Dezeen Magazine

Sotera safety helmet by Joe Doucet

Joe Doucet's Sotera motorcycle helmet uses coloured lights to prevent accidents

New York designer Joe Doucet has created a motorcycle helmet with built-in lights that flash red when the driver slows down or brakes.

Called the Sotera Advanced Active Safety Helmet, the product is made of polycarbonate and the synthetic fibre kevlar, which are both durable and heat-resistant materials.

There is also a transparent visor to protect against wind, rain and dust and an LED light panel that runs through the bottom half of the helmet.

Sotera safety helmet by Joe Doucet

Doucet wanted to create a helmet that would prevent accidents, as well as protecting users in the event of one.

His research found an 80 per cent chance of injury or death on a motorcycle in the event of an accident, compared to 20 per cent for passenger vehicles.

"Currently, helmets are designed to limit injury after an accident. I simply asked, 'what if helmets worked to prevent accidents instead?'. The design solution became rather obvious to me when viewed from that angle," the designer told Dezeen.

Sotera safety helmet by Joe Doucet

The LED light panels on the helmet, which can be charged via a USB cable, are designed to make the motorbike rider more visible to drivers.

Similar to the brake lights on a car, built-in accelerometers in the helmet detect when the biker is braking and switch to a red colour, alerting drivers behind them.

"Motorcycle lights are very low above the ground compared to other vehicles," said Doucet. "Sotera solves this problem by putting the light at the eye-line of other drivers."

Sotera safety helmet by Joe Doucet

Doucet has chosen not to patent the invention so that companies can adopt the idea and reduce the risk of accidents.

"I began the project with a goal of commercialising the helmets. Prior to filing the patents, I realised that the innovation had great potential to save lives. That would be like patenting a seatbelt and having it available to only one car company," he said.

"I opened up the intellectual property to any company who chooses to produce a version of the helmet. Weighing the potential of saving a life against a royalty check is an easy decision to make," he explained.

Sotera safety helmet by Joe Doucet

In a similar attempt to improve safety on the roads, the Lumos smart bike helmet – which won the transport design category at the 2016 Beazley Designs of the Year awards – also features embedded brake lights and indicators.