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  1. #1
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Bicycle handlebars pose serious health risk to children


  2. #2
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Great... another reason for kids not ride bikes. Retractable handlebars??? Come on... what's next rubber frames? The reason kids are getting hurt is beacuse they're trying to be Dave Mirra. Let's just go ahead and shift the blame from the kids and parents and blame it on a inanimate object which has beem mostly unchanged for years. Now if you want an idea that makes sense look at the grips on this kiddie bike.

    Last edited by Raiyn; 09-12-02 at 07:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    So let's see, what's the biggest risk? Handlebars or child-obesity caused by inactivity.

    I didn't bother to find out who wrote this article, nor do I particularly care. After all, naming trolls only makes them happy.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  4. #4
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    Won't be long before you can buy a Minaura space bar to fit on your handlebars with optional co2 powered airbag attachment!!
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

    1985 Custom built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
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  5. #5
    Oh God, He's back! 1oldRoadie's Avatar
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    So if the "energy absorbing handldebar" is not properly adjusted the handle bar doesn't stop the kid when he hits it and he does a FULL FACIAL onto the payment?

    The doctor is correct, it is much better to trade a stomach injury for a head injury.
    I can't ride and Frown!

  6. #6
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    I'm convinced people are intentionally trying to turn kids into ******* nowadays...

    I telling you, there will be a day when kids will have to wear helmets just to walk around or play in the yard.

    Pussification. That's my new invented word of the day.
    "Alright Brain, you don't like me, and I don't like you. But lets just do this, and I can get back to killing you with beer. " Homer

  7. #7
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Within months this study will no doubt form the basis for a lawsuit against bicycle manufacturers.

    Within weeks, there will no doubt be at least one additional warning label on kid's bikes.

    No doubt the increased costs will soon be passed on to each of us who purchases a bicycle, parts or accessories.

    Perhaps several bicycle manufacturers, distributors or retailers will be driven from business by the 1100 sets of parents who will take home a million bucks or so each while many cycling related employees will be destitute.

    The media will speak of the evils of the bicycle and report the sensational awards to the "victims." No details however will be shared regarding the fact that the "victim" actually ran a stop sign at the bottom of a hill and ended up under a dump truck with the right of way while the parents were standing atop the hill laughing as their helmetless victim careened to doom. Highly paid accident reconstructionists will determine that one of the child's body parts contacted the handlebar during the accident and the parents will reap millions.

    Ceertainly the lawyers, who will claim they are just trying to make bicycling safer and are not interested at all in the monetary issues of the case, will donate all their proceeds to the League of American Cyclists.

    I'm not at all cynical.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  8. #8
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    Hopefully it won't go that far. how come there are no warnings about the dangers of staying indoors all day and eating cheesies while playing video games?

    Pussification! I like that word! A few years ago I came up with "goobification" referring to the increasing popularity of RPGS and videogames, and the trend toward ******/slacker lifestyles i.e. dressing like Beck or Gilligan, being couch-potatoes, eating kiddy food, etc.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  9. #9
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    I think that this article is a bit out-of-line, in that it is not telling the whole story. I think, and I may be mistaken, but I think the problem is not really handlebars, but bar ends for mountain bikes placed on the handlebars.

    I have seen reports (but don't currently have them) saying that bar ends which are pointed up can produce these kinds of abdominal injuries. Many people place these bar ends in an upward, or even up and back, position. In a collision, the body moves forward and impacts the point of the bar end, and causes the abdominal injury.

    If you have a bicycle with bar ends, especially with kids bicycles that are assembled in department stores, be sure that the bar ends are pointed forward, preferably with not much upwards tilt, so that in in an accident, the body will go over the bars, and not impact the end of the bar ends.

    _____________

    I posted the above prior to supper, and Brian and I talked about the subject. Brian told me that the new BMX bicycles have short, stubby handlebars which allow them to do the tricks in the air, including twirling the wheel 360 degrees. If someone were to do this, and not make it right before hitting the ground, the end of the bar can be pointed at the abdomen with the wheel sidewise to the bike, a guaranteed crash. This too would cause the abdominal injuries mentioned above.

    I'm going to do a bit more research, and see what the study actually does say.

    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-13-02 at 10:10 PM.
    John Ratliff

  10. #10
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Also, make sure you have plugs on your drop bars! I saw a guy get "plugged" when he crashed his road bike. The bar took a plug sample right from his stomach, about 3/4" deep! It was really really bad; I would hate to see it happen to anyone else.

  11. #11
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Well, it pays to take the time to research a topic before posting! My wife told me to be careful about how I answered this topic, so that what I said would have some authority. Good advise, and well received here.

    This is a serious topic, well researched, and well supported. I was able to get a copy of the actual study, "Protecting the child's abdomen: a retractable bicycle handlebar," by Kristy B. Arbogast, Jeremy Cohen, Luis Otoya and Flaur K Winston, from the publication Accident Analysis & Prevention, #33, (2001) 751-757. Here is a quote from the study.

    Impact with the handlebar in slow speed bicycling crashes has been identified as a mechanism of life threatening truncal injuries in children. A 30-year period of study of children's abdominal injuries (348 cases) showed that the predominant causes (104 cases) of abdominal injury in children age 6-10 years was bicycle accidents...In a study at a pediatric trauma center from 1980 to 1994, the largest percentage (27%) of pancreatic injury in children was a direct result of bicycle handlebars...A recent report documented a fatal delayed rupture of the abdominal aorta due to impact with the bicycle handlebar...
    A multi-institutional study of child bicyclist injuries using the National Pediatric Trauma Registry as a data sourse revealed that ten percent of the bicyclists enrolled impacted the handlebars and that none of those that impacted the handlebars sustained a head injury. Furthermore, of all children without head injuries, 22% of the injuries were due to handlebar impact...
    The paper goes on to document the injuries. They are terrible injuries! Here's a list of six that were summarized: severed kidney, bruised pancreas; splenic laceration (3 cases); liver laceration (2 cases).

    Please remember that these are low speed impacts (walking speed, the calculations of impact forces were at 6.4 kph), and that the injuries are really, really bad for children.

    I hope this gives some perspective concerning the article in the first part of this thread.

    I picked up a kid who had just fallen at somewhat higher speed last Tuesday. His parents were walking on the sidewalk, and the two children were riding bicycles down the street. He fell at about 8 mph, while using a bicycle with training wheels. I was bicycling right behind him at the time, and stopped just after the crash. The bicycle wheel had turned is just the way mentioned above, but he had not impacted the handlebar. The bicycle was on top of him, and he was on his back, stunned. He was about 5 or 6 years old. I took the bike off him, and did an initial evaluation.

    Luckily, he had sustained no injuries that I could determine, but this was the exact scenario mentioned by this paper. It is common, and foreseeable, that these accidents will occur. These are physicians who not only identified the problem, but then proposed a solution, basically a shock-absorbing handlebar end using an a dampening grease and sping setup. I think this is a great idea, and that bicycle manufacturers should take note of it.


    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-14-02 at 10:00 AM.
    John Ratliff

  12. #12
    bac
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    Originally posted by Joe Gardner
    Also, make sure you have plugs on your drop bars! I saw a guy get "plugged" when he crashed his road bike. The bar took a plug sample right from his stomach, about 3/4" deep! It was really really bad; I would hate to see it happen to anyone else.
    Good point! I crashed my mountain bike, and my finger found out the hard way - plugs are good - bare metal is BAD. This incident happened in 1999, and I still have the scar to prove it!

  13. #13
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    "In one year, more than 1,100 children in the United States suffered serious internal organ injuries due to bicycle crashes not involving motor vehicles," states Dr. Flaura Winston, M.D., Ph.D., the study's lead author and director of TraumaLink, an interdisciplinary pediatric injury control research center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
    1,100? really?

    hrm.

    565,000 children are seriously injured by their parents each year.
    http://www.brightfutures4kids.org/abusestatistic.html

    174,000,000 children (worldwide) under the age of five suffer from malnutrition
    http://www.freedonation.com/children/children_stats.php3


    i think there are other things we should be worrying about rather than bicycle handlebars.
    i ride bikes.

  14. #14
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Originally posted by fore
    .....565,000 children are seriously injured by their parents each year.
    http://www.brightfutures4kids.org/abusestatistic.html
    Sadly those are just the reported cases


  15. #15
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    I actually got 'plugged' sort of when I was a kid. I was about 8 and had a second hand bike. The handlebars were covered, but the ends, for whatever reason, weren't. They had torn off or whatever, so the metal rim was exposed. One day I fell and crashed and the end poked into my stomach. Not INTO, but the metal end cut deeply enough into the skin that it left a circular cut- a round red circle. It was bleeding, but not that bad. However, it really hurt- like I'd been punched. I remember bawling, thinking that it had punched a hole in my stomach and the food would all come out (I'd actually read a story where that happened to a man who'd been shot- don't ask, it was some old book that was lying around the house). It left a scar, but it's nearly invisible now. I think after that we covered up the handlebars but can't remember.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  16. #16
    Oh God, He's back! 1oldRoadie's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wabbit
    ....I remember bawling, thinking that it had punched a hole in my stomach and the food would all come out .......
    The Big question??????

    Were you crying because it hurt, or that you would scar or that you were going to lose the food?
    I can't ride and Frown!

  17. #17
    Year-round cyclist
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    I find there are many design problems with children's bikes, and many of them lead to falls, and sometimes injuries. Maybe if children bikes looked more like scaled down adult bikes, there would be less problems.

    Some problems :

    - Training wheels. Yes, I know they are optional, but current ones are much narrower and more flimsy than the ones I had as a child (I digged them out and measured). Even with those, the wheelbase is too narrow and it's easy to flip on the side at 2 km/h.
    Well, that was a good reason to prevent my daughter from using them, so she learned to cycle (2-wheels mode) at 4.

    - Very high bottom bracket and long crancks. How come bikes with 16" wheels come with 165-mm cranks and wide (standard-width) pedals? With the 25-degree-tilt requirement, it means a very high bottom bracket, which means the saddle is either low for safe starts, or high for safe pedalling. A bike with 16" wheels should have a bottom bracket very close to the ground, say at 180 mm, so that it's easy to start and stop under full control.

    - Too high handlebars. I know many kids prefer the fully upright position, and it's easier to start cycling that way, but it's almost impossible to puncture your abdomen or chest with road bars or even with the type of straight bars in use 25 years ago. Why? because they were too low for that.

    Regards,
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  18. #18
    It's in my blood Pete Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mgagnonlv
    I find there are many design problems with children's bikes, and many of them lead to falls, and sometimes injuries.
    It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to buy a safe bike for their child. As Mgagnonlv points out, there are problems with kids' bikes, whether through design--as he mentioned--or assembly.
    Children's bikes are sold (and bought) as toys. Parents need a "heads up" warning that their child can be hurt on a bike improperly designed or assembled.

    I am guilty of buying a bike a few years back from Toys-R-Them that had a non-working handbrake. (Even if the brake did work, I question a handbrake needing an iron grip on a bike designed with training wheels, anyhow.)

    Fortunately, the bike was equipped with "foot" brakes.
    Next in line

  19. #19
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    1) I'll bet good old aluminum drop bars (3 of my 4 bikes) would cause much less damage in the scenario described, because the body would strike a far larger area at correspondingly lower average pressure.
    2) By the same argument, properly-installed bar ends (1 of my 4 bikes and both sons' bikes) should reduce the damage inflicted by straight mountain bike handlebars.


    --- We have met the enemy, and it is our own paranoid risk-aversion.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  20. #20
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    It's true about kids bikes. I see kids on bikes that are way too big for them- they are barely able to reach the handlebars or control the bikes, or they wear helmets that are too big for their heads and are practically obscuring their vision. And plenty of times I see kids out riding bikes without any awareness of what's around them- careering down the street the wrong way, riding really fast on the sidewalk, not even paying attention while they wobble along. Maybe parents could teach their kids safety!
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  21. #21
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wabbit
    It's true about kids bikes. I see kids on bikes that are way too big for them ... I see kids out riding bikes without any awareness of what's around them ... Maybe parents could teach their kids safety!
    If the typical parent knew anything about bicycle safety and the principles of vehicular cycling, I would concur. Some parents never cycle with their kids; others teach very bad habits by example.


    I see a huge need for better motorist, adult cyclist, and child traffic safety instruction.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  22. #22
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    My 7yr old niece has a lovely little bike bought from a French sports department store. It has a low bottom bracket, short cranks and allow crankset, rims and hubs with proper ball bearings. You just cant get bikes of that quality in the UK.

    Almost every little rider I see is strugling to pedal those extra-long cranks, with their knees almost hitting their chin. They are perched so high up that starting and stopping are difficult. Whenever they stop, their over-sized helmets fall from the top of their head over their eyes, so they take a hand off the bars to push it back and fall over.
    More and more kids seem to be using those minature, perfectly proportioned, battery powered electric cars to ride up and down the seafront bike path.

  23. #23
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    I realize that these handlebar injuries are not the greatest threat to children's health that there is, such as American football (not soccor) has shown to be. But there are some product safety principles to discuss, which do not governed by the numbers of injuries, but rather by product liability laws in the United States. The following is from a table titled "Grounds for Injury and Damage Claims" in the book Product Safety Management and Engineering, 2nd Edition by Willie Hammer, published by the American Society of Safety Engineers, ISBN# 0-939874-90-3, 1993, page 5:

    Type of Claim: Breach Of Express Warranty
    Principle: Defendant is liable if injury is caused by a breach of an oral or written promise that the product will perform in any specific way, it does not and an injury results.
    Plaintiff Must Prove: 1. A contract (Privity) existed between Defendant and Plaintiff. 2. The Defendant made a specific promise. 3. There was a breach of the promise. 4. The breach of the promise resulted in the Plaintiff's injury.

    Type Of Claim: Breach Of Implied Warranty
    Principle: Products put on the market must be reasonably safe and fit for the ordinary purposes for which they are marketed.
    Plaintiff Must Prove: 1. The product was not reasonably safe for the purpose for which it was marketed. 2. The product had caused the injury or condition which led to the injury.

    Type Of Claim: Negligence
    Principle: A Manufacturer is obligated to exercise reasonable care in the design and manufacture of his product so that injury does not occur to a user or other person.
    Plaintiff Must Prove: 1. The product had a defective or harmful condition when it left the control of the Manufacturer, such as:
    --A concealed danger.
    --Failure to include needed safety devices in the design.
    --The design called for materials of inadequate strength.
    --A manufacturing defect.
    2. The defective or dangerous condition inthe product caused the injury. 3. THe harm was foreseeable to the Defendant. 4. The manufacturer did not take reasonable precautions to guard against the harm.

    Type Of Claim: Strict Liability
    Principle: The manufacturer can better sustain the loss from an accidental injury resulting from use of a product that(n) can the user, even if the Manufacturer was not negligent. No need for privity or for the Plaintiff to prove Defendant's negligence.
    Plaintiff Must Prove: 1. THe product had a defective condition. 2. The defect existed when it left the Defendant's control. 3. The defect made the product unreasonably dangerous. 4. The defect was the cause of the accident and injury.

    -------------

    It is because of the above principles that I said earlier in this thread that bicycle manufacturers need to pay attention to this study, and the paper published and cited in above posts. This hazard is now reasonable foreseeable, and manufacturers need to react to that fact.

    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-16-02 at 07:35 PM.
    John Ratliff

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    In the 1970s the Australian government banned the sale of pushbikes where the front wheel was smaller than the back (like the Schwinn Stingray or Raleigh Chopper, although I don't think they were ever sold here).

    A smaller front wheel, or an aggressive camber angle tends to make a bicycle oversteer and this can lead to bar end injuries. Also high riser bars are more difficult to control than flatter bars.

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