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More from News
- Morpher Helmet has been invented by Jeff Woolf OBE
- He survived a car crash thanks to his bike helmet
- But many cyclists don't wear one as they are too bulky
- So he's invented protective headgear that can fold in half
- It's easy to carry in handbags, laptop cases and rucksacks
By Lucy Waterlow
PUBLISHED: 12:37 EST, 23 October 2013 | UPDATED: 13:26 EST, 23 October 2013
An inventor whose life was saved thanks to his cycling helmet has developed the world's first flat-folding hat so people no longer have an excuse not to carry the protective headgear.
Thanks to the introduction of Boris Bikes in London and people inspired by Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome's victories in the Tour De France, cycling is a booming sport.
But while it's good for your health and can help commuters get to work faster on gridlocked roads, many are risking a serious injury - or death - by hopping onto the saddle without wearing a helmet.
Ingenious: Inventor Jeff Woolf OBE has created the Morpher Helmet that can fold in half
Convenient: The helmet offers a solution for people who find the traditional headgear too bulky to carry around
It's a lesson inventor Jeff Woolf learnt the hard way after he was involved in a hit and run whilst cycling in West Hampstead, London, in his thirties.
The 54-year-old from London told MailOnline: 'If I wasn't wearing a helmet than I might not still be here today. A car smashed into me while I was cycling and I hit the kerb. I broke my shoulder and ribs but my helmet took the brunt of the fall. If I hadn't been wearing it, I could have been brain-damaged or killed.'
The accident made Woolf realise how important wearing a helmet is - yet he's been shocked to see so many people hiring Boris Bikes across the capital and riding off without wearing a protective hat.
Portable: When folded in half, the helmet can easily fit into handbags and laptop cases
He researched the matter and discovered that almost 20,000 cycling accidents occur every year in the UK, yet a huge percentage of cyclists still don't wear helmets.
In London alone, 93 per cent of people who hire bicycles don't wear helmets and, of those with their own bicycles, more than a quarter (26 per cent) don't wear them.
He also found a report from the U.S. that discovered more than 90 per cent of cycling fatalities there happened to riders who are not wearing a helmet.
Many of those who ride without one say they do so because they find traditional cycling helmets are too bulky to carry around.
Step-by-step: The helmet flattens down so people have no excuse not to take it with them
So Woolf, who has an OBE for his services to innovation and has twice been named British Inventor of the Year, has come up with an ingenious solution. He has invented the Morpher Helmet that can be flattened and folded in half so it fits into your bag.
Woolf said the product, that weighs around 250g, can easily fit into a handbag, rucksack or laptop case.
The helmet is made from EPS - expanded polystyrene - that's rigid and tough enough to make it strong to protect heads from impact. But the inclusion of other plastics and nylon hinges means it can also be folded up.
Dangerous: Woolf was alarmed by the number of people he's seen riding around London on Boris bikes without wearing a helmet
The technology has been patented worldwide and is currently in production with the aim of going on sale next Spring.
A number of leading cycling retailers in Britain and the U.S. have expressed an interest in selling the product, that is estimated to cost around £60.
Woolf said he's delighted his vision for a life-saving helmet is coming to fruition citing it as the 'best invention' he's had in his long and successful career.
He explained: 'Some years ago, I survived a horrific cycling accident. My helmet saved my life. Since then I have been aware of the increasingly large number of cyclists taking to the streets without helmets and, with my experience in inventing, I wanted to see if I could help to reverse this trend.
'With more and more people riding every day, Morpher helmets will help to protect cyclists and save lives around the world.'
Visit www.morpherhelmet.com or follow @morpherhelmet for more information