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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet 178 10.66%
I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped 94 5.63%
I've always worn a helmet 648 38.80%
I didn't wear a helmet, but now do 408 24.43%
I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions 342 20.48%
Voters: 1670. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-15-12, 02:31 PM   #3701
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Originally Posted by skye View Post

Bull****
. Show me one time on this thread where I criticised a journal article due to its source rather its methodological shortcomings.

You say I'm a hypocrite? Prove it or STFU.
Ease up there, Kimosabe -- I was saying/agreeing the Bell study is hypocritical, not you.

You just quote things out of context and are not tight with your language, especially modifiers/qualifiers you should use. <-- but I've said that before and backed it up with examples...

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The risk of cycling is so small that death from any cause, let alone head trauma, amounts to one cyclist death per 33 million km of cycling. It would take the average cyclist 21,000 years to cycle this distance (Cavill & Davis, 2007)
Helmets aren't supposed to help in situations where death from head injury might occur, so this bit of data is pointless... kind of like your MHL list. How many miles does an average cyclist have to travel before they crash and sustain a minor to moderate head injury where a helmet might help?
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Old 10-15-12, 03:19 PM   #3702
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The risk of cycling is so small that death from any cause, let alone head trauma, amounts to one cyclist death per 33 million km of cycling. It would take the average cyclist 21,000 years to cycle this distance (Cavill & Davis, 2007)
http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/almanac-safety.html

Quote:
784 cyclists died in 2005 (p. 86). That would make the death rate 0.37 to 1.26 deaths per 10 million miles.33,041 motorists/passengers died (p. 86) from 3 trillion miles traveled (p. 15), making their death rate 0.11 per 10 million miles traveled.
So cyclists are either 3.4x or 11.5x as likely to die as motorists, per passenger mile. Neither conclusion is very happy.
...
Cyclists are 2% of road deaths & injuries. The 761 cyclists killed in 1996 accounted for 2% of traffic fatalities, and the 59,000 cyclists injured made up 2% of all traffic injuries. (5)
"Deaths per distance traveled" is likely a bad way to report the risk.

The "2% of fatalities and injuries" (in the US) indicates that cyclists are over represented considering that many more people spend much more time in motor vehicles than they do on a bicycle.

The irony here is that people often point to driving as being more risky.

Note that many cyclist fatalities (and injuries) occur in collisions with motor vehicles and it's likely that "non-traffic" cycling injuries are under-reported (fatality numbers are likely much more accurate).

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-16-12 at 04:01 AM.
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Old 10-15-12, 07:55 PM   #3703
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Helmets ... good or bad? Seat belts, good or bad?... Airbags, good or bad?... Driving 10 MPH over the speed limit, good or bad? Are you guys who think any these are bad... Really thinking? While there ARE downsides to everything, there is/are statistics that PROVE, some things are better or at least not as bad as you would think... I would think walking with untied shoelaces can be hazardous to your health, but I am sure after reading this thread there are people out there that would think, and say NOT SO, it would depend on how co-ordinated you are whether walking without tying your shoelaces is dangerous...
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Old 10-15-12, 08:05 PM   #3704
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Well, no. More like a bunch of folks who've been led to believe that untied shoelaces are a near-guarantee of horrific injury and/or death, and who feel comfortable calling names and predicting/hoping for the deaths of people who dare walk with untied laces. And then a minority of folks who think untied laces probably aren't that big a deal and are kind of annoyed that American society apparently deems the insults and death threats as acceptable and appropriate.
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Old 10-15-12, 08:09 PM   #3705
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Well, no. More like a bunch of folks who've been led to believe that untied shoelaces are a near-guarantee of horrific injury and/or death, and who feel comfortable calling names and predicting/hoping for the deaths of people who dare walk with untied laces. And then a minority of folks who think untied laces probably aren't that big a deal and are kind of annoyed that American society apparently deems the insults and death threats as acceptable and appropriate.
Bwaa I would be willing to bet that there are/have been people who died because they didn't tie their shoelaces...
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Old 10-15-12, 08:36 PM   #3706
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Bwaa I would be willing to bet that there are/have been people who died because they didn't tie their shoelaces...
I'm sure there have been some - still won't stop me from just slipping into my shoes without tying them if I'm just going a few feet outside to pick up the paper although I'd certainly tie them before going on a hike. Similarly I'll just put on a cap when riding a couple miles to the grocery store but wear a helmet if on a rocky mountain bike trail.
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Old 10-15-12, 09:06 PM   #3707
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I'll just put on a cap when riding a couple miles to the grocery store . . .
Hey, knock yourself out (literally).

I just had a crash a month ago that left me with serious injuries from my head impacting pavement. Wasn't even going very fast. Had I not been wearing a helmet most likely I would have died and almost certainly would have been paralyzed and had severe brain damage.

Something funny about heads contacting pavement - even if you fall from a bike at a standstill, pavement wins.

As it was, my helmet took the brunt of the force and distributed the load across my cranium so that I did not have a broken skull.

I am visiting this forum so that I can increase my safety (which already was far above average). But encountering comments like this I wonder what is the point - obviously the site suffers significant influence from people who believe they are somehow immune to basic physics and make a hobby of intentionally misrepresenting math (like accident statistics) that they obviously don't understand anyway.

By the way, I am healing fast with the doctors saying I will make a full recovery in a couple of months. Again this is due to my wearing a helmet. If I was wearing your stylish cap I would probably still need help feeding myself, maybe permanently. As it is I am planning my return to cycling. I had the courage to mess my hair up by wearing a helmet, I guess.

So again, knock yourself out. I'm off to find a more reliable source of safety information.
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Old 10-15-12, 09:18 PM   #3708
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I'm sure there have been some - still won't stop me from just slipping into my shoes without tying them if I'm just going a few feet outside to pick up the paper although I'd certainly tie them before going on a hike. Similarly I'll just put on a cap when riding a couple miles to the grocery store but wear a helmet if on a rocky mountain bike trail.
Sounds good in "theory"... But remember, when you play the odds, sometimes you still loose. Head bouncing of the pavement for any reason is going to hurt...
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Old 10-16-12, 02:14 AM   #3709
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This thread is dumb. Its my choice whether I wear a helmet or not
Sometimes you feel like wearing one and sometimes you don't.
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Old 10-16-12, 03:47 AM   #3710
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This seems to be a new Canadian study in the news. It seems to be straightforward and one sided.

Not wearing a helmet while riding was associated with 3.1 times higher risk of dying from a head injury
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Old 10-16-12, 04:07 AM   #3711
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This seems to be a new Canadian study in the news. It seems to be straightforward and one sided.

Not wearing a helmet while riding was associated with 3.1 times higher risk of dying from a head injury
Another interesting piece in that is the following (somewhat weak). (The percentage of fatalities due to head injuries and the percentage increase in cycling is not reported.)

Quote:
To support their call to enact legislation to promote helmet use, the researchers gave the example of Victoria, Australia.

Helmet use in the city increased from 31 per cent to 75 per cent and cycling fatalities decreased by 48 per cent after the introduction of mandatory helmet laws (MHL), despite an increase in cycling among adults, they said.
Since it contradicts the following.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skye View Post
Victoria
Casualties: small initial decline in % head injuries less than for
pedestrians. Over first 4 years, no net decline in %HI.
Cycle use: fell 36% - 46%.
Net result: risk increased relative to cycle use.
It doesn't appear people reporting the decline as an argument against MHLs ever followed-up by looking at newer data (since their argument against MHLs would be stronger with a continued decline, the lack of any updates is interesting too).

Of course, "MHL laws causing declines" data is not relevant because no one here is arguing for MHL's and it's not clear if the helmets or the law provoked the decline (I didn't bring that data into this argument, by the way).

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-16-12 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:31 AM   #3712
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Helmets ... good or bad? Seat belts, good or bad?... Airbags, good or bad?... Driving 10 MPH over the speed limit, good or bad? Are you guys who think any these are bad... Really thinking? While there ARE downsides to everything, there is/are statistics that PROVE, some things are better or at least not as bad as you would think... I would think walking with untied shoelaces can be hazardous to your health, but I am sure after reading this thread there are people out there that would think, and say NOT SO, it would depend on how co-ordinated you are whether walking without tying your shoelaces is dangerous...
You are making an error by equating things that serve to mitigate the consequences of accidents with things that cause accidents. That's an error because the value of preventing accidents is much higher than mitigating them. Also, if you can reduce the cause of accidents, you reduce the need to mitigate the consequences of them (if the likelihood of an accident is very, very small, it does not make much sense to mitigate the consequences).

And, with respect to shoelaces, there are real benefits to tying them beyond reducing the possibility of an accident (that is, people would tend to tie them regardless).

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-16-12 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 10-16-12, 09:19 AM   #3713
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You are making an error by equating things that serve to mitigate the consequences of accidents with things that cause accidents. That's an error because the value of preventing accidents is much higher than mitigating them. Also, if you can reduce the cause of accidents, you reduce the need to mitigate the consequences of them (if the likelihood of an accident is very, very small, it does not make much sense to mitigate the consequences).

And, with respect to shoelaces, there are real benefits to tying them beyond reducing the possibility of an accident (that is, people would tend to tie them regardless).
That's correct, I used the shoelace thing just to try and show how people will try to "get away" with things, and you can get away with a lot of things... But when you bounce off the pavement for whatever reason, it's USUALLY BETTER to have a helmet on than not. And I used the seat-belt, airbag examples as the same thing happened when they first came out and became mandatory, some people were hurt by them so right away some people used that to not wear them, totally discounting the many other people who were saved by them...
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Old 10-16-12, 09:35 AM   #3714
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That's correct, I used the shoelace thing just to try and show how people will try to "get away" with things, and you can get away with a lot of things... But when you bounce off the pavement for whatever reason, it's USUALLY BETTER to have a helmet on than not. And I used the seat-belt, airbag examples as the same thing happened when they first came out and became mandatory, some people were hurt by them so right away some people used that to not wear them, totally discounting the many other people who were saved by them...
You can't protect against every possibility for which something is "usually better" in a particular case.

Since you can't do everything, you really have to measure the benefits of something against the costs of that thing. That way, you avoid choosing to do one thing instead of something else that is more efficient (better benefit/cost ratio).

One problem with helmets is that many people think they are more effective than they are.

If you were really concerned with "bouncing off of the pavement", donning a helmet really doesn't go far enough: you should really stop riding. That you don't stop riding indicates that (for you) the benefits of riding outweigh the costs of riding (eg, the risk of "bouncing off of the pavement").

The other thing that makes this issue complicated is the difference between the social benefits/costs and the individual benefits/costs. It's possible that there are more efficient causes than helmets at the social/overall-population level.

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-16-12 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 10-16-12, 11:36 AM   #3715
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Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
This seems to be a new Canadian study in the news. It seems to be straightforward and one sided.

Not wearing a helmet while riding was associated with 3.1 times higher risk of dying from a head injury
Well, no, not at all. The study calculated the odds ratio (OR), not relative risk. The two are often conflated by non-statisticians. To quote Wikipedia:

Quote:
Odds ratios have often been confused with relative risk in medical literature. For non-statisticians, the odds ratio is a difficult concept to comprehend, and it gives a more impressive figure for the effect. However, most authors consider that the relative risk is readily understood. In one study, members of a national disease foundation were actually 3.5 times more likely than nonmembers to have heard of a common treatment for that disease - but the odds ratio was 24 and the paper stated that members were ‘more than 20-fold more likely to have heard of’ the treatment.
In short, the authors of that paper did not even understand the statistics they were using.

Additionally, while the study did include 129 cycling fatalities, nearly half of those were inapplicable to the study, as they did not involve a head injury. There were 129 cycling fatalities in total for those years.

The number of cycling fatalities actually involving head injury or head injury plus other injury was 71. The number of cycling fatalities due to head injury alone was a vanishingly small 38.

To that I would add that the cause of death was based on coroner's report. Now, how many coroners are going to see any form of head injury and go one step further to investigate whether the actual cause of death was abdominal hemorrhage? They may note its existence, but 9 times out of 10, the cause of death will be listed as head injury, despite the possibility of other causes. We're not talking CSI here, we're talking harried civil service workers. Tick off the head injury box and move on to the next one.

In short, I would rate this study as a D-, beginning with the authors' own inaccuracy in reporting their findings, and the subtle inflation of the study's figures. Not to put to fine a point on it, this study is a piece of ****e and the authors should be spanked and sent to bed without their pudding.

To me, the only thing that this study points out is how goddamn hard it is to actually get killed while riding a bike in Ontario.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:11 PM   #3716
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Originally Posted by beezaur View Post
Hey, knock yourself out (literally).

I am visiting this forum so that I can increase my safety (which already was far above average). But encountering comments like this I wonder what is the point - obviously the site suffers significant influence from people who believe they are somehow immune to basic physics and make a hobby of intentionally misrepresenting math (like accident statistics) that they obviously don't understand anyway (b1990 input: this is BS--sounds like an engineer).

By the way, I am healing fast with the doctors saying I will make a full recovery in a couple of months. Again this is due to my wearing a helmet. If I was wearing your stylish cap I would probably still need help feeding myself, maybe permanently. As it is I am planning my return to cycling. I had the courage to mess my hair up by wearing a helmet, I guess. (Really...you took a great blow to your noggin, will have a full recovery in a couple of months, but have time/sensibility to post this on-line? Your recuperative powers are immense, sir!)

So again, knock yourself out. I'm off to find a more reliable source of safety information.
Colors added for effect. Dude's a troll.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:39 PM   #3717
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Colors added for effect. Dude's a troll.
And some people decorate thier houses so Santa doesn't miss them.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:42 PM   #3718
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You can't protect against every possibility for which something is "usually better" in a particular case.

Since you can't do everything, you really have to measure the benefits of something against the costs of that thing. That way, you avoid choosing to do one thing instead of something else that is more efficient (better benefit/cost ratio).

One problem with helmets is that many people think they are more effective than they are.
If you were really concerned with "bouncing off of the pavement", donning a helmet really doesn't go far enough: you should really stop riding. That you don't stop riding indicates that (for you) the benefits of riding outweigh the costs of riding (eg, the risk of "bouncing off of the pavement").

The other thing that makes this issue complicated is the difference between the social benefits/costs and the individual benefits/costs. It's possible that there are more efficient causes than helmets at the social/overall-population level.
Well now... Come on... Of course a helmet would be better than no helmet when you bounce of the pavement, that's a no brain-er... If you want to play the "numbers" game and take the odds that you will not bounce off the pavement ever then that is a different discussion... But saying that a helmet won't be of any use when you bounce off the pavement is just silly/wrong... I know when I bounced off the pavement 5 years ago I got some good use out of my helmet. I was out of it for a week, dislocated jaw, crossed eyes for 10 months and that's WITH a helmet on... Now what would have happened without a helmet? I don't know, but I'm sure/prety sure it would have been worse, and I wouldn't be here typing this out...
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Old 10-16-12, 04:45 PM   #3719
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Well played, Sir.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:47 PM   #3720
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That's correct, I used the shoelace thing just to try and show how people will try to "get away" with things, and you can get away with a lot of things... But when you bounce off the pavement for whatever reason, it's USUALLY BETTER to have a helmet on than not. And I used the seat-belt, airbag examples as the same thing happened when they first came out and became mandatory, some people were hurt by them so right away some people used that to not wear them, totally discounting the many other people who were saved by them...
Do you wear a helmet in the shower? If you do not, you are PLAYING WITH DEATH!!! You are more likely to suffer a head injury in a shower than on a bike. Therefore, if you are so confident in the helmet's ability to protect you, and so afraid of the bicycle's danger to your head, then logic dictates thate you should wear the helmet during both activities.

Do you?
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Old 10-16-12, 04:49 PM   #3721
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Well now... Come on... Of course a helmet would be better than no helmet when you bounce of the pavement, that's a no brain-er...
Actually, you are wrong. Multiple studies have shown that wearing helmets increase your risk of injury.

Don't ask me to post them, I already have.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:53 PM   #3722
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Actually, you are wrong. Multiple studies have shown that wearing helmets increase your risk of injury.

Don't ask me to post them, I already have.
In the shower? I broke my leg in the shower...thank goodness my wife was there to catch me. If not for her, I would have smacked my noggin on the tile, and without a helmet I'd be toast. Of course, the reason I was in the shower was BECAUSE of her...can I sue? This thead is hopeless.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:57 PM   #3723
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Originally Posted by skye View Post
Do you wear a helmet in the shower? If you do not, you are PLAYING WITH DEATH!!! You are more likely to suffer a head injury in a shower than on a bike. Therefore, if you are so confident in the helmet's ability to protect you, and so afraid of the bicycle's danger to your head, then logic dictates thate you should wear the helmet during both activities.

Do you?
No I don't wear a helmet to the shower, when walking, or even when running... But yes I CERTAINY wear a helmet when I ride my bike. Why? not because I fear the dangers of bicycling but because it makes sense to me, just like seat-belts, airbags, anti-lock brakes etc... ALL of these things are in the same category and I would not buy a car without these things... Would you?
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Old 10-16-12, 05:01 PM   #3724
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Originally Posted by skye View Post
Actually, you are wrong. Multiple studies have shown that wearing helmets increase your risk of injury.

Don't ask me to post them, I already have.
So if I started to wear my helmet in the shower I would increase the chances of getting injured in the shower too?

WOW, good thing I stopped myself from wearing my helmet in the shower...

Last edited by 350htrr; 10-16-12 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 10-16-12, 05:46 PM   #3725
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Well now... Come on... Of course a helmet would be better than no helmet when you bounce of the pavement, that's a no brain-er... If you want to play the "numbers" game and take the odds that you will not bounce off the pavement ever then that is a different discussion... But saying that a helmet won't be of any use when you bounce off the pavement is just silly/wrong... I know when I bounced off the pavement 5 years ago I got some good use out of my helmet. I was out of it for a week, dislocated jaw, crossed eyes for 10 months and that's WITH a helmet on... Now what would have happened without a helmet? I don't know, but I'm sure/prety sure it would have been worse, and I wouldn't be here typing this out...
You didn't read what I wrote. I did not say any of this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
If you want to play the "numbers" game and take the odds that you will not bounce off the pavement ever then that is a different discussion.
You have to consider the "numbers" game. People are notoriously bad at estimating risk: they often worry about stuff that isn't very risky and discount things that are risky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
No I don't wear a helmet to the shower, when walking, or even when running... But yes I CERTAINY wear a helmet when I ride my bike. Why? not because I fear the dangers of bicycling but because it makes sense to me, just like seat-belts, airbags, anti-lock brakes etc... ALL of these things are in the same category and I would not buy a car without these things... Would you?
Since you can fall and hit your head in other cases, it would make "sense" to wear a helmet all the time! It might be better to wear a helmet in those other cases than it is to wear it while cycling!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
ALL of these things are in the same category and I would not buy a car without these things... Would you?
You do since you don't wear a helmet in situations where it's fairly common for head injuries to occur!

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-16-12 at 05:49 PM.
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