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The Classon helmet for cyclists races past Kickstarter goal

Classon helmet

Classon helmetIn places like Toronto and Vancouver these days, many of us are torn between the ideal of getting our exercise by cycling to work and the reality that it’s getting scary out there. The Classon helmet may make it less scary.

Distracted driving, despite the best efforts of governments at various levels, has become something approaching an epidemic. It’s impossible to measure the deterrent effect it may be having, but distraction has without any doubt become a contributing factor to the 7500 serious injuries suffered by cyclists every year in Canada.

A successful new Kickstarter campaign aims to give cyclists a tool that may enhance their safety.

Classon, a helmet that alerts cyclists when there is a car in their blind spot and activates turn and brake signals based on body movement has easily surpassed its Kickstarter goal. With 25 days to go the project has raised $48,750 from 324 backers, well ahead of its $30,000 goal.

“In these past years we’ve learned that Safety is the number one issue why people do not ride bikes in the city on a regular basis, says the Classon team. “That is why we focused our efforts on addressing safety with our newest product, The CLASSON Helmet. ”

In videos showing a Classon demo model in action, the helmet appears to work seemlessly. A bright, reddish light flashes from the middle of the helmet when a rider slows to a stop and turn lights are activated by arm gestures. An app that pairs with the helmet manages functions such as a GPS navigation feature, ride recording and fitness data, and the intensity of the lights.

A founding team from Chile led by CEO Manuel Saez and COO Traci Pollard began working on a prototype of the Classen last year and intends to have its first production run later this year. The helmet will be available in five colours and three different sizes.

Until driverless cars make the prospect of urban cycling as safe as a walk in the park, ideas like Classon will be battling the leading reason for accidents between cars and bikes: people.

“We find that 80 to 90 per cent of collisions are taking place because of human error. The driver or the cyclist is making an error in judgment by either not following the rules or speeding or not being aware,” says Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, manager of City of Toronto, Cycling Infrastructure and Programs.

Canada’s laws on wearing bike helmets differ from province to province. Helmets are required for all people who ride a bike in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. They are required only for those over the age of 18 in Alberta and Ontario. And Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Canada’s Territories don’t require a helmet for anyone.

The actual use of helmets in adults varies greatly across Canada. Nova Scotia ranks the highest, with 74.8% of all cyclist wearing a helmet, followed by B.C. with 71.3%. Manitoba was the lowest, with just 30% of all cyclists wearing a helmet, followed by Saskatchewan at 30.3%.

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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  1. You got it backwards. In Ontario, riders UNDER the age of 18 must wear a helmet. That’s because in Ontario, kids respond better to ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Also, adult cyclists never get into accidents in Ontario. And, if they do, they were expendable, anyway. Ontario: where we have lots of money to pay the 1.5 million dollar average cost of acute rehabilitation for your catastrophic head injury, if you survive. The good news is that you’ll never need a helmet after that, because you’ll be rocking a wheelchair from now on.

  2. Sorry but most cyclist want to be treated like an equal on the road, but everyone of the cyclist blow through stop signs, red lights and have no respect for pedestrians. Cyclist do not share the road but rather think they own it. There are laws for cyclist to wear helmets and most do not wear them but they point the finger at distracted drivers like breaking the law is ok for one but not the other.

  3. Not quite, most cyclists are respectful of the rules of the road as are most motorists. Those we do not notice. It’s the ones who disregard the rules of the road AND common sense whom we notice. If, as you claim, all cyclists disregarded the rules, the streets would be littered with broken bodies.

  4. Cyclists are brain dead,at least the ones who insist on riding on main roads and highways.The vehicle exhaust emissions alone that they suck in while stressing their bodies will cause them cancer and other illnesses eventually which is the equivalent of smoking 2 packs a day while getting your so called training, not to mention riding near and/or next to thousands of pounds of speeding metal .The stupidity of this is insane.How can people be so stupid.The benefits DO NOT OUT Weigh the negatives .I always train at higher elevations to any road or industry and always on a bush trail where the air quality is at it’s highest.Any one who rides with their children on ANY ROADWAY should be charged with child endangerment and /or child abuse .The threat to harm is TOO high Do right by your children and KEEP them OFF the roadways on their bikes.STAY OFF THE ROADS CYCLISTS ,USE YOUR BRAIN.

  5. Social dominance behaviour, examples of which you can find below, means that cyclists must eventually have the right of way. The Big Dog will always run over the little dog and blame the little dog for it.

  6. This is the second smart helmet kick-starter I have seen and I like what they are trying to do and if they become popular should help not only make cyclists safer and more visible but normalize communication/signals with drivers.
    I get some of the driver frustration issues and as a respectful cyclist I get ticked off when I see irresponsible or inconsiderate behavior but lets not get confused about the fact rolling a stop sign on a bike poses what 1/10th the risk of someone driving aggressively or texting while driving a 2 ton vehicle moving at 60 kp/h. We have to try not to confuse behaviors with the magnitude and or likelihood of the potential outcome.
    Second in the recent Vancouver cycling safety study it was found that over 94% of accidents between cars and bikes was due to CARELESS DRIVING. This is in Vancouver which has far more bike lanes and accommodation for bikes than most other cities in Canada. So poor cyclist behavior isn’t the elephant in the room….
    Most cyclists would be happy concede that bikes and cars sharing the same road space is probably a big part of that number and a frustration of both parties. But the solution isn’t get off the road or get into a car – any driver who thinks bikes are going away given the climate change isn’t thinking things through. A big part of the solution is user parity where cyclists have equal access to safe network of separated bike lanes and trails with roadway safety standards that are on par with what is provided to other motorized vehicles – and what should have been built and envisioned in the first place. Building cities around the use of cars has cost us a fortune, led to uncontrolled urban sprawl and will be one of the biggest challenges we face in North America to fix over the next few decades…

  7. They have legal right to road space and pay for it but it often isn’t very safe or good for training on! Some will be idiots and have bad judgement cause their human, it isn’t a mode specific fault. I know I would have second thoughts about cycling in most of the GHTA (I live in Vancouver now) which is part of the reason why when I visit I stick to the trails or quiet rural roads. If I lived there I would be directing that kind of concern to City Hall and saying don’t ever plan our cities around just cars again! Build people somewhere safe to train, ride or get to work etc. I like Hamilton but the quality of life and economic stability there would skyrocket with more major improvements to walking, biking and transit.

  8. Few cyclists adhere to the rules of the road.Most think they are entitled and /or more privileged than the motorist.There should be more bodies on the road from these low life idiots. They ‘re very lucky more deaths or injuries aren’t happening .This is .akin to motorists good defensive driving skill’s , and the need for their own survival.Only an idiot with boarder line suicidal tendencies would ride or train on any major roadway due to poor air quality and thousands of pounds of speeding metal with in a few feet or inches of them.Sadly we even see the stupidity in cyclists with small children putting them at risk as well,how stupid is that wow.
    . Furthermore cyclists have NO INSURANCE to cover any costs to a driver s medical and vehicle damage should the cyclist cause an accident.Cyclists have no business being on any major roadway period.They pay zero dollars toward the maintenance of these roads while motorists are taxed though the roof through fuel costs and motor vehicle registration costs,non of which the cyclists contribute too.Again they have no business on major roadways period.

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