Designing an Innovative Bicycle Helmet

Ruben Hekkens is a graduate student at the Delft University of Technology, in Delft, Netherlands. As a masters project, he is developing a “lifestyle bicycle helmet for use in urban environments.”

Because very few urban cyclists in Holland wear helmets, Ruben sees an opportunity.

It reminded me of an old marketing parable of two shoe salesmen sent to a cliched Africa:

The first shoe salesman headed into his new territory unsure what to expect. It was less than an hour of the shoe salesman's arrival to Africa when he quickly phoned back to his headquarters and requested the first flight out, explaining to his boss, "This is a disaster! Nobody wears shoes!"

The second shoe salesman expected a challenge but was optimistic about this new opportunity. After a safe landing he quickly became thrilled at what he observed. He contacted headquarters and told his boss, "I can't believe what I'm seeing, send stock A.S.A.P! Nobody wears shoes!"

Whether or not you consider the low rate of helmet use in Holland to be a problem worth solving, you’ve got to admire Ruben’s ambition.

Ruben would like your input on his project, so here’s your chance.
Designing An Innovative Bicycle Helmet

Click here to take Rubens questionnaire on helmet designs.

Girl with a Pearl Earring
Girl with a Pearl Earring | Image: Wikipedia

Delft is between Rotterdam and The Hague, and was the home of 17th Century Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer.

You know, I don’t want to skew Ruben’s research or anything, but I think helmet no. 7 is atrocious. I can understand the attempts some have to make helmets look like fashionable hats, but I think all such attempts are doomed. But if you’re in the stomping grounds of Vermeer, and attempting something as potentially futile as putting helmets on the heads of the Dutch, why not try an homage to the master, and make a helmet that would fit gracefully in a Vemeer painting?

That would be classy.

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