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Thread: I rode VC today

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    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    I rode VC today

    I went out for a ride today and decided (based on the arguments here) to try out VC by staying in my little town with it's 25-35 MPH speed limits, residential streets and small, typical mid-western 2 block downtown area. I wanted to try out strictly vehicular cycling for an hour.

    I have to gloat a bit about how nice the people in my town were. No one honked, no one buzzed me, no one yelled out their windows or tried to right hook me and no one tailgated me. I did have one guy speed up ahead of me because he was trying to get around me before he encountered a car parked on the left which put him sort of close to me, but I was never in any danger and could easily have maneuvered out of any if he had been closer.

    I took the lane in the left tire track through downtown where cars are parked on both sides at angles and there are mid block stop signs making me actually faster than the average car traffic. The rest of the time I rode the right tire track and 2 or three times moved further right, sharing the lane, to allow FSDT to pass where opposing traffic was present and the lane was wide enough to allow this, but otherwise stood my ground in the right tire track.

    The point of all of this?
    Well, I have to agree with Robert Hurst that although strict VC is ok in general it tends to strip the bicycle of it's inherent virtues. After about a half hour I was struggling to not do what riding the bike allowed me to do which was hop a curb, ride down the side path and through the parking lot to get to that store I wanted to go to that was around the other side of the block. Maybe it's because I have to drive so much that I like bicycling and the freedom it gives me to cut lose from the road and it's rules.

    The analogy I kept coming back to was that electric race car track set you had when you were a kid with the black plastic track, matchbox size cars and the little hand held, wired remote trigger you held to make the cars go. No matter how cool the kit was (some climb walls, etc.) you are stuck on that track, and like just about every kid I got tired of that after about a half hour too. Well, to me VC and driving have me stuck on that track, but my bike lets me leave the track for wherever I want to go

    **EDIT - I also forgot my helmet too
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
    Connor: I do believe the monsignor's finally got the point.
    Murphy: Aye.

    OttawaCountyDSA.com

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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deputyjones
    The analogy I kept coming back to was that electric race car track set you had when you were a kid with the black plastic track, matchbox size cars and the little hand held, wired remote trigger you held to make the cars go. No matter how cool the kit was (some climb walls, etc.) you are stuck on that track, and like just about every kid I got tired of that after about a half hour too. Well, to me VC and driving have me stuck on that track, but my bike lets me leave the track for wherever I want to go
    Bottom line - riding VC takes all the fun out of biking.

  3. #3
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    I rode my Vespa to work today. I got to sit stuck in traffic, waiting for a pilot car to guide our side through some road construction. Meanwhile, bicyclists riding on the same route I would be taking, (and the same ones that pass me every morning) were passing me by in the bike lane.

    Riding strictly VC does ruin the advantages of the bicycle if taken too far.
    ~Diane
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I rode some errands today on the bike for about three hours today, up to the mall to target and a fred meyer, and I was riding VC too.

    Oh, I rode one drawbridge right across the grating and in the lanes, but then took another drawbridge's walkway, oh, and I jumped a curb at the mall to reenter the road, and even did an illegal u-turn from a left turn lane.

    Plus, riding towards the mall, I rode around a woman stopped at the green, as she read her shopping list instead of driving - I pulled around and took the lane in front of her.

    And I used a bike lane for about 300 yards, otherwise there weren't any. Oh, and I rode the waterfront path thru the park for great views of puget sound and the mountains....

    shucks, I guess despite riding VC, I was Adaptive Cycling after all!
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone would disagree that most cyclists ride according to the rules of the road, except when they don't.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Whatever you guys do, do not buy a 24" BMX bike. You will never be able to ride VC, as you will seek out obstacles to hop, and you will wheelie through intersections.

    Good experiment though. And it illustrates that VC is probably more effective where you live than someplace like my town. The main road is 40MPH, but motorists rarely adhere to that. I do, but I like the stir other motorists up. There are cars parked at the curb, and because we're laid out on a grid, side streets every block or two.

  7. #7
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    And I used a bike lane for about 300 yards, otherwise there weren't any. Oh, and I rode the waterfront path thru the park for great views of puget sound and the mountains....
    SO JEALOUS. I intend to bring my family, cycling vacation or not, back to the Pacific northwest soon. The first time I saw the Columbia River gorge it was so beautiful it didn't look real.
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
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    pj7
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    I love that post DJ, it points out EXACTLY how I feel about cycling. I'm a strict commuter. I don't go on any club rides or any of that stuff, but I do enjoy some light trail riding now and then. So for me, cycling is transportation. And to be honest, if I could not take all my short cuts thru the grass, across the RR tracks, hop off the bike and lug it across the creek, etc etc, I'd probably not be commuting every day in the horrid Michigan weather.
    Z-Land sounds like a nice little Michigan town. One of these days man, one of these days....

  9. #9
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj7
    I love that post DJ, it points out EXACTLY how I feel about cycling. I'm a strict commuter. I don't go on any club rides or any of that stuff, but I do enjoy some light trail riding now and then. So for me, cycling is transportation. And to be honest, if I could not take all my short cuts thru the grass, across the RR tracks, hop off the bike and lug it across the creek, etc etc, I'd probably not be commuting every day in the horrid Michigan weather.
    Z-Land sounds like a nice little Michigan town. One of these days man, one of these days....
    U bet man, anytime.
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
    Connor: I do believe the monsignor's finally got the point.
    Murphy: Aye.

    OttawaCountyDSA.com

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    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Ok you all are making me jealous. I have nothing but 4-6 lane thoroughfares and 40+ mph speedlimits.
    Sunrise saturday,
    I was biking the backroads,
    lost in the moment.

  11. #11
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul L.
    Ok you all are making me jealous. I have nothing but 4-6 lane thoroughfares and 40+ mph speedlimits.
    That is why I stayed within the city limits of my little town. Outside of town is either 2 lane rural roads with little or no shoulder and 55 MPH unposted speed limit or 5 lane curbed arterials with 45-55 MPH limits. Outside of town I am on the MUP 90% of the time.
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
    Connor: I do believe the monsignor's finally got the point.
    Murphy: Aye.

    OttawaCountyDSA.com

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    Senior Member CTAC's Avatar
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    I did it too today. It was raining so heavily that I could barely see anything myself. The lane was very narrow, so I had to ride in the center of it. One decent driver tried to sqeeze anyway, almost hit me. Maybe he just could not see me well.

  13. #13
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deputyjones
    The point of all of this?
    Well, I have to agree with Robert Hurst that although strict VC is ok in general it tends to strip the bicycle of it's inherent virtues. After about a half hour I was struggling to not do what riding the bike allowed me to do which was hop a curb, ride down the side path and through the parking lot to get to that store I wanted to go to that was around the other side of the block. Maybe it's because I have to drive so much that I like bicycling and the freedom it gives me to cut lose from the road and it's rules.

    The analogy I kept coming back to was that electric race car track set you had when you were a kid with the black plastic track, matchbox size cars and the little hand held, wired remote trigger you held to make the cars go. No matter how cool the kit was (some climb walls, etc.) you are stuck on that track, and like just about every kid I got tired of that after about a half hour too. Well, to me VC and driving have me stuck on that track, but my bike lets me leave the track for wherever I want to go

    **EDIT - I also forgot my helmet too
    That's the point?

    Who the heck advocates for riding strictly VC? Even Forester talks about taking short cuts to his house riding on the sidewalk opposing traffic in Effective Cycling!

    Vehicular Cycling addresses where to ride and how to behave when you're riding on, and entering, the roadway, period. Taking a shortcut through a parking lot? Who cares? Go for it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Randya
    Bottom line - riding VC takes all the fun out of biking.
    Only to someone who doesn't know what they're talking about when they say "VC", such as:

    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Meanwhile, bicyclists riding on the same route I would be taking, (and the same ones that pass me every morning) were passing me by in the bike lane.

    Riding strictly VC does ruin the advantages of the bicycle if taken too far.
    Yeah, right, like VC precludes filtering forward in congested traffic? Hardly.

    It would be really nice to debate someone who opposed VC, but who understands it. Well, there's JRA. Anyone else?

    Actually, JRA does not oppose riding VC, he opposes the politicizing of it, or something like that.

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    pj7
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    So how is leaving the roadway and entering a sidewalk a "rule of the road"? I must have missed that part in my drivers manual.
    The more I read about VC, the more I realize that it is nothing more than a buzzword created to sell books.

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    pj7
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    I don't oppose VC;
    I oppose the jamming of it down my throat as the only way to ride a bike.
    I oppose all the garbage that goes along with having a "label" on the style I ride my bike.
    I oppose someone telling me I'm doing something *wrong*, even though it has been keeping me alive.
    I oppose the way VC zealots come off on these boards.
    And I oppose stupid polls that serve no purpose than to prove a VC point!

    Until I came here, I was happy being a "bicycle rider".

    Oh, and DJ said "strict VC", which means to me "strict vehicular cycling" which in turns means to me "riding your bike and adhearing to the letter of the law". Where I come from, making shortcuts thru parking lots is an illegal roadway manuver.

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj7
    The more I read about VC, the more I realize that it is nothing more than a buzzword created to sell books.
    DING DING DING, we have a winner. Did you ever wonder how people managed to ride bikes on the roads during the 80+ years before the term was coined? It's not only a buzzword, to some it is a religion.

    You've been in A&S for a little while know, did you ever imagine that a concept as simple as riding a bicycle according to the rules of the road could be turned into something so complicated, political and divisive? The fact the 'vehicular cyclists' feel the need to label themselves such and think that such a label separates them from, and indeed makes them the guardians of the unwashed cycling masses is really quite hilarious when you think about it.

    Imagine me calling myself a Pedestrian Walker, preaching Pedestrian Walking - walking according to the rules of the sidewalks for pedestrians and instructing people to stop, look and listen before crossing the street. Would I be heralded as a pioneer, visionary and leader of a new cult?
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    I don't think anyone would disagree that most cyclists ride according to the rules of the road, except when they don't.
    So do all motorists, except when they don't.

    That's why every cyclist is a vehicular cyclist, except when they aren't.

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    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    It would be really nice to debate someone who opposed VC, but who understands it. Well, there's JRA. Anyone else?
    Like I said I was riding strict VC, and I know that you are aware that there are some who advocate for this style of riding even if you do not. If you do not support this then why even reply in opposition to this thread?
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
    Connor: I do believe the monsignor's finally got the point.
    Murphy: Aye.

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    The fact the 'vehicular cyclists' feel the need to label themselves such and think that such a label separates them from, and indeed makes them the guardians of the unwashed cycling masses is really quite hilarious when you think about it.

    Imagine me calling myself a Pedestrian Walker, preaching Pedestrian Walking - walking according to the rules of the sidewalks for pedestrians and instructing people to stop, look and listen before crossing the street. Would I be heralded as a pioneer, visionary and leader of a new cult?
    Cycling according to pedestian rules is common, for instance cycling against traffic or using sidewalks, as is teaching children to act as pedestrians when cycling. Many communities have ordinances requiring cyclists to act as pedestrians if a "usable" sidewalk is provided. Many transportation departments develop and designate "usable" sidewalk paths for cyclists designed to group them with pedestrians behind curbs.

    Vehicular cycling is a useful label for specifying bicycle operation according to the rules for drivers of vehicles, as differentiated from the rules for pedestrians, or differentiated from following no rules at all.

    If operating a bicycle according to pedestrian rules was not so common, and not so strongly encouraged by motorists, transportation departments, police, and parents of young children, then the term "vehicular" would be redundant to "cycling" on public rights of way. But since cycling on roadways according to normal vehicular rules is controversial and so often not done, the term is valuable for describing what we are doing, and what we wish to continue.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    and let us not forget you can ride VC in a bike lane.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj7
    I don't oppose VC;
    I oppose the jamming of it down my throat as the only way to ride a bike.
    I oppose all the garbage that goes along with having a "label" on the style I ride my bike.
    I oppose someone telling me I'm doing something *wrong*, even though it has been keeping me alive.
    I oppose the way VC zealots come off on these boards.
    And I oppose stupid polls that serve no purpose than to prove a VC point!

    Until I came here, I was happy being a "bicycle rider".

    Oh, and DJ said "strict VC", which means to me "strict vehicular cycling" which in turns means to me "riding your bike and adhearing to the letter of the law". Where I come from, making shortcuts thru parking lots is an illegal roadway manuver.
    I think it is more useful to refer to vehicular cycling as a paradigm, or a model, if you will, than to cast it as the "one true religion."

    Similarly, the pedestrian-on-wheels paradigm is a useful model for describing cycling the way a pedestian might negotiate his or her environment.

    There is nothing immoral about changing ones' model when it is adventageous for one's personal travel objectives. Many cyclists who promote vehicular cycling happily admit to taking occasional advantage of pedestrian connections and pedestrian rules.

    The use of "vehicular cycling" as a term is to help identify which paradigm or model one is applying to a given situation. In general use, it is intended for description, not judgement.

    -Steve Goodridge

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    Many communities have ordinances requiring cyclists to act as pedestrians if a "usable" sidewalk is provided.
    I'd be interested in a cite or two of those ordinances that specifically "require cyclists to act as pedestrians" for any significant distance. Besides the rare example of walking a bike past a specific obstruction, or maybe a bridge sidewalk or two, which is usually ignored by all.

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    I'd be interested in a cite or two of those ordinances that specifically "require cyclists to act as pedestrians" for any significant distance. Besides the rare example of walking a bike past a specific obstruction, or maybe a bridge sidewalk or two, which is usually ignored by all.
    Here is the one that Cary had, until we managed to get it repealed in 2001:

    Sec. 12-179. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
    (c) If usable paths for bicycles are provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such paths and shall not use the roadway.
    The intent of the ordinance, which had been on the books for a long time, was to require cyclists to ride on sidewalk-type paths (there were no striped bike lanes in town at the time). There are several sidewalk paths in town designated as bikeways; cyclists riding on the roadway beside these sidewalks were in violation of the law. When Cary repealed an ordinance that prohibited cycling on all sidewalks including those not designed as bikeways, all ADA-compliant sidewalks became "usable" paths.

    It took us several rounds with the city staff, police, and city council before we got the mandatory-sidepath-use ordinance repealed. The staff kept proposing changes to the ordinance that allowed cyclists to leave the sidepath only if their destination required them to divert from the route of the sidepath. We were up againsts beliefs that sidewalk cycling was safer than roadway cycling, that roadway cycling delays motorists unreasonably, and that cyclists should be expected to use any facility explicitly planned and built for removing them from the roadway. It was only after sharing with them research and literature that supports vehicular cycling as safer than sidepath use - materials that you have generally derided - that they were willing to consider letting cyclists use the roadway.

    The adjacent city of Morrisville had the same ordinance:

    Sec. 58-123. Manner of riding bicycle.
    (b) If usable paths for bicycles are provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle
    riders shall use such paths and shall not use the roadway.
    Morrisville finally repealed it last year, after being presented with the same arguments, and having the precedent already set in Cary. I was involved in both efforts.

    Similar struggles are ongoing in towns on the outer banks, where NCDOT is constructing sidepaths along many roads, and where local ordinances mandate their use.

    These sidepath ordinances are based on the former UVC 11-1205(c), which was repealed in 1979, thanks in part to... well, you know who. (Not me, I was only 9 years old!)
    Last edited by sggoodri; 03-21-07 at 11:17 AM.

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    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    Here is the one that Cary had, until we managed to get it repealed in 2001:



    The intent of the ordinance, which had been on the books for a long time, was to require cyclists to ride on sidewalk-type paths (there were no striped bike lanes in town at the time). There are several sidewalk paths in town designated as bikeways; cyclists riding on the roadway beside these sidewalks were in violation of the law. When Cary repealed an ordinance that prohibited cycling on all sidewalks including those not designed as bikeways, all ADA-compliant sidewalks became "usable" paths.

    It took us several rounds with the city staff, police, and city council before we got the mandatory-sidepath-use ordinance repealed. The staff kept proposing changes to the ordinance that allowed cyclists to leave the sidepath only if their destination required them to divert from the route of the sidepath. It was only after sharing with them research and literature that supports vehicular cycling as safer than sidepath use - materials that you have generally derided - that they were willing to consider letting cyclists use the roadway.

    The adjacent city of Morrisville had the same ordinance:



    Morrisville finally repealed it last year, after being presented with the same arguments, and having the precedent already set in Cary. I was involved in both efforts.

    Similar struggles are ongoing in towns on the outer banks, where NCDOT is constructing sidepaths along many roads, and where local ordinances mandate their use.

    These sidepath ordinances are based on the former UVC 11-1205(c), which was repealed in 1979, thanks in part to... well, you know who. (Not me, I was only 9 years old!)
    Great advocacy story! Good for you guys to take the effort to fight city hall.
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
    Connor: I do believe the monsignor's finally got the point.
    Murphy: Aye.

    OttawaCountyDSA.com

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj7
    So how is leaving the roadway and entering a sidewalk a "rule of the road"? I must have missed that part in my drivers manual.
    The more I read about VC, the more I realize that it is nothing more than a buzzword created to sell books.
    Leaving the roadway and entering a sidewalk is not a "rule of the road", nor is it VC.

    However, no one (that I know of, including Forester), advocates "strict VC" that would preclude one from leaving the roadway and entering a sidewalk. Another example of a VC advocate endorsing a non-VC technique is Forester's treatment of 2-step left turns.

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