examination of realistic impact testing. After all, most accidents happen in far-from-ideal circumstances.
This modern approach to testing has led to all sorts of developments. Some of the more notable ideas include finding ways to reduce the rotational forces of an impact, closely bond foam to a shell to improve impact performance and even use self-charging lights to improve visibility!
DO OTHER SPORTS NEED NEW HELMET TECHNOLOGY?
There are many other sports which use helmets. Cycling is not the only field with an innovative and exciting market. Although the challenges and required solutions vary from sport to sport, it is always worth keeping abreast of the situation in other sectors.
For example, American football is big business, and helmets are crucial to the players’ current and continued wellbeing. An interesting development is position-specific padding arrangements, and research is being done into the effectiveness of liquid shock absorbers within the helmets. Touchdown!
A helmet designer for cricket only needs to consider some very specific impact conditions, therefore introducing sensors to monitor non-impact-based game performance can put an interesting spin on the space considerations of traditional helmet design.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME, A HELMET MANUFACTURER?
We are entering a particularly exciting time in the helmet industry. To capitalise on the rising interest from consumers, now would be the perfect time to step it up a gear and develop some fresh new ideas. And remember - protect your IP!
If you are interested in other sports-safety-based innovation, please take a look at the Global Sports Innovation Centre (GSIC) and its members. The GSIC is a very impressive sports innovation support initiative which we are very proud to represent. For more information about various topics covered in this article, these reference sources may also be helpful: