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Old 05-01-08, 06:24 AM   #1
piper_chuck
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N.C. has 900-plus crashes of bikes, vehicles annually

Article published on one of the local TV stations:
http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/2818384/

Raleigh, N.C. — Each year, more than 900 bicyclists are involved in wrecks with vehicles in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Transportation.

In honor of National Bicycle Safety Month in May, the state Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers to share the road.

Last week, Nancy Leidy, 60, died after police say a drunk driver hit her in Raleigh.

A "ghost bike" marks the crash scene. The white bikes are left by the side of the road to remind people of cyclists who lost their lives.

On Wednesday, a man was riding his bike at the corner of Millbrook and Falls of Neuse roads when he was hit by a car. He survived the crash, but it doesn’t always end that way.

Leidy was biking near Western Boulevard when North Carolina State University student Brian Reid hit her with his pickup truck, police said. Leidy later died at the hospital.

Reid was celebrating his 21st birthday and was drunk at the time of the crash, investigators said. He was charged with felony death by motor vehicle.

“There is no way I can forgive him for doing that, because he hurt a friend,” said Vince Foote, Leidy’s friend.

Most crashes between bicycles and vehicles in North Carolina happen between May and September, the state said.

To read about North Carolina's bicycle laws click here. To see bicycle crash data, click here.

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are compiled, there were 976 car-bike collisions reported.
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Old 05-01-08, 07:24 AM   #2
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Is alcohol a bigger factor in North Carolina than in the U.S. as a whole? Just curious ...
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Old 05-01-08, 08:17 AM   #3
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Based purely on anecdotal evidence here on BF, there's probably considerably more than 900. Remember, the article cites reported collisions. If you're a regular reader here you'll realize a lot go unreported.

John E., no idea how our alcohol-related collisions stack up against other states.
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Old 05-01-08, 08:39 AM   #4
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I also don't know about alcohol related collisions, but I do recall something published in the last couple weeks that said there are less drunk drivers here, based on surveys, than in many other states. However, since the study was apparently based on surveys, it's accuracy was somewhat questionable.

The fatality cited in the article was definitely alcohol related, the driver's alcohol level was .12. The accident happened around 11 on the morning of his 21st birthday.
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Old 05-01-08, 01:14 PM   #5
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This is the most detailed report on bike accidents I've seen. It's interesting to look at the breakdown by accident type, where control signal "ride/drive throughs" account for a significant number of accidents, while being right-hooked (what I always fear) is the cause of a relatively small number of accidents.

However, these are only the reported (thus presumably more severe) accidents, and having a car run a red light and hit you (or vice versa) is likely to be a more severe accident than a right hook, since the speeds involved in the drive outs are likely to be higher.

A significant number of these accidents involve children; it would also be interested to separate out the accidents involving adults from those involving children. I started to do so, but the website is fairly sluggish.
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Old 05-02-08, 02:50 AM   #6
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As usual the moronic comments from clueless drivers. Small wonder we don't have 9,000+ accidents a year in NC. As far as the drunk driver rates. I suspect that those surveys are worthless in that they don't address the illegal immigrants who are very large part of the total drunk driving problem. Also the arrest rate in NC is quite good, but the conviction rate is a joke, thanks to too many back room deals.

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Old 05-02-08, 07:32 AM   #7
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correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't N.Carolina's population over 8 million people?

I live in BC and our population is half that and we have about 900 car/bike collisions each year.

The most common injury is no injury but there are on average 6 deaths a year to cyclists, almost all the result of a collision with a motor vehicle and almost always the result of some pretty idiotic behavior on the bike (but to be fair, children and drunks make up a great portion of these deaths - can they be held accountable for being what they are?)
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Old 05-02-08, 02:05 PM   #8
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Based purely on anecdotal evidence here on BF, there's probably considerably more than 900. Remember, the article cites reported collisions. If you're a regular reader here you'll realize a lot go unreported....
Yes, the number likely gives a very incomplete picture of bike-car wrecks in NC, and it's certainly a drop in the bucket compared to all cyclist injuries that occur in the state, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with motor vehicles.

Also, the number does not seem to indicate a significantly greater accident rate than is seen in any other US state.

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Old 05-02-08, 03:35 PM   #9
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I never really worry too much about the unreported collisions because it's quite likely that those are of the type where there is not much harm done.

The 900 collisions that happen in BC are those which have been subject of a claim of loss (either property, eg damage to the bike, or injury). If there has been no damage or injury, there will be no claim.

If you fall on your own and receive medical attention, the doctor records it and it shows up in the stats.

So when people go on about unreported collisions, I liken it to getting up at night and stubbing your toe. There's no doubt it hurts, but it really isn't of any significance beyond the lessen you learn to avoid the circumstances that led to the stub so you don't do it again.

Isn't that something like, "Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it"?
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Old 05-02-08, 04:20 PM   #10
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I never really worry too much about the unreported collisions because it's quite likely that those are of the type where there is not much harm done.

The 900 collisions that happen in BC are those which have been subject of a claim of loss (either property, eg damage to the bike, or injury). If there has been no damage or injury, there will be no claim.

If you fall on your own and receive medical attention, the doctor records it and it shows up in the stats.

So when people go on about unreported collisions, I liken it to getting up at night and stubbing your toe. There's no doubt it hurts, but it really isn't of any significance beyond the lessen you learn to avoid the circumstances that led to the stub so you don't do it again.

Isn't that something like, "Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it"?
Basically I agree. My experience however is that many unreported cycling accidents are indeed quite significant, in terms of injury and property loss -- when you break your own bike due to your own wipe-out, nobody's insurance is going to rescue you. And I'm certainly not convinced that the bulk of cyclist visits to doctors for treatment of injuries related to bike crashes is recorded as such. In any case most of the riders I know wouldn't seek medical attention for a cycling injury unless there was a bone sticking out. I believe the overall risk of cycling eludes official records.

The number of cyclist ER and outpatient visits in the US hovers around one million per year, based on the best projections and estimates. I would wager that the number of insignificant injuries within that group is substantial, but is dwarfed by the number of significant injuries to cyclists who seek no medical attention whatsoever, although they should.

The number of riders injured in collision with a motor vehicle is about 10 - 20% of the total number of cyclist ER and outpatient visits. So NC should expect to see about 15,000 or so incidents per year of cyclists seeking medical treatment for solo wipeouts. That's a lot of collarbones.

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Old 05-02-08, 04:34 PM   #11
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maybe the differences in each countries medical systems shows in how injuries are reported. Socialized medicine may have it's advantages in record keeping.

In my province we even have 1 auto insurer (an oddity even in Canada) that allows a greater grasp on what our situation is and gives us a leg up in how we can improve it

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Old 05-02-08, 05:26 PM   #12
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I know that as a chiropractic physician, I treat many, many injuries from auto accidents and bicycle accidents. I can guarantee you that none of the injuries I treat get reported, simply because the government tries to ignore the chiropractic physician's existence as much as possible.

Now multiply that by 65,000 (the number of chiropractic doctors in the country), most of whom actually treat more of these types of injuries than I, since I do mostly primary care/internal medicine.

Yup. The amount of underreporting is huge.
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Old 05-02-08, 06:46 PM   #13
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Do you have any idea if cyclists have more, less or the same share of injuries that happen to the general populace? Just on volume alone, auto accidents must represent a far higher number of injuries. I'd imagine poor general life style practices must play a large role in seeing a chiropractor

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Old 05-03-08, 04:49 AM   #14
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Do you have any idea if cyclists have more, less or the same share of injuries that happen to the general populace? Just on volume alone, auto accidents must represent a far higher number of injuries. I'd imagine poor general life style practices must play a large role in seeing a chiropractor
You've got that right.

Patient: "Doc, how can I get my blood pressure down?"
Me: "Lose 20 pounds and start exercising."

Patient: "Doc, what can I do about my diabetes?"
Me: "Lose 20 pounds and start exercising."

Patient: "Doc, can you fix my bad back?"
Me: "I can't, but you can. Lose 20 pounds and start exercising."

In general, I see cyclists less for diseases, but more frequently for injuries. Conversely, most patients who are motorists are being treated for chronic, ambulatory diseases.

Me, I've made my choice. Give me the road rash over a heart attack, any day of the week.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:06 AM   #15
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You've got that right ... I've made my choice. Give me the road rash over a heart attack, any day of the week.
that's the way I see it too and it kind of irks me when people talk about the "dangers" or "injuries" associated with cycling because, although I'll say that cyclists may see more than their share of road rash than the general populace, I don't think it takes a great deal of common sense to conclude cycling does more to keep people healthy than it does to harm them and when people talk about the multitude of injuries both seen and unseen that cyclists suffer from, they're misrepresenting what cycling does for people.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:12 AM   #16
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Article published on one of the local TV stations:
http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/2818384/

Leidy was biking near Western Boulevard when North Carolina State University student Brian Reid hit her with his pickup truck

Reid was celebrating his 21st birthday and was drunk at the time of the crash

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are compiled, there were 976 car-bike collisions reported.

On average, 30 are killed and an additional 160 are seriously injured.
Geez, for the same number of collisions there are 30 deaths in NC vs. 6 deaths in BC.

A drunk in a pick up and most people are going to read this and think, it's the bicycle that's the dangerous thing here.


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Old 05-03-08, 09:09 AM   #17
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This is the most detailed report on bike accidents I've seen. It's interesting to look at the breakdown by accident type, where control signal "ride/drive throughs" account for a significant number of accidents, while being right-hooked (what I always fear) is the cause of a relatively small number of accidents.

However, these are only the reported (thus presumably more severe) accidents, and having a car run a red light and hit you (or vice versa) is likely to be a more severe accident than a right hook, since the speeds involved in the drive outs are likely to be higher.

A significant number of these accidents involve children; it would also be interested to separate out the accidents involving adults from those involving children. I started to do so, but the website is fairly sluggish.
A glaring defect in the methodology of the N.C. report is the short shrift given to the analysis of the severity of the injuries in the "crash" data. Without this crucial severity data little risk analysis can be credibly performed and the numbers are just raw data of little use in risk management.

A couple mentions are made that severe injuries (also described in one sentence as "disabling") occured in about 7% of the crashes but there is no information given if this is a uniform percentage across all the various cyclist, roadway, driver variables. Nor is there any definition given to the type of injuries that qualify as disabling/severe for the purposes of this study. For all we know the 90+% of the "crashes" that result non-fatal/non-disabling injuries may result in nothing more than road rash, and that the 7% disabling injuries could be made up of broken fingers and sprained wrists. Even the (easy to define) fatals crashes are not broken out for correlation in any way with the variables in the crash data.

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Old 05-03-08, 09:50 AM   #18
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Geez, for the same number of collisions there are 30 deaths in NC vs. 6 deaths in BC.

A drunk in a pick up and most people are going to read this and think, it's the bicycle that's the dangerous thing here.

That is exactly what they did.... Until NC and other states get unlicensed, drunk or other forms of illegal drivers off the roads it will continue to happen. One set of statistics that I saw showed that almost 1/3rd of drivers on the roads in NC are driving illegally, whether it be impaired, unlicensed(due to a variety of reasons) or uninsured. And it is only marginally better in other states.

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Old 05-04-08, 07:39 AM   #19
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For all we know the 90+% of the "crashes" that result non-fatal/non-disabling injuries may result in nothing more than road rash, and that the 7% disabling injuries could be made up of broken fingers and sprained wrists.
Not a good conclusion. They break injuries down as follows:

Injury
K Killed
A Type Injury (disabling)
B Type Injury (evident)
C Type Injury (possible)
O No Injury
Unknown

In the 2005 data they have 34 fatalities, 62 disabling injuries, and 955 reported accidents. No type breakdown. Doing the math myself, 6.49% of the accidents in 2005 are injury (disabling), and 3.56% resulted in death. This is clearly over all types of accidents, and coming up with 7% would be pretty easy if someone made a rounding error.

Killed is a solid category. So are no injury (the EMTs looked and couldn't find anything, and the patient was insisting they weren't hurt), and unknown (could not catch cyclist to examine them). There can be some error in these categories of course, but figuring out a standard and sticking to it isn't hard.

That leaves the other three.

Injury (possible) is a pretty good category. We have caught the cyclist, examined the cyclist, and we can't figure out if anything's wrong. There's also "cyclist insists something is wrong, and we can't find it" and "we are sure there's something wrong and cyclist insists they're fine". It could be broken down more, but I'm not sure how helpful it would be in terms of data analysis. It is one of the largest categories, so there is some merit in breaking it down.

Injury (evident) is pretty straightforward. We have caught the cyclist, examined the cyclist, there is an obvious injury, and the cyclist agrees that they're hurt. Many things can go in this category, from road rash on up to broken bones or worse. An injury that kills the cyclist *can't* go here, or the cyclist ends up in the killed category. This category is very well defined (good!) and very large (bad!). There is data hiding here, and it would be useful to break it out further.

Injury (disabling) is not immediately obvious. But since we can establish a rough idea of what the other categories mean, we now have meaning for this one. We have caught the cyclist, examined the cyclist, have found an injury, and the injury is permanent/non-repairable. A spiral femur fracture probably does not go here, since it does permanent damage but is repairable. Paralysis certainly does since it is both permanent and non-repairable. A broken finger doesn't go here as it is temporary and repairable. An injury that results in death can't go here, for the same reasons as in (evident). Breaking this category out further doesn't strike me as particularly useful, as the sample size is small.

Given the large volume of injury (evident) and the small size of injury (disabling), it is *very* unlikely that minor injuries are classed as disabling.
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Old 05-04-08, 08:20 AM   #20
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Not a good conclusion. They break injuries down as follows:
Injury (disabling) is not immediately obvious. But since we can establish a rough idea of what the other categories mean, we now have meaning for this one. We have caught the cyclist, examined the cyclist, have found an injury, and the injury is permanent/non-repairable.
Given the large volume of injury (evident) and the small size of injury (disabling), it is *very* unlikely that minor injuries are classed as disabling.
"Rough ideas" as to what kind of injuries are involved in any of these "crashes" other than fatal crashes is nothing more than speculation based on conjuring since the researchers provide no credible or useful clues. Which of course makes any conclusion about cycling risk drawn from this incomplete data only so many "rough ideas," waiting for essential data to be provided about the possible effect of the variables on "crash" events.

No need for you to do the math. The NC Summary (http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pbcat/pdf..._facts5yrs.pdf) gave a quantitative breakout of severities, ( with no qualitative definitions of disabling, evident, or possible injuries) on page 6.
"Bicyclist Injury Severity
About 2.5% of bicyclists in crashes with motor vehicles are fatally injured, but the
number of fatalities showed a decrease in 2006 (Table 4). Another 7% suffer A type
(disabling) injuries. About 44% receive B type (evident) injuries and 38% type C
(possible) injuries. Only 8.5% are not injured in these crashes."

Where did you find any clue that the term "disabling" referred to permanent/non-repairable injuries? I think you are making a real stretch to make that assumption.

"Evident" as you correctly point out covers everything from a bloody nose or skinned knee to numerous broken bones with no further clues as to the degree of injury severity.

"Possible" could be anything from No injury to fractured skull with brain damage. Again no clue is provided as to what this 38% slice of "crash" severities really means in terms of actual injury severity metrics.

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Old 05-04-08, 02:35 PM   #21
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a friend at work was so afraid of "injuries" while cycling that he avoided riding and ended up having a heart attack.

Another friend wouldn't ride into work over fear of colliding with a car while on his bicycle but ended up colliding with a car while he was driving in anyway and spent a week in the hospital

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Old 05-04-08, 03:58 PM   #22
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This was just posted to the Gyro mailing list, which is a Raleigh, NC riding group.

Quote:
I want to pass along some very sad and disturbing news regarding fellow Gyro Cliff Swanson, and ask that all of us keep him in our prayers.

Cliff and his wife Wendy were out cycling today along Carpenter Pond road with Cliff at the front and Wendy on his wheel in traditional formation when a lady hit Wendy from behind and threw her onto the high grass on the side of the road. Cliff mentioned that things were going along just fine when he heard the horrible sound of Wendy getting hit. He stated that the car grazed him and did not appear to brake at all.

My wife Grace and I happened to be cycling along that same route when we came up on Cliff holding his wife, and we immediately offered our assistance. Her mangled back tire was clear evidence that she was hit pretty hard from behind.

Wendy has been taken to Duke hospital with a head injury and she will be receiving a CT scan to ascertain the degree of her injuries. I spoke with Cliff a little bit ago and Wendy will be going into ICU, and we really need to pray for the best possible results of her CT scan.

This hits very, very close to home with all of us. There is absolutely nothing that Wendy could have done and it scares the hell out of me to think how vulnerable we all are out there. Grace and I were in the same formation on the same stretch of road only a few mintues behind Wendy and Cliff.

I am not in a position to offer suggestions on how to handle this, but my guess is at this point Cliff would want to keep things among his closest friends and family. I did ask him it was ok if I let his fellow Gyros know what has happened up to this point and he said that this was ok.

Our sincerest prayers and belief in God's good grace go out to Cliff and Wendy,

Rick
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Old 05-04-08, 04:13 PM   #23
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that friend who was hit in his car and spent a week in the hospital? He was waiting patiently for a break in oncoming traffic to make a left hand turn and was rear ended. Happens to us all.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:01 PM   #24
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Holy gold mine of data. There are tables of how each accident happen, who was at fault, if a helmet was used, if alcohol played a part. Really interesting.

edit:
Some things I learned from this data:
a) Alcohol rarely plays a part in the crash (url)
b) Afternoon and evening are more dangerous than morning (url)
c) The cyclist is most often at fault (url)
e) This table has a ton of information on the causes of accidents, but the formatting is a bit screwed up so I won't make any statements about. When looking at it there are some rows where the description takes up two lines, but there are two lines of data which I believe misaligns all the rows below it. So I highly doubt there were 453 intentionally caused accidents.
f) Not to ruffle too many feathers, but the data speaks for itself here:
1) Sidewalks - unsafe
2) MUP - safe
3) Bike lane or paved shoulder - safe
4) On a street, in a shared travel lane - really unsafe
url
NOTE: this table too suffers from the misaligned rows
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Last edited by gz_; 05-04-08 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 05-04-08, 10:32 PM   #25
RobertHurst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gz_ View Post
Holy gold mine of data. There are tables of how each accident happen, who was at fault, if a helmet was used, if alcohol played a part. Really interesting.

edit:
Some things I learned from this data:
a) Alcohol rarely plays a part in the crash (url)
b) Afternoon and evening are more dangerous than morning (url)
c) The cyclist is most often at fault (url)
This is very misleading, as is the entire data set, primarily because it fails to differentiate wrecks involving children from those involving adults. How useful is it for adult cyclists to pore over data about the mistakes that children make leading to car-bike collisions, which tend to involve riding out of a driveway or off the sidewalk into the path of a vehicle? Unless you're a parent, I'd say it is not useful at all. Yet that is the biggest mistake that adult cyclists make when they look at these statistics. Kids under 16 account for a huge percentage of these reported car-bike wrecks, and they are usually at fault in them. The percentage has declined significantly over the past decade but anyone looking at data like this is going to see results skewed due to a large number of reported incidents of little kids doing kid things and having little kid-style accidents.

So, when you say cyclists are most often at fault, that is generally true over the entire population of cyclists, including little kids and teenagers. When considering adult cyclists however, they are most often not at fault when involved in car-bike collisions.

Any other conclusions we're tempted to arrive at about adult cycling after looking at stats that fail to differentiate kids' injuries/accidents from adults' will be similarly torpedoed by the Kid Factor.


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Originally Posted by gz_ View Post
f) Not to ruffle too many feathers, but the data speaks for itself here:
...
It certainly doesn't.

Robert
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