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  1. #1
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    "RIGHT TURN ONLY EXCEPT BIKES"- what's a VC to do? ;)

    Around town I'm seeing more and more signalized intersections around town with signage directing "Right turn only except bikes".

    Usually, these are on roads with bike lanes. At more minor intersections and curb cuts, occasional right turns and cross traffic are treated with minor treatments or no variation. At some signalized intersections, however, the bike lane stripe ends considerably before the intersection with dashing lines and cessation of all lane stipe indicating the merge and yield zone, then traffic is rerouted into lanes, with one wide "right turn only except bikes" lane and 1,2, or 3 thru lanes and sometimes a center turn lane.

    After the intersection, bikes can travel straight thru the intersections and wind up in a vehicular road position in a wide lane before a vehicular bike lane resumes after the intersction with striping and merge zones for turning and merging traffic

    Right turn only is well supported by signage and bike stencils at intersections. At busy times, the wide "RTO except bikes" lane allows vehicular lane splitting up to the front of the intersection, and the bicyclist will be the only one travelling thru except other bicyclists at front of queue.

    I've seen these now both in Hawaii and Seattle; likely this type of traffic routing is being done in other locales.

    Here is a contradiction for the 'diehard' vc: signage directing legal bicycle travel contrary to the rest of the vehicles on the road. practical effect: very nice.

    where does the VC ride? where it is legal to do so? or in with the rest of traffic in the first unrestricted thru lane?

    I'm really not interested in seeing helmet head reiterate his tired 'visibility' mantra - (enough already!) but want t see more legal analysis and intrepretation of this- if signage directs legal, safe, vehicular travel for bikes in a lane but not motorized vehicles, does the 'vc' break the law and ignore the signage allowing legal, and even preferential, vehicular treatment in a

    "right turn only EXCEPT bikes" lane??

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    Gosh, tough one Bek.

    Let's see if we can get along in a meaningful way on this one. My short answer is "it depends".

    Let me see if I have the situation correct. I am riding along in the bike lane at the far right of the road. The bike lane ends before the intersection and basically becomes the right turn only lane. I am legally allowed to stay in this right turn only lane. I would imagine that legally I should stay in this lane as most states seem to have a "far right as practical' clause to bicycles?

    Do I have the basic setup correct? If so, I would handle it this way:

    1. If it was unsafe to move left into the first unrestricted thru lane, either due to traffic speed and or density, I would remain in the turn only lane. But I would put myself in the left third of that lane. My main goal being to minimize getting merged into by a car wanting to turn right. Also to help minimize the right hook possibilities from someone gunning ahead of me to the merge right.

    2. If it is safe to do so I would merge left into the first straight through lane. This helps to inform drivers that I am going straight and they can merge right into the turn only lane behind me.

    That being said, keep in mind I am not VC in the sense that I have never read any of the VC literature. I ride the way I do simply because it "works" for me in my environment.

    -D

  3. #3
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    the right hand turn lane is the first thru lane for bikes, derath.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    the right hand turn lane is the first thru lane for bikes, derath.
    Yea I got that. And if it was safe to move left into the first thru lane for ALL vehicles, I still would.

    And that would be a problem because...

    -D

  5. #5
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Bek...is the wide right turn lane wide enough for a bike lane to be striped on the left side of it? That would seem to be more in compliance with the MUTCD and common sense.

    That said, if I was going straight I would probably ride on the far left of the wide right turn only lane, in the same position where a bike lane would normally be striped for bikes going straight. I would expect any right turning vehicles approaching from the rear to either wait behind me or pass me on the right.

    On the rare occasion when there was nobody else going straight in my direction, I would probably merge out of the right turn only lane just to make it clear to cross traffic wanting to make a turn on red that may not see the "bikes don't have to turn right" sign that I am indeed going straight.

  6. #6
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    problem, Derath I guess it's not a 'problem' except it's

    a)unecessary- thru travel for bikes in RTO/bike lane is routed smoothly.

    b)weaving to travel lane increases bicyclists' lateral unpredictablity- a cyclist would have to actively weave further left into general thru lane, and then weave back after intersection- a straight and most efficient, most consistent line at these intersections is straight thru the RTO/bike lane.

    c)getting stuck behind a lineup of cars in general thru lane. Decreasing your overall speed.

    d)slowing cars down approaching, thru intersection and past. Increasing road friction.

    generally less expedient, less effective, increases road friction and increases bicyclists' unpredictability. but a 'problem'?

    it IS a problem if you subscribe to general rules of the road. You ignore a vehicular lane classed for bikes in favor of riding further left.


    Do you NEVER ride in a lane a car can turn right from, derath? like a normal travel lane? do you always need to ride in the NEXT lane over because of potential conflicts with turning traffic?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-02-08 at 10:12 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    problem, Derath I guess it's not a 'problem' except it's

    a)unecessary- thru travel for bikes in RTO/bike lane is routed smoothly.
    Yes and no. While I am allowed to go straight in this RTO lane, cars around me may not be able to determine my intent. Am I going straight, or am I turning right? If I am turning right I guess I could hold my arm out the whole time. But if I am going straight how will drivers know? This becomes the issue I run into. Drivers that don't know. They should because I am not actively signaling a turn. But at least where I ride drivers get "stupid" about this and start becoming unpredicable around ME. Which is why I stated that in this RTO/bike lane, I would stay to the left portion of the lane. That way even if a car doesn't know if I am going straight or turning right, the only thing they could do would potentially pass me on the right rather than right hooking me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    b)weaving to travel lane increases bicyclists' lateral unpredictablity- a cyclist would have to actively weave further left into thru lane, and then weave back after intersection- a straight and most efficient, most consistent line at these intersections is straight thru the RTO/bike lane.
    Not weaving, MERGING. And it is the same "predictable" manouver cars make. I would signal my intent to merge left, move into that lane, hold my line, and then predictably merge back right after the intersection. In doing so the potential for confusion above would be negated. Traffic would KNOW I am going straight, predictably.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    c)getting stuck behind a lineup of cars in thru lane. Decreasing your overall speed.
    Why would I merge left in this case? If anything I would consider this to be part of #1 in my original post due to traffic density. I'm not a mindless robot saying "must move left, must move left". Sheesh.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    d)slowing cars down thru intersection and past. Increasing road friction.
    Again, if I am cause that much friction it would fall under #1 above AGAIN.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    generally less expedient, less effective and less safe. but a 'problem'?
    Depends, depends and depends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    it IS a problem if you subscribe to general rules of the road, though. You ignore a vehicular lane classed for bikes in favor of riding further left.
    How? Is there signage saying I am ONLY allowed to ride in this RTO lane? You clearly state that the bike lane stripe disappears before the intersection. So I am not bound to this lane. They also make signs like this for busses (Right turn only except busses). Sometimes the buss still merges left. Is the bus breaking some rule of the road? In fact the reason they do this for busses is so they don't have to merge left during heavy traffic (not as easy for a big bus) but otherwise there is no problem with the bus merging left.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Do you NEVER ride in a lane a car can turn right from, derath? like a normal travel lane? do you always need to ride in the NEXT lane over because of potential conflicts with turning traffic?
    I learned a long time ago to never say never. There are always exceptions. It all depends on the situation at the time. I use my "situational awareness" to determine the best course of action at the time.

    But yes there are sections of my commute that I have found it beneficial to move one lane further to the left. I could give detailed examples if you like, but I suspect you would ignore them or dismiss them out of hand.

    I also don't live in a state as progressive towards cyclists as you, so I don't have the advantages of signage such as you describe. The only bike related signs on my commute is the ubiquitous "share the road". So maybe if we had those lanes here and drivers around me got used to how it worked, I would change my habits. But until then I can only give you answers based on MY experiences on the road in MY area.

    -D

  8. #8
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    yeah. i think you make a simple road positioning scenario much more difficult than need be. look at it this way, it's a lane of travel where cars are restricted to turning right, but there is no restriction on bikes.

    just like a right hand lane that cars have to turn right from after a block during rush hour, but not at other times, and bikes can use the lane unimpeded by hours of thru operation.

    I predict more and more special class restrictions AGAINST single occupancy vehicles' unimpeded use while allowing HOV, transit and bikes use of lanes at certain hours or in certain road positions. And, just like other bicycling considerations in the paint on the ground, it behooves a 'vehicular cyclist' to recognize pragmatism over prattling ideologies when regarding preferred class treatment for bicyclists and other specially classed vehicles.



    Derath, you were more agreeing with my points to use the RTO lane than finding legitimate rationale against using it. Traffic friction and stuck in traffic lineups are two virtually omnipresent reasons for a bicyclist to be in the RTO/bike lane. Definetly during normal daytime and commute hours.

    and you try the predictabilty fallacy that by increasing your unprdictability and modifying your line you somehow increase your predictability. you're not holding a line, you're changing lanes in blatant disregard for signage allowing full use of lane by bikes... unpredictably so.

    and whatever. you can reiterate the slim rationale you have to ride further left in this situation, and many others. I can think of many myself. just not in this case, sorry, derath.

    I'll get you some pictures on my commute tommorow.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-03-08 at 12:31 AM.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    Not weaving, MERGING. And it is the same "predictable" manouver cars make. I would signal my intent to merge left, move into that lane, hold my line, and then predictably merge back right after the intersection. In doing so the potential for confusion above would be negated. Traffic would KNOW I am going straight, predictably.
    No, NOT 'predictable or expected, nor necessary. Why?

    increasing your lateral ambiguity to decrease your predictabilty? hmm. you don't HAVE to merge or signal your intent to change lanes, just hold the lane, dude. it's not that tough. not inherently required to be powerweaving to try and increase your predictability approaching the intersection.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-03-08 at 12:31 AM.

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    Bek,

    Thanks for proving my supposition. It is basically impossible to have a intelligent discussion with you in this forum. You posted this thread with the "right" answer already made up in your mind. I come along and answer it mostly the way you consider "right" but with some minor differences.

    Because I didin't agree with you 100% I am "wrong" and you keep using VC labels in a seeming effort to paint me as yet another VC zealot, which I am not. You cannot say "while I don't agree with you 100% derath your response is still reasonable"

    By the way, so far you have had 2 distinct replies on your thread. Fom myself and "JeffB502". Jeff's reply states basically the EXACT same thing I would do. Neither of us are in the VC zealot camp. So right now you are losing 2 to 1. What happens when other people reply similarily to me? At one point do you concede that maybe my viewpoint is reasonable? Or do you continue to hammer your "my answer is the only correct one" strategy until everyone gives up and simply stops posting?

    -D

  11. #11
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    If the cylist chooses to proceed straight from the right hand lane, the cyclist should use the left side of the lane, treating it like a multiple-destination lane, since that is essentially what it is for a mixture of through bicycle and right-turning traffic, and this positioning is required to avoid traveling straight at a position right of right-turning traffic.

    The cyclist might choose to use the same through lane that the other traffic uses. I cannot say exactly what I would do without seeing the traffic and road conditions.

    My city has an unfortunately large number of new right-turn-only lanes that were built very wide as part of incremental road widening. Eventually the widened roads will feature wide outside through lanes, but for now they are very wide RTOLs next to 11' or 12' through lanes. When proceeding straight at these lanes I usually proceed on the lane line to facilitate passing on either side. I have tried riding straight in the left side of the RTOL but this sometimes confuses right-turning drivers and often puts me in the wrong position for the other side of the intersection. I don't want to have to move laterally in the middle of the intersection like many cyclists do, creating the potential for surprises. Presumably a lane designed for through-bicycle traffic will have someplace for the cyclist to go on the other side of the intersection, and hopefully it won't be strewn with debris due to a lack of use by motor traffic. But I'd have to see it before doing something different from my default operation of going with the same destination positioning as other drivers.

  12. #12
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    The situation sounds very similar to the MUTCD "Begin Right Turn Lane Yield to Bikes" which is for when a bikeway is overlaid with a right hand turn lane.

    While derath position of "it depends" is extremely valid for where he lives as most likely he is talking about no bikeway involved and I will note that taking the lane in a high volume right hand turn lane to go straight is the next thing to suicide around here. But we do have a situation between the B&A trail and Annapolis along 450 where bikes are on the shoulder and the occasional low traffic right hand turn lane overlaying the shoulder with the MUTCD sign mentioned above. Our State Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access insists that cyclists must leave the shoulder and safely merge with 50+mph traffic for each of these right hand turn "only" lanes and we think he's nuts as he turned a sign that says yield to bikes into "Bikes must yield to cars" sign. I mention this as I find it fascinating how signs meant to clear things up still can find a way to mess things up.

    Anyway, combo right turn and straight through lanes are Vehicular so I find that bit of the argument silly.
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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath View Post
    Bek,

    Thanks for proving my supposition. It is basically impossible to have a intelligent discussion with you in this forum. You posted this thread with the "right" answer already made up in your mind. I come along and answer it mostly the way you consider "right" but with some minor differences.

    Because I didin't agree with you 100% I am "wrong" and you keep using VC labels in a seeming effort to paint me as yet another VC zealot, which I am not. You cannot say "while I don't agree with you 100% derath your response is still reasonable"

    By the way, so far you have had 2 distinct replies on your thread. Fom myself and "JeffB502". Jeff's reply states basically the EXACT same thing I would do. Neither of us are in the VC zealot camp. So right now you are losing 2 to 1. What happens when other people reply similarily to me? At one point do you concede that maybe my viewpoint is reasonable? Or do you continue to hammer your "my answer is the only correct one" strategy until everyone gives up and simply stops posting?

    -D

    A lot of times I prefer riding in peak rush hour traffic than post here on the VC forum with Prof. Bek. Sorry Bek, didn't mean to clutter up this forum with more of my buffoonery and obtuse theatrics.

  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i see no rationale for ignoring a thru lane for bicyclists in the scenarios described above.

    for derath to state he'd ignore a legal thru lane for bikes in favor of riding in the next inside thru lane for bikes is over the top. sorry derath, but it's really over the top. full width thru lane for bikes, and you would move to the next lane over becasue that's where the cars have to travel straight from.

    I understand defensive bicycling, which would necessiate unique in time traffic and intersection analysis to determine 'best placement' which might require a lane change approaching the intersection,

    but derath's 'it depends' argukments is loaded with hysterical hyperbole in attempts to deny bike specific treatments for bicyclists. "Move left to next lane unless it is unsafe"

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Let's try to ilustrate restricted thru lanes another way, and see if there's a difference in how a bike should travel dependant on rules for cars but not bikes.....

    How about thru lanes that, during rush hour, become restricted for thru travel by bikes and buses?

    3rd Ave downtown Seattle, signage thru downtown "cars must turn right 3-6 PM" where does a rider ride at 2:30PM? at 4 PM?at 5:58PM? at 6:30PM?

    Where do you ride at 6:30 on that road, and would you ride it differently at 5:58, derath?

    ANd keep in mind, derath, THOSE SIGNS DON'T APPLY TO BIKES, DUDE!

    I would like to reiterate the underlying message in this thread, which I illustrated in post #8 above-

    I predict more and more special class restrictions AGAINST single occupancy vehicles' unimpeded use while allowing HOV, transit and bikes use of lanes at certain hours or in certain road positions. it behooves a 'vehicular cyclist' to recognize pragmatism and develop best strategies that encompass preffered class rules and lanes for bicyclists and other specially classed vehicles."
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-03-08 at 09:16 AM.

  16. #16
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Cycling advocacy groups locally have worked to eliminate the last few remaining 'RTOL except bicycles signs.'

    See bottom middle of this pdf newsletter:
    http://www.cazbike.org/20080109_Spro...inal_draft.pdf

    Al
    Last edited by noisebeam; 03-03-08 at 09:13 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    i see no rationale for ignoring a thru lane for bicyclists in the scenarios described above.

    for derath to state he'd ignore a legal thru lane for bikes in favor of riding in the next inside thru lane for bikes is over the top. sorry derath, but it's really over the top. full width thru lane for bikes, and you would move to the next lane over becasue that's where the cars have to travel straight from.

    I understand defensive bicycling, which would necessiate unique in time traffic and intersection analysis to determine 'best placement' which might require a lane change approaching the intersection,

    but derath's 'it depends' argukments is loaded with hysterical hyperbole in attempts to deny bike specific treatments for bicyclists. "Move left to next lane unless it is unsafe"
    I don't get it, what is the point of your post then. You asked for opinions and said were given. Are you seriously suggesting abandonment of common sense because a road sign allows you do something that a motor vehicle cannot? Just because the sign carves and exception for bicyclists, does not extinguish other rights to use road as a bicyclist sees as safe.

    I have already regretted posting this, but I wonder how some people get out of bed in the morning?

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i get out of bed looking forward to my bike commute. Dude, I'm all over the road when I ride to keep my best defensive interests, (and I fully support derath in his defensive bicycling endeavors,) but online hyperbole of ignoring a full travel lane restricted against motor vehicles is hyperbole regardless of how you slice it. I see hyperbole in deraths posts- my opinion.


    preffered class restrictions AGAINST single occupancy motor vehicles do not apply to bicyclists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    for derath to state he'd ignore a legal thru lane for bikes in favor of riding in the next inside thru lane for bikes is over the top. sorry derath, but it's really over the top. full width thru lane for bikes, and you would move to the next lane over becasue that's where the cars have to travel straight from.
    Bek, stop rewording my statements to fit your arguments. It's rude, it's wrong, and it's deceitful. I have never indicated I would simply ignore the legal through lane. I have stated I might, based on the conditions at the time.

    As an example, say one day at this intersection there are a large number of people turning right. So the RTOL is backed up, but the adjacent thru lane is not. Do you mean to tell me you would squeeze past these backed up cars, essentially splitting the lane, or would you move over and use the clear lane to get through the intersection. I would because it MAKES SENSE at that time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I understand defensive bicycling, which would necessiate unique in time traffic and intersection analysis to determine 'best placement' which might require a lane change approaching the intersection,
    But you choose to ignore this understanding when talking about my statements? All I have talked about is that I might choose to move left depending on the situation. That IS defensive bicycling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    but derath's 'it depends' argukments is loaded with hysterical hyperbole in attempts to deny bike specific treatments for bicyclists. "Move left to next lane unless it is unsafe"
    Hysterical Hyperbole? You are the only one creating that my friend. My arguments are based off my REAL WORLD riding. Barry did a good job in this thread explaining that in his defense of me. Since we live in the same area he understands what I am talking about.

    And so far my take on the situation is essentially the EXACT SAME as everyone elses opinion that has posted in this thread so far. You aren't doing a good job of trying to paint me as something I am not, nice try though.

    -D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    i get out of bed looking forward to my bike commute. Dude, I'm all over the road when I ride to keep my best defensive interests, (and I fully support derath in his defensive bicycling endeavors,) but online hyperbole of ignoring a full travel lane restricted against motor vehicles is hyperbole regardless of how you slice it. I see hyperbole in deraths posts- my opinion.
    And it is very clear that your opinions are clouded by your feelings on the messenger and not the message. Considering my opinion has been the same as everyone elses so far, yet I am the one "over the top"

    Here, i will try to summarize my feelings in as succinct of a statement as I can:

    Given the scenario posted above, I would tend to default to riding in RTOL/Straight through for bikes lane. But this would not preclude my leaving this lane if the situations warrant/allow it.

    -D

    [edit] Weird, my reply got split into two posts? oh NM, replied to two different posts. Multitasking gets me in trouble sometimes.

  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    requiring cars to turn right does not invalidate a bicyclists' thru use of the lane.

    I assert it is generally safer to follow a striaht line and use the vehicular thru lane for bikes unless unsafe to do so, as opposed to derath where he would not use the thru lane for bikes unless it was unsafe to use the next lane over.

    two distinctly different persepctives, and i will continue to call your 'methodology' as unecessary and unmerited, derath. you can ride however you like.

    I see in your last post, derath ,that you WOULD generally default to the use of the RTO/thru lanes. your first posts did not make that clear.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    off to ride to the bike shop! I'll try to bring a camera...

    B. have a great day all!!

  23. #23
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    You can see what I do here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsK-Pnv7yDo

    Al

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I see in your last post, derath ,that you WOULD generally default to the use of the RTO/thru lanes. your first posts did not make that clear.
    Next time ask for clarification instead of demonizing me ok? And to be even more clear, the post by JeffB502 summarizes it better than me. If he had posted first I would have just done a +1.

    And yes there are still times I would move left into the adjacent lane. I would be more than happy to explain some of these specific situations that I have encountered if you care. I think you would agree that they make sense.

    Have a safe ride.

    -D

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    You can see what I do here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsK-Pnv7yDo

    Al
    Great example! I would probably do the exact same thing in that exact same scenario. It makes perfect sense.

    -D

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