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Riding where most drivers think we should ride

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Riding where most drivers think we should ride

Old 08-10-17, 06:54 AM
  #1  
rydabent
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Riding where most drivers think we should ride

I believe I am pretty safe in saying the most drivers think that cyclist should be allowed about 2 inches of the road totally to the far right.

The problem here in most places is that so much of the time the shoulders are junk and trash laden. What I would like to see is that all drunk drivers that are convicted should have as part of their sentence is to have to pick up several miles of our trash laden hiways. Hopefully it would be a deterrent to drive drunk in the future, and would of course help clean up the enviroment.

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Old 08-10-17, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I believe I am pretty safe in saying the most drivers think they cyclist should be allowed about 2 inches of the road totally to the far right.
Straw man argument.
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Old 08-11-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I believe I am pretty safe in saying the most drivers think they cyclist should be allowed about 2 inches of the road totally to the far right.

The problem here in most places is that so much of the time the shoulders are junk and trash laden. What I would like to see is that all drunk drivers that are convicted should have as part of their sentence is to have to pick up several miles of our trash laden hiways. Hopefully it would be a deterrent to drive drunk in the future, and would of course help clean up the enviroment.
I don't know that it's safe to say that most drivers think that, but certainly many do.

The debris at the road edge is really a relatively minor issue. The much bigger problems with riding at the road edge are:
  1. The cyclist at the edge is less conspicuous than the cyclist conspicuously positioned near the center of the lane, and is thus more likely to be overlooked and hit.
  2. The cyclist's vantage to hazards ahead is poor as compared to being out in the road in the "driver's position".
  3. Vulnerable to being doored.
  4. More vulnerable to being right hooked.
  5. More vulnerable to a pull out crash.
  6. More vulnerable to a left cross crash.
  7. Invites dangerously close within-lane passing.

The good news is that the biggest impediment to riding further out in the lane is the cyclist's own mentality. Cyclists that get over the sense that they don't belong out in the lane do just fine out there.
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Old 08-11-17, 10:47 AM
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I find drivers to be more receptive to sharing the road when I ride as the existing law prescribes. On roads narrower than 14 feet I usually take the rightmost wheel track (it's usually safer than center lane, which is often rough and oily with debris).

That also happens to leave the 3 foot buffer from the curb specified in the law -- as far right as *practicable*, not as far right as possible. Practicable is interpreted to mean leave a 3 foot buffer from the curb, shoulder and roadside debris. That also effectively means taking the lane.

On wider roads if I ride 3 feet from the curb/road edge, that usually leaves vehicles plenty of room to pass in the lane without lane splitting.

In turn I try not to get my feathers ruffled if drivers choose to lane split while passing. If they're not crowding me then the only concern I have is when drivers endanger themselves and oncoming traffic by choosing the wrong time to pass.

Hugging the curb or road edge confuses drivers. They don't know whether to pass in your lane or move over. And in the split second they have to decide they may endanger other drivers by lane splitting without checking their mirrors. Or they may just get pissed off and act out with honking or brush-by passes.

"Taking the lane" as prescribed by law helps avoid annoying sensible drivers because it makes our position and intentions clear.

Can't do anything about the overtly rude idiots. They are what they are. Fortunately the good folks outnumber them.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
On roads narrower than 14 feet I usually take the rightmost wheel track (it's usually safer than center lane, which is often rough and oily with debris).
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Old 08-11-17, 03:11 PM
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I'm the "orange" rider typically. I don't freak out if I get passed in the lane. At least where I ride, the "red" rider's position is where the roadway is beat up and on a road bike can be a challenge.

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.
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Old 08-11-17, 03:29 PM
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Seen it, tried it, disagree. Center lane is too dangerous in many areas because of the accumulation of oil, debris and uneven paving.

To be specific, much of our area is rural chipseal. This is only slightly better than gravel. It's the cheapest, nastiest form of paving but it's durable. Nobody likes it except county commissioners who can claim they're doing a good job with road maintenance. For vehicles it's rough and wears tires quickly. For residents it's noisy and amplifies vehicle sounds. For cyclists it's potentially dangerous.

Over time with vehicle wear the wheel tracks become a bit smoother and more predictable. The lane center never does and never will. Lane center is ridged, often still with loose gravel that was never properly rolled down or swept away, and over time vehicle fluids accumulate.

Now I will agree that on ideal pavement -- smooth asphalt or concrete -- riding lane center signifies the cyclist is clearly taking the lane.

But in my experience on our crappy chipseal roads, signifying that I'm taking the lane by insisting on riding lane center will last exactly as long as it takes for me to slip and lose control on the crappy excuse for pavement that we all know and hate as chipseal.

Wanna see my helmet video cam footage of me nearly wiping out on the stuff? It's funny only in retrospect because I didn't crash. But it warped my rim sliding sideways to recover.

BTW, I do occasionally take the leftmost wheel track for better visibility and lane control where appropriate. Rounding bends on rural highways with heavy tree cover, etc., and other situations.

/rant

/off my lawn

Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post

Last edited by canklecat; 08-11-17 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 08-11-17, 03:35 PM
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I believe in taking the lane when appropriate, but I’d still rather move over briefly to let someone pass me than have them sit behind me and pass at a time that I don’t choose, so I'll change between any of those positions (deliberately and safely) depending on risk of road debris, passing opportunities, dooring risk, traffic volume, relative speed, and other factors.

Like everything else on the road, it is situational, even within the scope of what the law allows.

But all other things being equal, riding next to the very edge of the road is generally the worst choice, even when making room for faster traffic. There are plenty of other risks besides being passed closely.
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Old 08-11-17, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Seen it, tried it, disagree. Center lane is too dangerous in many areas because of the accumulation of oil, debris and uneven paving.

To be specific, much of our area is rural chipseal. This is only slightly better than gravel. It's the cheapest, nastiest form of paving but it's durable. Nobody likes it except county commissioners who can claim they're doing a good job with road maintenance. For vehicles it's rough and wears tires quickly. For residents it's noisy and amplifies vehicle sounds. For cyclists it's potentially dangerous.

Over time with vehicle wear the wheel tracks become a bit smoother and more predictable. The lane center never does and never will. Lane center is ridged, often still with loose gravel that was never properly rolled down or swept away, and over time vehicle fluids accumulate.

Now I will agree that on ideal pavement -- smooth asphalt or concrete -- riding lane center signifies the cyclist is clearly taking the lane.

But in my experience on our crappy chipseal roads, signifying that I'm taking the lane by insisting on riding lane center will last exactly as long as it takes for me to slip and lose control on the crappy excuse for pavement that we all know and hate as chipseal.

Wanna see my helmet video cam footage of me nearly wiping out on the stuff? It's funny only in retrospect because I didn't crash. But it warped my rim sliding sideways to recover.

BTW, I do occasionally take the leftmost wheel track for better visibility and lane control where appropriate. Rounding bends on rural highways with heavy tree cover, etc., and other situations.

/rant

/off my lawn
Not lane center, "left of center". Especially if there is debris and oil to avoid. The idea is to make it clear to approaching motorists, sooner rather than later, that they will need to use the adjacent lane to pass, at least partially. If you're riding in the right tire track that is not as obvious as soon.
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Old 08-11-17, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
Not lane center, "left of center". Especially if there is debris and oil to avoid. The idea is to make it clear to approaching motorists, sooner rather than later, that they will need to use the adjacent lane to pass, at least partially. If you're riding in the right tire track that is not as obvious as soon.
I do often ride just left of center on our city streets during group rides because I'm confident in traffic while some of our new participants are not. It clearly signals to vehicles that they need to pass in the next lane, not lane split. And our city streets are in good enough condition that it's safe to ride smack dab center lane.

But I haven't had any problems with rude drivers on our rural two lane chipseal highways when I ride the rightmost wheel track. And it's arguably safer overall.

Changes in the economy over the past 20 years have created a common problem on two lane rural highways -- once designated as farm to market roads -- in Texas, and probably elsewhere in the midwest and south. In ye olden dayes when I was a wee lad locals knew how to drive on farm to market roads. We made allowances for slow moving farm and ranch equipment, folks on horseback, etc.

But over time those farms and ranches were split up, sold and redeveloped as cheap tract housing for city folks who want upscale houses with low property taxes. And cheap gasoline makes it feasible to commute 50-100 miles for a home that would cost millions in the city but only $250k on the rural outskirts.

So now those old highways are inundated with city folks who have no idea how to drive on a farm to market road. They don't know how to anticipate, how to change lanes, and pay zero attention to lane markings, road signs or anything else.

They will pass by lane splitting or endangering themselves and oncoming traffic in order to avoid cyclists. They give me far more berth than I actually need. While I appreciate it, they're also hell bent on head-on collisions with other drivers. There is nothing anyone can do about it, short of continual law enforcement presence and a statewide re-education program.

Taking lane center, or slightly left of lane center, doesn't alter their behavior on these two lane farm to market roads. They still lane split, while giving cyclists and slower moving vehicles less buffer. Seen it hundreds of times, not only with cyclists but also with farm and ranch vehicles, roadside maintenance vehicles, slower moving cars, etc.

I appreciate the diagram above and agree in theory. But the reality is it doesn't work on these two lane rural farm to market roads. From what I've seen most of us who ride 'em agree and prefer the rightmost wheel track.
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Old 08-11-17, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
Not lane center, "left of center". Especially if there is debris and oil to avoid. The idea is to make it clear to approaching motorists, sooner rather than later, that they will need to use the adjacent lane to pass, at least partially. If you're riding in the right tire track that is not as obvious as soon.
Meh, no interest in riding left of center unless i am going to get into a left turning lane or something like that.
But i live in an area where people seen to give me plenty of room when passing. They see me, they move around me, everyone is happy. Ill count my lucky stars, i guess.
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Old 08-12-17, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
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Old 08-12-17, 04:40 PM
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Taking full control of the lane is not something drivers of cars like to see, it causes a lot of anger and hence we see a lot of cyclists being deliberately run over because of it. One day this will change perhaps, but until it does I am happy to keep to the extreme right (Left down here) and let the beta-tester cyclists do the risky work.
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Old 08-12-17, 07:51 PM
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@Ninety5rpm -- I happened to review some of my recent ride videos looking for a particular clip from a group ride. Anyway, turns out I actually am riding just left of lane center most of the time on well maintained city streets, especially in group rides. I wasn't consciously aware of it.

But most of the time I'm in the right wheel track on rural roads and highways.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
...most drivers think that cyclist should be allowed about 2 inches of the road totally to the far right.
Sidewalk! Many motorists have yelled that word to me over the years. This is how I know where they want me to be.

My favorite incident came after waiting for a red light at a 10-lane busy intersection for literally FIVE MINUTES. The lady behind me finished her entire Happy Meal while we waited. No way on Earth to frogger that spot, so I waited and waited. At last the light turned green and I "drafted" the one car ahead of me with the McTramp right on my back "bumper". We all crossed the intersection together about five feet apart. When the truck in front of me turned into a driveway, I moved over and waved the McDoofus behind me to pass. She slowed as she passed and yelled "SIDEWALK!" at me, to which I responded with my longest finger in a horizontal position and the word "SIDEWAYS!". As tempting as the offer must have been to her, she continued on her way.

She was in a huge rush but still found the time to slow down and yell at me. Typical.
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Old 08-14-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by coominya View Post
Taking full control of the lane is not something drivers of cars like to see, it causes a lot of anger and hence we see a lot of cyclists being deliberately run over because of it. One day this will change perhaps, but until it does I am happy to keep to the extreme right (Left down here) and let the beta-tester cyclists do the risky work.
This is not my experience at all. To the contrary. Motorists seem to appreciate knowing what I'm doing. They sure act friendly and appreciative to me. But I'm a big believer in communication and cooperation. I don't just ignore them.
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Old 08-15-17, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
The green cyclist is generally breaking the law.

The argument against the position if the red rider is mostly made-up bull****.

Just because you can find a cartoon you agree with doesn't mean you are right.

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-15-17 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 08-16-17, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
The green cyclist is generally breaking the law.

The argument against the position if the red rider is mostly made-up bull****.

Just because you can find a cartoon you agree with doesn't mean you are right.
The green cyclist isn't breaking the law in most states. Go look at the FRAP laws and you will usually find that there is either an explicit exception for substandard (less than fourteen feet) lanes, the word practicable (which implies safe lane positioning) and/or the state has an explicit passing distance like three or four feet, which creates a situation wherein motorists must leave the lane to legally pass already.

If your state is one of the exceptions, that's too bad for you.

As far as your claim that gutter hugging has no additional risks, I don't suppose there's much data, just opinions (and you know what they say about those). However, my experience, and that of many other experienced cyclists, is that when we used to gutter hug we had many more incidents (yes, I was hit several times before I realized my lane position was the problem many decades ago).

If gutter hugging is working for you, by all means feel free to continue. For now, I'm convinced that the odds of motorists running me over in cold blood is less than the odds of them accidentally hitting me when they try to squeeze by in the same substandard lane. I'd rather be cursed at occasionally than hit. YMMV.
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Old 08-16-17, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
The green cyclist isn't breaking the law in most states. Go look at the FRAP laws and you will usually find that there is either an explicit exception for substandard (less than fourteen feet) lanes, the word practicable (which implies safe lane positioning) and/or the state has an explicit passing distance like three or four feet, which creates a situation wherein motorists must leave the lane to legally pass already.
More BS.

* the cartoon doesn't mention substandard lanes (substandard lanes are an exception).
* It's not "practicable" (you are missing words). "As far right as practicable" doesn't generally or usually mean "in the middle of the lane".
* three or four feet of passing room has nothing to do with being "in the middle of the lane".

Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
As far as your claim that gutter hugging has no additional risks,


I made no such claim.

Heck, the cartoon isn't talking about "gutter hugging".

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-16-17 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 08-16-17, 08:00 AM
  #20  
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Legal or otherwise, the green cyclist in that animation would get killed here, either accidentally or intentionally. I survive by riding "as far right as practicable." Sometimes that means I'm dodging glass in the gutter, because I'm gonna get murdered if I go any further left-- no bike lane, no shoulder, and no cars that will even move slightly left. Nothing like the refreshing feeling of a sideview mirror passing an inch from my head. This is not a compliance issue, this is a physics issue. 220lbs of bike + rider loses to 4,000lbs of car + driver every time.

An easy way to spot new cyclists is to watch their riding line-- I see some so far right their pedal is barely missing the curb.
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Old 08-16-17, 06:34 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post

* the cartoon doesn't mention substandard lanes (substandard lanes are an exception).
Substandard lanes are a legal exception; in practice they are the rule in most places, as lanes wide enough for safe side-by-side travel within the lane by vehicle and bike are the (very rare) exception.

The generally accepted minimum width for a shareable lane by anyone who seriously does the math is 14 feet . A standard freeway lane is 11-12 feet wide. Same with suburban arterials. Lanes on urban streets are often narrower.

Another way to look at it: if a lane is wide enough for safe side-by-side travel by bicycle and vehicle, then there should be sufficient space to paint a bike lane within that lane. If there is sufficient width for a bike lane, then there should be a bike lane. If there isn't, then the lane is too narrow for sharing.

I presume the lane depicted in the lane is typical - too narrow to safely share side-by-side, and therefore the position of the green cyclist is legally compliant.
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Old 08-16-17, 07:37 PM
  #22  
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The best place to ride is always going to be dependent on local conditions, but where I ride I would fully agree with the illustration. Ride where the green rider is and you'll readily be seen. Move over to more easily facilitate the passing driver when safe to do so. Drivers in these parts seem to react to this very well.
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Old 08-16-17, 07:57 PM
  #23  
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I ride in the shoulder if there is one, in the right tire track if not. 12 years and 40,000 miles so far, not one car incident that scared me.
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Old 08-16-17, 11:53 PM
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Had a debate with a person on a local Facebook cycling page Wednesday over where cyclists should ride. Odd debate because she's friends with several folks I know who are cyclists. But she seemed to think cyclists don't belong on access roads.

She posted a photo of a cyclist in the right lane of a two lane access road. The cyclist was nearly hugging the shoulder, similar to the orange rider in the above graphic. Shouldn't have been an issue. No other traffic around. But she was adamant cyclists shouldn't use highway access roads, even though those are often the only routes to some areas. Not just the most convenient or safest, but *only* routes, period.

I thought the conversation was civil. Maybe she felt ganged up on because several of us said it was normal and legal for cyclists to use access roads. A couple of folks said that the only thing the cyclist did wrong was to hug the shoulder rather than taking the lane.

She finally cussed me out and deleted the entire thread. Too bad. I thought it was going okay and we might persuade her to reconsider. Probably just made things worse by not immediately agreeing with her rant. Maybe she'll go to another Facebook group and post about selfish, reckless, entitled cyclists and get the affirmation she wanted.

I'm left wondering how often drivers with that sort of passive-aggressive attitude modify their driving in little ways that seem insignificant at a glance, but which can set up accidents. Little things like accelerating to cut us off when we signal a lane change. Or speeding up when we jaywalk because the intersection with walk signal is even more dangerous. Crowding pedestrians on crosswalks. Braking late at stop signs and red lights when a cyclist is ahead of them. All those little things that too often are called "accidents", but rooted in passive-aggressive behaviors that accomplish nothing to save a driver time.
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Old 08-17-17, 06:46 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Had a debate with a person on a local Facebook cycling page Wednesday over where cyclists should ride. Odd debate because she's friends with several folks I know who are cyclists. But she seemed to think cyclists don't belong on access roads.

She posted a photo of a cyclist in the right lane of a two lane access road. The cyclist was nearly hugging the shoulder, similar to the orange rider in the above graphic. Shouldn't have been an issue. No other traffic around. But she was adamant cyclists shouldn't use highway access roads, even though those are often the only routes to some areas. Not just the most convenient or safest, but *only* routes, period.

I thought the conversation was civil. Maybe she felt ganged up on because several of us said it was normal and legal for cyclists to use access roads. A couple of folks said that the only thing the cyclist did wrong was to hug the shoulder rather than taking the lane.

She finally cussed me out and deleted the entire thread. Too bad. I thought it was going okay and we might persuade her to reconsider. Probably just made things worse by not immediately agreeing with her rant. Maybe she'll go to another Facebook group and post about selfish, reckless, entitled cyclists and get the affirmation she wanted.

I'm left wondering how often drivers with that sort of passive-aggressive attitude modify their driving in little ways that seem insignificant at a glance, but which can set up accidents. Little things like accelerating to cut us off when we signal a lane change. Or speeding up when we jaywalk because the intersection with walk signal is even more dangerous. Crowding pedestrians on crosswalks. Braking late at stop signs and red lights when a cyclist is ahead of them. All those little things that too often are called "accidents", but rooted in passive-aggressive behaviors that accomplish nothing to save a driver time.
Take some pleasure in knowing that if you cycle, you will be the one placing flowers on your "friends" grave. Setting in a car, and setting at home will lead that kind of person to an early grave.
rydabent is offline  

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