Bike Safety: Why brands really do need to reinvent the wheel

May 9, 2014
3 min read

Mintel’s latest bicycles report finds nearly a third (32%) of adults agreeing that it is too dangerous to ride a bicycle on the road. If safety concerns around cycling on the roads can be definitively tackled, it could open the floodgates to a new era of mass cycling participation. Whether this is encouraging more people off the roads on their bicycles through the provision of segregated cycle routes and trails, or making cycling on the roads significantly safer, there are lots of opportunities for brands to address this concern. New research from Mintel highlights some of the latest cycling innovations that could do just that.

There has been much discussion about innovation and road safety, with many ideas mooted. Fewer than two in five (39%) cyclists own a helmet, with women the least likely to wear one. Helmets have been a key area of innovation focus, including both folding and so-called ‘invisible’ helmets, the latter aimed at women who do not like a helmet spoiling their hairstyle.

The Overade foldable bike helmet concept is designed to save space while being carried but provide the same protection as non-foldable versions. The helmet folds and unfolds in a matter of seconds and folds down to around a third of the size of a standard helmet.

In November 2013, the Hövding invisible helmet was launched. Aimed at people who don’t like wearing a cycle helmet all the time, it is worn as a collar round the neck which acts like an airbag in a car, so that during an accident, it appears and forms a protective shield over the rider’s head. However, it is a one-use-only product, which has to be replaced once it has been activated.

Helios Bike
Helios integrated headlight and blinker system

Finishing with a very smart set of handlebars… a new product called Helios was revealed in May 2013. It is positioned as the world’s first integrated headlight and blinker (indicator) system for bicycles and it also utilises Bluetooth and GPS technology to add smart features to any bicycle. The company raised its funding target on Kickstarter in June 2013 and the first bars are due to reach customers during 2014.

Looking to the future, there should also be strong demand in urban areas for a product which cyclists could attach to their bicycles which would warn heavy good vehicle drivers when a cyclist was in their blind spot, using sat-nav or mobile phone technology, perhaps in partnership with TfL and software and hardware companies. Alternatively, if one manufacturer could develop such a product, this would give it a clear commercial advantage over its rivals, which would act as a strong selling point, particularly when selling to those in urban areas. Anything manufacturers can do to try and ensure that their customers are easier to see when on the road must be a positive thing.

To find out more about Mintel’s Bicycles UK 2014 report click here.

Michael Oliver is Senior Leisure and Media Analyst at Mintel. Having worked with Mintel for over two decades, Michael has worked across many research industries, including food and drink and retail. As a key industry spokesperson for the leisure industry, Michael has most recently been approached by the national media to discuss the state of the nation’s theme park, music festival and cycling industries.

Michael Oliver
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