Safety, visibility, communication with drivers around us. These are important considerations as we roll onto city streets. The more we can rely on our gear, our street skills and our decision-making, the greater our peace of mind and the more enjoyable the ride. The Classon bike helmet, introduced by New York City-based Brooklyness, packs a remarkable array of design features and technology to add confidence to urban cycling.
Some helmets currently on the market have built-in lights for added visibility. Most protective headgear can accommodate a camera to video-record a ride. And urban helmets are increasingly well-vented and lightweight for comfort. But the Classon builds all this and more into one multi-tasking lid that’s worth a look for commuters and around-town riders. I viewed the prototype recently at the Urban-X accelerator in Manhattan with Brooklyness co-founder and CEO Manuel Saez.
The Classon’s break-through feature is blind-spot detection. Integrated cameras at the front and back of the helmet let riders know when cars are approaching in their blind spots. The cameras scan the environment and, based on an algorithm, activate lights (right or left) beneath the front visor. This warning shows up in the cyclist’s peripheral vision. The brightness is adjustable, so the lights don’t cause distraction.
See how this feature works:
Those cameras also record the ride in HD, providing a record in case of an accident. Or, they can simply be saved or even live-streamed to friends.
One of the benefits of the Classon is that no special actions are required of cyclists to realize certain safety advantages. Activation of turning and braking signals, for example, occurs based on the cyclist’s ordinary actions. To telegraph a right turn, for example, the rider extends her right hand. A sensor in the helmet reads the motion and triggers right-turn lights located both at the back and front of the helmet.
Likewise, through the use of an accelerometer, the helmet perceives when a rider is slowing down and automatically turns on the red brake light on the back of the helmet.
This high-tech headgear can also aid in navigation through the use of GPS. After a destination is entered into the Brooklyness smartphone app, lights under the visor help guide the rider, with discreet blinks that indicate direction.
Finally (phew!), the helmets, available in five colors and three sizes, are equipped with generous venting for air flow, two large holes on the sides through which a lock can be threaded for secure attachment to your bike – and even ponytail clearance in the back.
Brooklyness, which describes its mission as designing and marketing products for urban mobility, previously launched the CMYK 4.0 compact, folding, electric-assist bicycle, and has started a crowd-funding campaign through which the Classon helmet is available for pre-order.
Learn more here. Shipping of pre-orders is expected in Spring 2017.