Will the ‘Smart Hat’ be the future of road cycling safety? That’s certainly the aim of its Aussie designer Toby King.
The futuristic (for “futuristic” read “shit”) hard hat, although only in concept form at the minute, includes built-in bluetooth, a head-up-display with speaker, full sat nav, speedometer, notice of speed restrictions, temperature and heart rate monitors, tilt sensor, ultrasonic object proximity warning (presumably like sonar) and turn signal indicators.
The helmet also features a unique licence plate on the back, just like a car numberplate. The thinking behind this is that it will make individual cyclists identifiable and, in turn, make them as responsible as motorists for their actions on the road.
While the licence plate element would no doubt be welcomed by the Jeremy Clarksons of this world, it would probably spell the end of taking that shortcut down the one-way street on your morning cycle to work.
The helmet debate remains a contentious issue in cycling, not least because of recent comments made by former Olympian and UK bike hero Chris Boardman. While that discussion raises many questions, we can’t imagine this sci-fi looking head-box answers any of them. In fact, the ‘Smart Hat’ seems like the punchline to a joke nobody ever told.
Realistically, why could cyclists go out and buy a helmet that could increase their chances of falling foul of the law (albeit only if they actually commit an offence)? Surely this would put people off taking their bike out, harming cycling overall.
Maybe less importantly, who’d go out and buy a helmet that would make them look like a massive tool? Not even Pharrell could pull one of these off.