Bikes have a long history as beautiful specimens for human transport — fun to ride and damn good looking, too. Helmets, however? They'll protect your skull from being smashed on the pavement, but are pretty widely reviled from a fashion standpoint. People often don't wear 'em because, well... they just don't look cool. So, question: would you be more inclined to be street safe if your helmet was a one-off work of art?
Belle Helmets is the brainchild of illustrator Danielle Baskin, who believes that hipping up the accessory will encourage more people to strap one on. Using non-toxic acrylic paints and water-based varnishes, Baskin adorns the CPSC-certified gear with everything from plaids to maps to pineapples. Some of these are admittedly very, very goofy — this denim model brings new meaning "butthead" — but some are super nice (I'm I'm partial to Klee and the composition book-esque Snow). She also does custom orders, so perhaps you could send her a pic and she'd do a realistic depiction of your own hair — a little trompe l'oeil magic.
At $180 to $US300, they're clearly for style-conscious folks with some big time cash to burn, but maybe the massive investment would act as added encouragement to roll safely out there, lest you bang up your noggin-covering masterpiece. UPDATE: Danielle emailed to say she's changing her process around and currently crowdfunding to offer a selection of goods at a more affordable $US75. Pre-order here. [SwissMiss]