Abdominal injuries caused by bicycle handlebars

Eur J Surg. 2001 May;167(5):331-3. doi: 10.1080/110241501750215177.


Objective: To find out whether the increase in the number of children admitted with injuries from mountain bicycle handlebars is attributed to recent changes in the design of children's bicycles.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: Teaching general hospital, Israel.

Subjects: 76 children who presented with abdominal injuries caused by bicycle handlebars.

Results: In 12 of the 76 children, there was an imprint of the handlebar edge on the hypochondrium. The most common injuries were isolated ruptures of spleen or liver, (14 and 11 patients, respectively). Five of the 25 patients were operated on and the rest treated conservatively.

Conclusions: Children with an imprint or bruise made by the handlebar edge on the abdominal wall, or who give a clear history of injuries by a bicycle handlebar should be treated with great care. BMX handlebars are relatively high (for young riders) and wide; they also turn freely and are therefore in direct line with the upper abdomen. Prohibiting the use of bicycles with unpadded handlebars may prevent some of these intra-abdominal injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / injuries
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rupture
  • Splenic Rupture / etiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology