Bicycle Safety and Licenses

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by [email protected], Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Dave Lehnen

    Dave Lehnen Guest

    Brian Huntley wrote:
    >
    > Sheldon Brown wrote:
    >
    >>And by the way, what about the breathtakingly cynical hypocrisy of using
    >>the name "Patriot Act" for a law that has NOTHING to do with patriotism?

    >
    >
    > Isn't PATRIOT some bizarre Orwellian/Stalinesque acronym in this case?
    >


    Never heard that, but it reminds me that "Operation Iraqi Freedom"
    was going to be "Operation Iraqi Liberation", until someone realized
    what the acronym would be.

    Dave Lehnen
     


  2. Dave Lehnen wrote:
    >
    > Never heard that, but it reminds me that "Operation Iraqi Freedom"
    > was going to be "Operation Iraqi Liberation", until someone realized
    > what the acronym would be.


    :) Terrific! I move we begin using that immediately!

    - Frank Krygowski
     
  3. Arthur Harris wrote:

    > No, I'm not in favor of licensing, but I am in favor of enforcement.
    > "Dustoyevsky" was minimizing the impact of cyclist misbehavior.


    "Tom Paterson" in the real world. The "impact" is much, much less when
    less than 300 lbs. is compared to minimum ten times that, cyclist v.
    auto.

    I've seen a few chain reaction MV collisions, very very few, over the
    fifty years or so I've been out and aware. I doubt cyclists caused any
    of them, again just by a numbers (cars v. bikes) comparison.

    FWIW, I've posted in this ng recently (a "messenger" thread) pretty
    strongly disparaging cyclists who break traffic laws, specifically on
    the point of "bad public relations" thus engendered with MV operators,
    who IME do take out their anger on law abiders (for example, "me",
    riding solo) when opportunity presents. From time to time, in your
    newspaper as well as mine, you will see the sentiment expressed that
    since bicyclists are such a lawless bunch, they deserve whatever
    "happens" to them out on the street. This behavior might fall in the
    "asshole" category I mentioned earlier, but that makes little
    difference when someone is threatening or actually running into you out
    on the street. --TP
     
  4. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 15 Jul 2005 20:11:08 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

    >FWIW, I've posted in this ng recently (a "messenger" thread) pretty
    >strongly disparaging cyclists who break traffic laws, specifically on
    >the point of "bad public relations" thus engendered with MV operators,
    >who IME do take out their anger on law abiders (for example, "me",
    >riding solo) when opportunity presents. From time to time, in your
    >newspaper as well as mine, you will see the sentiment expressed that
    >since bicyclists are such a lawless bunch, they deserve whatever
    >"happens" to them out on the street. This behavior might fall in the
    >"asshole" category I mentioned earlier, but that makes little
    >difference when someone is threatening or actually running into you out
    >on the street. --TP


    The problem, of course, is that as with any other activity, merely
    attempting to deal with the misbehavior by increasing the number of
    ways in which it is proscripted has little, no, or sometimes
    *negative* effect on the most flagrant offenders. Absent fair and
    rational enforcement, a regulation is without value or consequence;
    misapplied, it's often worse than the behavior it purports to curb.
    Given the small percentage of the population of the US that actually
    rides a bike on a regular basis, I do not believe that there is any
    need for or benefit to be derived from additional restrictions on
    cycling; indeed, we need to promote the activity instead, by every
    means practical. The more people we can get out there riding, the
    sooner we will be able to take cycling out of the "specialty group"
    status and move it to the mainstream...and if that can be done, a lot
    of the criticisms of *normal* cycling necessities will vanish. Sadly,
    if that occurs, we probably *will* see some move made to enact a form
    of cyclist registration system, since as the cycling population grows,
    so too will the number and manner of interactions that generate issues
    for law enforcement. At that point, though, the entire dynamic will
    have changed, and we won't be operating under the same conditions that
    we are now. I can't say whether licenses will make more sense at that
    point, but perhaps we shall see. As fuel prices continue to climb, I
    have to think that there will gradually be less reliance on
    automobiles and more on alternate forms of transport like bikes.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  5. Jay Beattie

    Jay Beattie Guest

    That's why I said American common law and not English common law. See
    e.g. Mahoney v. Ashton, 4 H. & McH. 295 Md.Gen. 1799 (rejecting
    Somerset). There is an overlap between the two, but it is not
    complete. -- Jay Beattie.
     
  6. Werehatrack wrote:
    > The more people we can get out there riding, the
    > sooner we will be able to take cycling out of the "specialty group"
    > status and move it to the mainstream...and if that can be done, a lot
    > of the criticisms of *normal* cycling necessities will vanish. Sadly,
    > if that occurs, we probably *will* see some move made to enact a form
    > of cyclist registration system, since as the cycling population grows,
    > so too will the number and manner of interactions that generate issues
    > for law enforcement.


    If cycling in America were to grow tremendously, I think we'd see
    somewhat better enforcement of cycling laws, but I don't think we'd see
    a license or bike registration requirement. I can't think of a reason
    those would make more sense, in terms of benefits vs. detriments. In
    fact, it's easier to check for licenses when you have ten cyclists in a
    town, versus 10,000.

    Any readers from the bike-centric northern European countries? Do you
    have license and registration requirements there?

    - Frank Krygowski
     
  7. Werehatrack wrote:

    > Given the small percentage of the population of the US that actually
    > rides a bike on a regular basis, I do not believe that there is any
    > need for or benefit to be derived from additional restrictions on
    > cycling; indeed, we need to promote the activity instead, by every
    > means practical. The more people we can get out there riding, the
    > sooner we will be able to take cycling out of the "specialty group"
    > status and move it to the mainstream...and if that can be done, a lot
    > of the criticisms of *normal* cycling necessities will vanish.


    Which will happen only when cars, and driving them, become really
    unafford(sorry)able to the $5/hr working class. Some say that's coming
    pretty soon; something I hope I and my children never see.

    Something else I wish I hadn't seen:

    <http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2005-05-20/pols_feature4.html>

    (Opinion/rhetoric dept.):
    This stupidity is the result of pie-in-the-sky thinking about
    "bike-only lanes", where certain "planners" tried to take away street
    (curbside) parking from residents along what was once perhaps the best
    bike route in Austin, speaking as a 20-year resident. "Restriping", had
    not residents gone up in arms, would have resulted in a wacky
    "alternate parking" scheme, where the two traffic lanes plus two bike
    lanes would have swerved from side to side of the street, with "tough
    s***" for some and homefront street parking for others. IOW, an attempt
    to hijack what could be regarded as property rights in the name of...
    progress??? Fixing something that wasn't broken?

    BTW, the article mentions "50mph" traffic. This road roughly parallels
    a creek bed; it twists and turns irregularly, and has several stop
    signs and two stop lights along the way. I don't have a speed gun but
    I've just never seen traffic speed per se as a problem on this street,
    and sincerely doubt the veracity of those who claim that 50mph traffic
    is a regular occurrence.

    Also noted: in taking count a couple of times, there were more traffic
    islands on the route than cars parked at the curb. The trees (growing
    crepe myrtles *on purpose*???) are already beginning to branch out into
    the bike path at eye/head level.

    Short but sweet: no, bike-only lanes are not "the answer", esp. when
    residents and the driving public see their turf taken away to establish
    them.

    They could have "fixed" it with one solid paint stripe and one dashed
    line paint stripe on each side of the road. --TP
     
  8. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > While riding around the past several days I've noticed some amazingly
    > unsafe riding by what I assume are not serious cyclists. I saw a rider
    > ride through a red light into a busy intersection while several cars
    > stayed stopped at a green to keep from hitting him. I saw riders
    > riding down the wrong way on a one way street against traffic. I
    > routinely saw riders blast off the sidewalk through the intersection
    > without looking or stopping. Further, these where the majority of the
    > cyclists I saw while riding through my neighborhood.
    >
    > All of this made me think that bicycle safety statistics have almost no
    > meaning to the serious cyclist. After all what does the accident rate
    > of this group have to do withj the way I ride ? Alligator hunting is
    > probably as relevant.
    >
    > It also made me think about why drivers get so angry with cyclists. And
    > once again, these drivers' anger spill over to safe cyclists. How do
    > people feel about licenses to ride a bike ?
    >


    If you look at a classic study like the "Cross study" on John Forester's
    site:

    <http://www.johnforester.com/Articles/Safety/Cross01.htm>

    You'll see that in terms of causing bike/M-V collisions by failure to
    stop/yield at controlled intersections, the fault of M-V operators and
    cyclists is nearly equal, and it's not a large source of collisions
    (about 16% for total of both types). This is typical, with cyclist fault
    and motorist fault roughly equal across the board in all types of crashes.

    Bike/M-V collision is only one type of crash, and not the dominant one
    either. I know lots of people hurt in bike crashes, only a few involved
    a M-V. The "Moritz" study hosted on Ken Kifer's site summarizes this:
    <http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/Moritz2.htm>

    For serious crashes, M-V involvement is 24%, simple falls 38%.

    The FARS database summarizes fatality information for cyclists:
    <http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/finalReport.cfm?stateid=0&year=2003&title=People&title2=Pedalcyclists>

    Shows deaths from "failure to obey" (stop signs, signals, cops) at 8.2%
    in 2003, out of the 622 fatalities that year, 51 individuals. Not a
    *huge* problem.

    They give a breakdown by colliding vehicle. They provide no category for
    bikes (bike-bike collision) nor does the pedestrian report. I don't
    think it's very significant.

    The risk of M-V collision is often perceived as much greater than it is,
    both in absolute terms or relative to other hazards. The culpability
    of misdemeanoring cyclists is even more greatly exaggerated. In terms of
    all collisions, the Moritz study shows that cyclists are roughly as
    likely to run into stationary objects or each other as collide with
    M-V's. Many law-abiding cyclists are terrible in the skills department
    and crash a lot.

    If you're worried about safety (yours), the best thing to do is improve
    your own skills. If you're worried about others, put it in perspective.
    If you're worried about "public relations" put that in perspective, too.
    Licensing bikes is a really dumb idea from a number of perspectives, but
    the bottom line is that it's a non-solution to a non-problem.
     
  9. In article
    <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] wrote:

    [...]


    > It also made me think about why drivers get so angry with cyclists. And
    > once again, these drivers' anger spill over to safe cyclists. How do
    > people feel about licenses to ride a bike ?


    No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.
    Mandatory helmet laws. Bicycle ghettos. Ughhh.

    You want to do something? Remember that automobile drivers are
    frustrated. Whenever you have a chance exchange a smile and a
    greeting. When an automobile driver says something harsh, either
    ignore him or say something soft. Many is the a time a harsh word
    on the road came to a moment of understanding. Notice how many
    automobile drivers are well disposed toward bicycle riders.

    --
    Michael Press
     
  10. In article <[email protected]>,
    Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote:

    > On 14 Jul 2005 13:46:12 -0700, "Art Harris" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >mcahill wrote:
    > >> How do people feel about licenses to ride a bike ?

    > >
    > >I don't think it's practical or necessary. What's needed is
    > >enforcement. When scofflaw cyclists start getting traffic tickets,
    > >they'll think twice about running red lights.

    >
    > OTOH, what we *really* need IMO is more cops *riding* bikes in their
    > jobs. Houston has a fairly large bike squad which patrols primarily
    > in the downtown area and a few others. Not too surprisingly, the fact
    > that a good number of Houston cops are on bikes seems to have made the
    > force as a whole more reality-driven on the subject of traffic law
    > enforcement against both cyclists, and motor vehicle drivers who
    > ignore bikes.


    Amen.

    --
    Michael Press
     
  11. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 16 Jul 2005 08:40:38 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

    >
    >
    >Werehatrack wrote:
    >
    >> The more people we can get out there riding, the
    >> sooner we will be able to take cycling out of the "specialty group"
    >> status and move it to the mainstream...and if that can be done, a lot
    >> of the criticisms of *normal* cycling necessities will vanish.

    >
    >Which will happen only when cars, and driving them, become really
    >unafford(sorry)able to the $5/hr working class. Some say that's coming
    >pretty soon; something I hope I and my children never see.


    It may be a reality by the end of next year. Here in Houston, the
    emissions inspection requirements didn't take as many gas-guzzling old
    junkers out of service as the $2-per-gallon gas price, and the upward
    trend looks like it's going to continue. The big reason, of course,
    is that the demand for oil in China is increasing tremendously, with
    the predictable effect on market prices. Based on conservative
    projections of their demand, absent a major downturn in both the US
    and Chinese economies, we're probably looking at prohibitive gas
    pricing in the US for minimum-wage drivers by the middle of next year.
    For that matter, we're already at that point for some of them. Kids
    that live in the deep suburbs are already starting to carpool
    intensively according to my high-school-age daughter, and the urban
    dwellers have begun using both carpooling and busses where previously
    they'd all have met up at a given destination with individual
    vehicles.

    >Something else I wish I hadn't seen:
    >
    ><http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2005-05-20/pols_feature4.html>
    >
    >(Opinion/rhetoric dept.):
    >This stupidity is the result of pie-in-the-sky thinking about
    >"bike-only lanes", where certain "planners" tried to take away street
    >(curbside) parking from residents along what was once perhaps the best
    >bike route in Austin, speaking as a 20-year resident.


    Yeah, that's a looney one. There was some griping when Heights Blvd
    here in Houston got restriped to make the shoulder lanes on both sides
    into a dedicated very wide parking and bike lane, with just the left
    lane for motor vehicle traffic in motion, but it has worked out pretty
    well. The automobile traffic level is pretty much the same as it was
    before, and there are quite a few bikes as well.

    >BTW, the article mentions "50mph" traffic. This road roughly parallels
    >a creek bed; it twists and turns irregularly, and has several stop
    >signs and two stop lights along the way. I don't have a speed gun but
    >I've just never seen traffic speed per se as a problem on this street,
    >and sincerely doubt the veracity of those who claim that 50mph traffic
    >is a regular occurrence.


    Here in my neighborhood, we had two or three people who were trying
    their damndest to get speed humps installed on our street.
    Firtunately, the city changed the rules a while back, and the first
    step in the process is now the collection of a signed request for
    speed humps from the majority of the residents on the street involved.
    they didn't even get close to that number of assents. had they
    collected the signatures, though, the city would have then come out
    and set up two traffic monitoring systems to measure the 8actual*
    speeds of trafic...and if no more than a small percentage of the
    traffic was actually speeding, the request would get turned down. One
    of the porponents of the humps had tried to claim that we had cars
    hitting 40 to 45 mph regularly. I sat with a stopwatch at a
    convenient point just off the middle of the street for a couple of
    mornings and clocked the traffic coming through during the time of day
    when speeding was allegedly common; the fastest vehicle hit 36, and
    the average was 29. The limit is 30. I consider reports of rampant
    speeding as unproven and suspect unless verified by actual
    measurements.

    >Also noted: in taking count a couple of times, there were more traffic
    >islands on the route than cars parked at the curb. The trees (growing
    >crepe myrtles *on purpose*???) are already beginning to branch out into
    >the bike path at eye/head level.


    Crepe myrtles are popular, but unless trimmed properly, they tend to
    branch out at all levels including head height (and below) on a
    cyclist.

    >Short but sweet: no, bike-only lanes are not "the answer", esp. when
    >residents and the driving public see their turf taken away to establish
    >them.


    They can be the answer when the circumstances permit better
    integration of them. On Heights Blvd, the residents actually gained
    greater usefulness of the parking in front of their lots when the
    street was restriped, because the single lane of motor traffic is now
    far enough from the parked cars to allow much safer and easier access
    to the driver's door. An example of a *bad* implementation is Clay
    Rd, where the restriping just added a bike ;lane at the right curb on
    a street that wasn't overly wide to begin with, and made both motor
    traffic lanes uncomfortably narrow in the process. I see very few
    cyclists using that badly-encroached bike lane as a result.

    >They could have "fixed" it with one solid paint stripe and one dashed
    >line paint stripe on each side of the road. --TP


    Assuming there's room for both, which isn't always the case.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  12. Rob Shields

    Rob Shields Guest

    On Sun, 17 Jul 2005 06:17:02 +0000, Werehatrack wrote:

    > It may be a reality by the end of next year. Here in Houston, the
    > emissions inspection requirements didn't take as many gas-guzzling old
    > junkers out of service as the $2-per-gallon gas price, and the upward
    > trend looks like it's going to continue.


    Fuel prices are 3 times that in
    the UK, but people are still intent on driving high-powered cars and
    SUVs. Public transport is not very good and cycling is not as popular as
    it could be.
     
  13. Quoting Chip C <[email protected]>:
    >Hmmm. Is the line in the sand more defensibly drawn at "operating a
    >powered vehicle" or "operating a machine of any type"? I'd never
    >propose requiring a license to pedestrianize your way about town, but
    >is a bike not more like a car than a pair of feet? Is the presence of a
    >motor the big deal, or the quantitative ability to cause damage and
    >injuries to others?


    The latter is proportional to mass times the square of velocity. You do
    the arithmetic.

    [Or, put another way; in the UK (for which the stats are readily
    available), incidents involving motor vehicles kill some 3,000 people
    every year. Incidents involving pedal cycles and no motor vehicles kill
    one or two.]
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
    Today is First Potmos, July.
     
  14. Pat

    Pat Guest

    :
    : Fuel prices are 3 times that in
    : the UK, but people are still intent on driving high-powered cars and
    : SUVs. Public transport is not very good and cycling is not as popular as
    : it could be.

    But, there is a "comfort" component as well. I live about 40 miles from DFW
    airport. One time, I decided to take public transportation to get to my
    house. It took me over 3 hours, riding a train and waiting for/changing to
    a bus and then switching to another bus---but I eventually got home with the
    monetary cost being only $1.75. I had to walk the last 6 blocks, but that
    was part of the trial, so I didn't mind (it was in the middle of the
    day--not at night).

    On the other hand, I can drive to the airport, pay about $8 to park, and
    then get in my air-conditioned car and come home in about an hour. No
    schlepping the bags about and hauling it into trains and buses. No having
    the exact change for the bus ride or standing at the kiosk to buy the train
    ticket and hope you get finished before the train arrives. No bus stopping
    every other block to pick up passengers. So, you pay your money and that
    save time and effort.

    Pat in TX
     
  15. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Mon, 18 Jul 2005 09:49:02 GMT, Rob Shields
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On Sun, 17 Jul 2005 06:17:02 +0000, Werehatrack wrote:
    >
    >> It may be a reality by the end of next year. Here in Houston, the
    >> emissions inspection requirements didn't take as many gas-guzzling old
    >> junkers out of service as the $2-per-gallon gas price, and the upward
    >> trend looks like it's going to continue.

    >
    >Fuel prices are 3 times that in
    >the UK, but people are still intent on driving high-powered cars and
    >SUVs. Public transport is not very good and cycling is not as popular as
    >it could be.


    Public transport in the UK in my experience was better than the
    average in the US, though that only held true for the major cities.
    As was the case when I was in England, public intra-city transport in
    the US is essentially nonexistent in many medium-size and smaller
    population centers. Houston is the fourth largest city in this
    country, and it takes longer to get downtown from my house via bus
    than via bike, even when you discount the time spent waiting for the
    bus. (It passes within two blocks of my door, but only runs once an
    hour; if you just missed it, a bike will make the round trip faster
    than the bus will get you to the other end.)

    Automobiles are the de facto mass transport system for the US at the
    moment, but as the cost of operation of them increases, there will be
    renewed interest in infrastructure-based mass transport to supplement
    on-demand private vehicles.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  16. Pat

    Pat Guest

    :
    : Automobiles are the de facto mass transport system for the US at the
    : moment, but as the cost of operation of them increases, there will be
    : renewed interest in infrastructure-based mass transport to supplement
    : on-demand private vehicles.
    :
    I doubt it, and I'll tell you why: because the cities in the U.S., except
    for the old port cities, did not "grow up" as did cities in Europe. Here in
    Texas, it's all sprawl and why not? The land was available and not expensive
    and everyone wanted his own "space". Now, to go back and say, "You're going
    to have to demand mass transportation" is a nice thought; a worthwhile
    thought, but people here don't have that mindset. After all, people in
    Europe couldn't just pack up and move west when the cities got crowded... We
    have this "T" between Dallas and Fort Worth, and it is a great ride, nice
    and cheap, but ridership is woeful. You could buy a ticket from Fort Worth
    to Dallas on this new, modern train for $4. Hell, that might even be round
    trip, for all I know! You can go from DFW to Dallas for $1.75 AND get free
    transfers for the buses after that. But, people just don't "think" about
    mass transit as being necessary for them---they just wish other people would
    ride it so that there would be fewer cars on the road to bother with.

    Pat
     
  17. Chip C wrote in part:

    > ... Rather than
    > licenses I'd prefer a massive advertising campaign along the lines of
    > "bikes belong on the road and they'd damn well better act like it"
    > accompanied by a crackdown on crummy cycling *and* bike-unfriendly
    > motoring (ideally, as others have mentioned, by cops on bikes).


    Today, while busting a red light, I exchanged hello
    waves with a bike cop, who was riding on the sidewalk.

    Robert
     
  18. [email protected] wrote:
    > While riding around the past several days I've noticed some amazingly
    > unsafe riding by what I assume are not serious cyclists. I saw a rider
    > ride through a red light into a busy intersection while several cars
    > stayed stopped at a green to keep from hitting him. I saw riders
    > riding down the wrong way on a one way street against traffic. I
    > routinely saw riders blast off the sidewalk through the intersection
    > without looking or stopping. Further, these where the majority of the
    > cyclists I saw while riding through my neighborhood.
    >
    > All of this made me think that bicycle safety statistics have almost no
    > meaning to the serious cyclist. After all what does the accident rate
    > of this group have to do withj the way I ride ? Alligator hunting is
    > probably as relevant.
    >
    > It also made me think about why drivers get so angry with cyclists. And
    > once again, these drivers' anger spill over to safe cyclists. How do
    > people feel about licenses to ride a bike ?


    A license will not prevent stupidity. These people know the correct
    thing to do, just don't do it.
     
  19. Quoting Rob Shields <[email protected]>:
    >Fuel prices are 3 times that in
    >the UK, but people are still intent on driving high-powered cars and
    >SUVs. Public transport is not very good and cycling is not as popular as
    >it could be.


    Well, yes and no; the distances here are not as silly, even the biggest
    4x4 land barges here are not nearly as big as in the US, and our public
    transport is lousy compared to the Continent, but better than in the USA.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Distortion Field!
    Today is First Teleute, July.
     
  20. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 19 Jul 2005 14:42:43 +0100 (BST), David Damerell
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Quoting Rob Shields <[email protected]>:
    >>Fuel prices are 3 times that in
    >>the UK, but people are still intent on driving high-powered cars and
    >>SUVs. Public transport is not very good and cycling is not as popular as
    >>it could be.

    >
    >Well, yes and no; the distances here are not as silly, even the biggest
    >4x4 land barges here are not nearly as big as in the US, and our public
    >transport is lousy compared to the Continent, but better than in the USA.


    Correct on all counts, and I'll add one. In large parts of the US, an
    adult who relies on mass transportation for local transit is regarded
    as a second-class citizen. Using inter-city busses for transport is
    regarded as being fungible with living in a trailer[1] and keeping
    dogs under the porch.


    [1] "trailer" is a term of disparagement itself; the more polite name
    is "mobile home", and the genteel phrasing is "manufactured housing",
    though there are some who contend that the latter designation should
    be reserved solely for those units which are not designed to be
    transportable a second time. There is an embedded belief in US
    folklore that aggregations of mobile homes are an attractant for
    tornadoes.

    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
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