By Melissa Culross

KCBS_740SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Paper may be part of the future of bike safety.

Industrial designer Isis Shiffer was traveling overseas and taking advantage of the bike sharing systems in other countries when she got the idea that would become her disposable, paper helmets.

“I was abroad in London, and Tokyo, and other places, and there were never any helmets available, and I was really anxious because I was riding on the wrong side of the road, and I was absolutely convinced that I was gonna get flattened. So, I thought that there really needed to be something there for cyclists like myself,” Shiffer told KCBS.

Bike sharing systems continue to grow, including Bay Area Bike Share in our region, but most don’t provide helmets. So Shiffer has designed a paper helmet that she says work like traditional bike helmets by diffusing the shock of any impact to your head, and is working toward getting certification from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“Just now I’ve tested out my own prototypes that I made, but in order to get CPSC certified, I need to get, I think 15 identical copies, and then take them to a third party to pretty much repeat all the testing,” Shiffer said.

Shiffer’s Eco Helmets are made of waterproof paper folded into a honeycomb pattern, and she imagines them being sold in vending machines or at businesses such as Starbucks.

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