A gruesome reminder of why your bike has bar end plugs

Teenager partially degloves penis and inverts scrotum in horrific bike accident

Closeup of a restaurant cook cutting carrots into slices.

A case report published by The BMJ describes the hideous injuries sustained by a 14-year-old boy when he crashed his bike into a parked car and was impaled on his own handlebars.


According to IFL Science, who picked up the story, the unfortunate youth “was cycling one-handed at walking pace along pavement while holding a drink” when the incident took place.

He suffered “an extensive left groin injury” with a laceration that “ran for 12–14cm from the left groin across the pubis to the right and 10cm inferiorly into the perineum” which “inverted the left scrotum and partially degloved the penis”.

If you’re not sure what degloving involves, I highly recommend that you don’t Google it. Just typing that last paragraph made me feel slightly faint.

It’s not completely clear whether or not the young man’s handlebars were fitted with bar end plugs but, given the nature of his injuries, it seems highly likely that he was lacking at least one.

Bar-end plug in drop handlebar
This little plastic plug could save you from a world of pain in the event of a crash.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

Plugs (or a grip that covers the ends of the bar) won’t prevent you from hurting yourself, but they greatly reduce the likelihood of parts of your bike ending up inside your body – I think we can all agree that a bit of blunt force trauma is preferable to a full-fledged core sample.

Mercifully, the holey child appears to have made a full recovery, although it remains unclear “whether the injury will affect his sexual function”.


For goodness sake, please replace your bar end plugs when you lose one.