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Thread: helmets

  1. #1
    Senior Member gringorio's Avatar
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    helmets

    I was wondering what the general opinion on wearing helmets for training is? I started racing when all you had to have was a 'hairnet' type helmet, then went through the requirement for USCF racers to wear a hard shell helmet. At the time most of us complained, but now i am very happy to wear my Giro on every ride. However, I notice that there seems to be a growing trend to go helmet less on training rides and most of the riders I observe without them appear to appear to be skilled cyclists. However, I recall that my cycling skill did not prevent me from crashing from time to time nor did it stop crazy drivers from doing stupid things. At this point I know two people with serious head injuries. Both nearly died. One wore a helmet, the other not. Both wear helmets now and are lucky to be alive. What are the prevailing opinions out there now?

    gringorio

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    Just because you see others not wearing a helmet should not effect your decision on whether or not to wear one. The only time I don't wear a helmet is when I am on trainer in the house. I also require my kids where them even if it's just around the development. I don't care what other people think about helmets, and I don't care what my children's peers think about helmets. I know for a fact my helmet saved me from very serious injury if not death and replaced it before I went out for another ride.

    I must add that I am opposed to mandatory helmet laws except perhaps for children who aren't expereienced or responsible enough to make an informed decision, allow darwinism to do natural selection as far as I'm concerned.

    Ohio doesn't even have mandatory helmet laws for motorcycles, but that's a topic for another forum!

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    I always wear a helmet. It bugs me a little when it's hot out but head injury would probably bug me a little more. I try to keep everything in working order, my melon most of all. In the park people don't wear helmets or have lights or anything, but I'm riding out on the streets with cars. Lights, helmet and reflectors plastered all over my backpack. I want to live to look silly another day. Plus I'm too old to be cool anymore anyway.

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    Actually I'm not too old to be cool. I'm just old enough to not really give a crap.

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    Pat
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    Now, how if one were to sustain a fatal injury at a low speed from some sort of freak situation, what kind of injury do you think it would be? The answer would pretty much have to be a head injury. It seems to me that a helmet is cheap and easy protection. It obviously can not eliminate head injuries but it is much better then nothing.

    As to people riding around without helmets, well bicycling isn't that terribly hazardous. You can ride a bunch of miles without crashing. But events aren't always under your control as you well know.

    Also, I have seen people land on their heads at high speed and get up without a head injury thanks to helmets. I have also seen them sustain head injury. I have never ever heard anyone who crashed and hit their head who was not glad that they were wearing a helmet at the time.

    I suppose it all depends on do you feel lucky?

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    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat
    .

    I suppose it all depends on do you feel lucky?

    well do ya punk?

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    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    There are a couple ******* (although ******** people are smarter than these mental midgets) that do training rides without a helmet. They think they look cool I guess, but they just look ********.

    It's just stupid to ride without a helmet in a group ride if only because it makes the rest of the group look like they condone ******** behavior to the casual observer.

    I would hate to see some kid watch the group ride by and think riding without a helmet is ok.

    Besides, with so many choices there is no excuse for style. The kids around my house love my Giro and always want to wear it because they think it looks so cool.

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    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerX
    There are a couple ******* (although ******** people are smarter than these mental midgets) that do training rides without a helmet. They think they look cool I guess, but they just look ********.

    It's just stupid to ride without a helmet in a group ride if only because it makes the rest of the group look like they condone ******** behavior to the casual observer.

    I would hate to see some kid watch the group ride by and think riding without a helmet is OK.

    Besides, with so many choices there is no excuse for style. The kids around my house love my Giro and always want to wear it because they think it looks so cool.
    That's an insult to ******** people - I mean associating them with helmet-less riders and all. Personally I wear a helmet while riding (even post maintenance shakedown rides) because if by wearing a helmet I can reduce the risk of my loved ones being saddled with wiping my @$$ and for the next forty to fifty years I'm going to do it. Bottom line.

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    That's an insult to ******** people - I mean associating them with helmet-less riders and all.
    Hey Raiyn, congrats on the cup!! Nice to see the franchise turn around so fast and to see Andrychuck (sp) get a taste from the Holy Grail!!

    Now to business. Lets just keep things in perspective shall we?

    I emailed Randy Swart of The Bicycle Helmet Saftey Institute and asked, "Is riding a bicycle make an individual propotionatly more suseptable to head injury than other activities?"

    He said, "No. If we had that information it would be on our Statistics page. We don't."

    The BHSI web site also shows that exposure by hour, cycling is less suseptable to death (a rather black and white situation and less open to claim of injury than a cut chin) at half the rate as driving.

    and In 1998/99, of the 7,168 hospitalizations due to a head injury in Ontario, almost half were caused by falls (49%), followed by motor vehicle collisions (31%) and, homicide and intentional injuries (6%).Slipping, tripping or stumbling from the same level were the major reasons for hospitalizations.

    Of the 37,546 hospitalizations due to fall-related injuries, seniors accounted for over half of these hospitalizations (57%) and 93% of all in-hospital deaths due to falls. Women were admitted to Ontario hospitals for injuries from falls twice as often as men.

    "We often associate head injuries with a younger male population, who are considered to be risk-takers, but the statistics from CIHI’s report and our experience indicate that head injuries are also important among seniors and women," explains Dr. Robert Summerfield, a neurologist with North York General Hospital. "We need to raise awareness that some head injuries can have long-lasting and disabling impacts."

    Wear helmets but because head injuries do happen to cyclists but they don't happen as often to cyclists as some claim and protection should never be a substitute for sensible cycling practices.

    Lets not spread false rumours like, if you don't wear a helmet you're going to die.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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    Quote Originally Posted by gringorio
    .... However, I notice that there seems to be a growing trend to go helmet less on training rides and most of the riders I observe without them appear to appear to be skilled cyclists.....

    If I cared about what others think about me, I would live far away in a suburban home and would commute by car at rush hour. I would drive to the gym -- maybe -- and do some exercise. Well, I don't, but have rather chosen a different lifestyle.

    I'd say the same for you. Take YOUR decision based on what you think, not on what others do.

    That being said, cycling is a fairly safe activity. There are more hazards associated with racing (mass starts, people too close to eachother, drafting...) that with regular cyling. But there also are hazards associated with training, especially when it comes to "cutting corners", riding fast downhills, etc. When I ride through these, I go relatively slowly; someone who trains doesn't.

    Regards,
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    Senior Member Shroom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    I emailed Randy Swart of The Bicycle Helmet Saftey Institute and asked, "Is riding a bicycle make an individual propotionatly more suseptable to head injury than other activities?"

    He said, "No. If we had that information it would be on our Statistics page. We don't."
    Mr. Swart contradicts himself. If he doesn't have the information, he shouldn't answer your question with "No." He should have started his reply with "We don't know.".

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    Wide Load HalfHearted's Avatar
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    At least one study shows pretty conclusively that in almost all "no car" bicycle accidents and in a very large percentage of car-bicycle accidents, head injury was about the only injury that was likely to be life threatening or permanently life-altering. I.e., even when hit by a car if you can reduce or eliminate the head injury you have a pretty good chance of not only surviving but of eventually making a full recovery.

    A lot of folks don't wear a helmet because 1) off the street they figure they're safe and 2) on the street they figure that a helmet isn't going to be enough to help if they are hit by a car.

    Studies both in the US and Australia are pretty conclusive that both assumptions are incorrect. Head injuries in "bike only" accidents are more common than people think. In the majority of car-bike fatalities the fatality results strictly from head injury (i.e. other injuries are usually sustained in the same accident but they are usually not life threatening) and even a lightweight bike helmet can significantly reduce the severity of injury in a car-bike accident.

    In the "typical" car bike accident the car hits the bicyclist, sometimes breaking his legs and often throwing him upwards and "spinning" him feet up, head down, just about the time that the car windshield, moving much faster than the cyclist, reaches his head.

    BTW, when I lived in the high desert of SOCAL I arrived on the scene moments after just such an accident in Victorville CA - I was the first on the scene, in fact. I was on my way home with pizzas for the family, driving uphill on a 4-lane non-divided rural street (speed limit 45 or 50MPH) into a completely blinding sun. As I neared the top of the hill I saw a car stopped in the right lane, as I got closer I could see that the windshield was shattered. As I got nearer still I saw a BMX type bike under the car. I pulled over and there was no one around, then I found a black teenager, probably about 15 or 16, in the weeds a few yards off the road. A few moments later the driver showed up, she'd gone for help from some nearby homes across the road.

    I stayed with the kid and kept the idiots off of him until the paramedics arrived -- well meaning but very stupid people kept trying to lift his head and put a pillow under it to "make him more comfortable." Others started to manhandle his legs asking if he could move them. I was flabbergasted that people could be that stupid! I think I was still repeating "head and neck injuries, don't move him" when the paramedics showed up. I know I remember one of them nodding at me and mouthing "thanks" as I moved out of their way.

    He was coming around by the time the paramedics arrived but he was bleeding from nose, mouth, and ears and it was pretty obvious that he had a very serious head injury. He was not wearing a helmet. If he had been, he probably would have been only lightly injured as the woman who hit him (after he darted right out in front of her from the desert scrub off the side of the road) was only going about 35MPH when she hit him and it was clear that even his legs hadn't been badly damaged - all of the visible damage was to his head.

    We didn't take the local paper and I never did find out what happened to that kid - but any time I wonder if it's worth putting a helmet on for a short spin around the block I think about that kid and the blood coming out of his ears. At the time I hadn't been riding for a while, and I'd never used a helmet before when I rode. When I started riding again I bought a helmet even before I bought a bike. Granted, that was partly because my cardiologist was adamant about the dangers of even minor knocks to the head with the medication I'm on, but even if not on blood thinners I think the image of that kid would be enough.

    I'm not an "evangelist" for helmets - as far as I'm concerned if you want your family to spend the rest of their lives changing your diapers and spoon feeding you your mush that's entirely your business. On the other hand, before making that decision you might want to wade through this report that summarizes (albeit not briefly) the results of studies of real-world cases:
    http://www.helmets.org/henderso.htm

    John

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    Senior Member Shroom's Avatar
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    Not only car crashes but tree branches. I get hit in the head by tree branchs at least once during a ride down the street.

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madpogue
    Mr. Swart contradicts himself. If he doesn't have the information, he shouldn't answer your question with "No." He should have started his reply with "We don't know.".
    He doesn't contradict himself. He said, No, riding a bicycle doesn't make an individual propotionatly more suseptable to head injury than other activity. If it were true, he would have that information avalible on the website. He doesn't have that info because head injuries happen to everybody doing many things, not more often to cyclists compared to any other activity. This is bourne out out in evidence of all receiptents of head injuries. You run as likely a chance of a head injury as a pedestrian as a cyclist.

    The question is why wear one only while doing some activities and not others? This runs counter to same roads, same rules, same rights by selecting cyclists to follow different rules that are not based on merit.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 06-14-04 at 11:17 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    If it were true, he would have that information avalible on the website.
    He didn't say he would have the information if it were true, he said "If we had that information it would be on our Statistics page." (Emphasis mine.) IOW, they don't have information either way as to the risk of head injury while cycling relative to other activities. That's not the same as saying it's not riskier. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MKRG
    Actually I'm not too old to be cool. I'm just old enough to not really give a crap.
    I thought not giving a crap was the very definition of cool.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  18. #18
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    Lets not spread false rumors like, if you don't wear a helmet you're going to die.
    If you're going to quote me. Quote me correctly, not out of context as you are so wont to do. In the section of my post that you omitted I said:
    Personally I wear a helmet while riding (even post maintenance shakedown rides) because if by wearing a helmet I can reduce the risk of my loved ones being saddled with wiping my @$$ and for the next forty to fifty years I'm going to do it. Bottom line."
    "if by wearing a helmet I can reduce the risk" Those are some key words there words that I suspect you deliberately decided not to include.
    Why?
    Doesn't wearing a helmet reduce the chances of injury?
    Notice that I said "reduce the chances" rather than prevent. Prevention is an absolute term and nothing is 100% against possible injury. What helmets, and for that matter, seat belts, air bags, and flotation devices do is reduce the percentage of probability of injury or drowning.
    Is it still possible to get injured wearing a helmet?
    Sure, but at least the probability goes down. That reduced probability is enough for me and the majority of the members of this forum if they will allow me to be so bold as to speak for them.

    Do me a small favor closetbiker:
    Don't ever quote me out of context again.

  19. #19
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madpogue
    He didn't say he would have the information if it were true, he said "If we had that information it would be on our Statistics page." (Emphasis mine.) IOW, they don't have information either way as to the risk of head injury while cycling relative to other activities. That's not the same as saying it's not riskier. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
    We had several emails back and forth to make sure we both understood each other. If you don't see things the same way, that's fine, it doesn't change things. Believe what you wish.
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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    If you're going to quote me. Quote me correctly,
    I didn't quote you on what you quoted me as quoting you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Doesn't wearing a helmet reduce the chances of injury?
    Sure, but that's not the argument. I was showing that by saying it is an insult to ******** people not to wear a helmet is not addressing who receives head injuries and how often they receive them. That the large majority of people who receive head injuries are not cyclists and that cyclists run the same risk of head injury as anyone else. Helmets help absolutely, but why we select cyclists to wear helmets on roads but don't think of others who may benefit from them goes against equal treatment for cyclists.

    I'll encourage anyone to wear a helmet but I don't expect to need one on a bike any more than I'll need one if I'm walking down the street.
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    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    That's an insult to ******** people - I mean associating them with helmet-less riders and all.
    I think you've been riding without a helmet. I was saying helmet-less riders are STUPID compared to ******** people, that ******** people are SMARTER than riders without helmets, that helmet-less riders are mental-midgets.

    I thought that was clear by the rest of my post that said
    "It's just stupid to ride without a helmet in a group ride if only because it makes the rest of the group look like they condone ******** behavior to the casual observer.

    I would hate to see some kid watch the group ride by and think riding without a helmet is ok.

    Besides, with so many choices there is no excuse for style. The kids around my house love my Giro and always want to wear it because they think it looks so cool."

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    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    n 1998/99, of the 7,168 hospitalizations due to a head injury in Ontario, almost half were caused by falls (49%), followed by motor vehicle collisions (31%) and, homicide and intentional injuries (6%).Slipping, tripping or stumbling from the same level were the major reasons for hospitalizations.

    Of the 37,546 hospitalizations due to fall-related injuries, seniors accounted for over half of these hospitalizations (57%) and 93% of all in-hospital deaths due to falls. Women were admitted to Ontario hospitals for injuries from falls twice as often as men.

    ..
    I'll encourage anyone to wear a helmet but I don't expect to need one on a bike any more than I'll need one if I'm walking down the street.
    This is why statistics are dangerous. With little information, people make assumptions.

    "I don't expect to need one on a bike any more than I'll need one if I'm walking down the street" is a naive and sad assumption based on the "statistics" presented above.

    What is missing? The all important statistic that REALLY MATTERS:
    Of all CYCLING-related injuries, what percentage are head injuries? What percentage of CYCLING-related injuries are life-threatening/life-altering and preventable with a helmet?
    What percentage of death/permanent injury is from non-helmeted cyclists in CYCLING- related accidents?

    (Illustration of what I'm saying) --In a given population, 80% or more walk, climb stairs or drive a car. 10% ride a bike. So, if you ask a hospital where most head injuries come from what do you think they will say? Think about it.


    What is also ignored is the "quiet majority" of riders whose helmet allowed them to "walk away" from an accident with a completely demolished helmet. Studies have shown the brain cushioning ability of a helmet in a head impact- it is enough to stop or reduce internal bleeding and swelling. How many people have been saved from death, concussions or other imparement? How many accidents where the cyclist "walked away" and simply replaced their helmets feeling lucky? We will never know. If you don't wear a helmet, neither will you.

    There is a rider that was permanently disabled in Santa Monica, Ca while JRA on the sidewalk, fell and hit the pavement. This was very slow speed without a helmet. He deeply regrets not wearing one that would have saved him from a wheelchair.
    As doctors know, what can kill you in head injuries isn't necessarly bleeding; it's brain swelling from the impact of the brain on the inside of the skull. This is basically crushing the brain and blood from the swelling. Since the skull cannot expand, the only solution is to crack open the skull to reduce the pressure.

    Accidents: You see it in racing all the time. You see it in XC all the time. I've seen it on bike paths all the time. Even if it saved you from a mild concussion or even some road rash on your head, ISN'T IT WORTH IT???

    I NEVER, EVER want to be in a position where I need to be fed and changed for the rest of my life just because of a stupid idea that helmets were not necessary. It was ok in the past because nobody knew better. Now you know better. Helmets are cheap, cool, stylish. There is no excuse. Not wearing a helmet is completey moronic. I'll tell anyone that asks me face-to-face they are a moron for not wearing one.
    Last edited by RacerX; 06-15-04 at 03:33 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerX
    This is why statistics are dangerous. With little information, people make assumptions.
    Yeah, I know what you mean.

    No one has been able to show that cyclists receive more than their fair share of head injuries. If it could be shown that cyclists are say, twice as likely than, say, pedestrians or motorists, to receive head injuries then that would be different and it would make much more sense to advocate more strongly for helmets, but that's not the case. Even the leading helmet advocates cannot show this. What a boost it would be for them if they could.

    The vast majority of cyclists all over the world do not wear helmets and those cyclists are not flooding the hospitals.

    "We often associate head injuries with a younger male population, who are considered to be risk-takers, but the statistics from CIHI’s report and our experience indicate that head injuries are also important among seniors and women," explains Dr. Robert Summerfield, a neurologist with North York General Hospital.

    Some have a distorted idea of the problem of head injuries to cyclists that needs to be put into perspective. The sky is not falling.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 06-15-04 at 09:13 AM.
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    Seventy percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

  25. #25
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker

    Sure, but that's not the argument. I was showing that by saying it is an insult to ******** people not to wear a helmet is not addressing who receives head injuries and how often they receive them. That the large majority of people who receive head injuries are not cyclists and that cyclists run the same risk of head injury as anyone else. Helmets help absolutely, but why we select cyclists to wear helmets on roads but don't think of others who may benefit from them goes against equal treatment for cyclists.

    I'll encourage anyone to wear a helmet but I don't expect to need one on a bike any more than I'll need one if I'm walking down the street.
    Again you quote a fragment of what I said to support your twisted views.
    It is an insult to associate ******** people who (in cases not due to preventable brain damage) had no choice in the matter with people who have access to a device which could reduce the risk of them getting injured and choose not to because it's "not cool"
    *********** is not stupidity.
    Stupidity is defined as a poor ability to understand or to profit from experience without having an underlying cause such as brain damage. (ie being told that a device will help reduce the risk of receiving a potentially life threatening injury and then choosing not to use it)
    *********** is defined as subnormal intellectual development or functioning that is the result of congenital causes, brain injury, or disease and is characterized by any of various deficiencies, ranging from impaired learning ability to social and vocational inadequacy.

    As for your "equal treatment of cyclists" rhetoric: I can't believe that you would stoop to trying to use cyclists rights jargon in a helmet debate. Equal treatment for cyclists refers to being allowed equal use of roads and equal rights in traffic situations. It has nothing to do with the use of helmets you sanctimonious buffoon.

    Quote Originally Posted by RacerX
    I think you've been riding without a helmet. I was saying helmet-less riders are STUPID compared to ******** people, that ******** people are SMARTER than riders without helmets, that helmet-less riders are mental-midgets.

    I thought that was clear by the rest of my post that said
    "It's just stupid to ride without a helmet in a group ride if only because it makes the rest of the group look like they condone ******** behavior to the casual observer.

    I would hate to see some kid watch the group ride by and think riding without a helmet is ok.

    Besides, with so many choices there is no excuse for style. The kids around my house love my Giro and always want to wear it because they think it looks so cool."
    I was in agreement with you in the spirit of the post not the wording. I objected more to the usage of "couple of *******" and "condone ******** behavior" in reference to stupid people more than anything else.
    Last edited by Raiyn; 06-15-04 at 03:44 PM.

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