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NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

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NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

Old 12-11-20, 04:20 PM
  #26  
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Those rectangular items next to the solid white line are lane departure warning rumble depressions, not something anyone on a bike, let alone a group, would want to deal with or cross regularly..
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Old 12-11-20, 04:29 PM
  #27  
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Despite what I wrote earlier, with the google maps image showing the rumble strips, that shoulder is too narrow for a double pace line. The surface to the right of the tarmac may be "rideable", but not at road bike/paceline speeds. I would be comfortable single file on the shoulder to the right of the rumble strips, but in a big strong group trying to keep a good pace, well....

But even with an escort car, I can't imagine riding 20 mph in a traffic lane of a 75mph highway. That's trusting that all the trucks are going to change lanes in time.

But as SpeedofLight wrote, we can't understand what happened without some more details emerging. Except that it was a tragedy.
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Old 12-11-20, 09:08 PM
  #28  
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Legal to ride most roads in the state.

Yes, it is legal to ride on roads like this in Nevada. In many cases there is one road between rural towns and that is all. You are not allowed to ride the interstate highway in parts of the Las Vegas valley where there are local roads connecting the same points. Once you are outside of town it is legal to ride the shoulder of I-15 if you want to go to California or Utah. There are no alternatives to go to CA once you reach the very south end of Las Vegas Boulevard. I-215 which is all within the valley is off limits. The article in the newspaper listed just 3 roads that were verboten for bike riding in this area. However it makes sense even in the valley to avoid major thoroughfares when there are lesser traveled roads close by..
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Old 12-11-20, 10:10 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Yes, it is legal to ride on roads like this in Nevada. In many cases there is one road between rural towns and that is all. You are not allowed to ride the interstate highway in parts of the Las Vegas valley where there are local roads connecting the same points. Once you are outside of town it is legal to ride the shoulder of I-15 if you want to go to California or Utah. There are no alternatives to go to CA once you reach the very south end of Las Vegas Boulevard. I-215 which is all within the valley is off limits. The article in the newspaper listed just 3 roads that were verboten for bike riding in this area. However it makes sense even in the valley to avoid major thoroughfares when there are lesser traveled roads close by..
Yeah, I've ridden on some of the main highways outside of L.V. - Highwy 95 going north, Hwy 160 up to Mtn Springs pass. but always on the shoulder. Of course, I was either alone or in a small group and without a support car. But I wouldn't have considered riding those in the traffic lane.
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Old 12-11-20, 11:19 PM
  #30  
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there is no way in hell I'd ride in a traffic lane on a 75 MPH road.
Even with a support vehicle following me. Gotta' play the percentages. RIP.

Last edited by tungsten; 12-11-20 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 12-12-20, 09:00 AM
  #31  
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NYT article says they were riding on shoulder. Graphic shows them riding in the lane.

Which is it? Whoever got it wrong deserves a dressing down.
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Old 12-12-20, 11:42 AM
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I would go with the Review Journal and its graphic. The Gray Lady is viewed as the definative newspaper of record for the nation, but they do make mistakes. I'm glad it as an organization is doing well in comparison to most other papers, but it simply can't and doesn't cover local news stories like a reputable local paper (which of course are getting to be fewer and fewer which is tragic).
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Old 12-12-20, 12:18 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Bob N. View Post
NYT article says they were riding on shoulder. Graphic shows them riding in the lane.

Which is it? Whoever got it wrong deserves a dressing down.
Cross posted in another topic:
A local shop owner said "That shoulder on the side of that highway is wide enough to fit three cars." While that may be true if you count the gravel shoulder, the paved portion is less wide. Still, it is wide enough to ride to the right of the rumble strip safely, but the safety vehicle was likely at least partly in the travel lane. It was quite windy that day so the riders behind were probably drafting the car which would put some of them in the travel lane also.

I have been on that road many times. It is a high speed rural highway with much of the traffic travelling in excess of 70 mph. I personally don't like to ride on roads like this for that reason, but in this part of the southwest once you get out of a city this is what you have. For longer rides you will end up on roads like this, or you won't get anywhere. The link below shows what the road looks like in that area. It is pretty consistent from Boulder City to Searchlight (40 miles) where they would have made a right turn towards Nipton. Their return route would have eventually had them on Interstate 15 northbound for perhaps 20 miles. I-15 is a very heavily travelled route with even faster traffic. It has a wider shoulder which is quite dirty and would be unpleasant to ride on. Somewhere north of Primm they would have been able to access a paved frontage road by jumping the highway fence. This is the south end of Las Vegas Blvd and is the old Las Vegas Hwy that would take them back to LV. Not my idea of a great ride but if you want to do long distance around LV this is what you have. They would have been legally using all of the roads that they were riding on. Riding on the State Hwy or the Interstate is legal if there is no viable alternate route.


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Old 12-12-20, 12:25 PM
  #34  
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Interesting point about the support vehicle. Even if riders were on shoulder, the support vehicle would have been partly in the lane. Unless it was partly on gravel....

But it does seem that one way or another, groups ride in the traffic lane in those parts. There's no way that that doesn't come with some elevated risk.
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Old 12-12-20, 12:29 PM
  #35  
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Interesting that lane position appears to be ambiguous.

The group of about 20 bicyclists and the escort vehicle approached Clark County Mile Marker 34, riding in the far-right travel lane.

But at 9:39 a.m. on Thursday, about 40 miles into the ride, a box truck slammed into the group of about 20 cyclists as they rode on the shoulder of U.S. 95 in Clark County,

investigators found that the driver left the roadway, hit the group behind the Subaru, hit the Subaru, and then hit some of the cyclists who were in front of the Subaru. The speed limit in this section of highway is 75 mph.

Obviously one can't just run into a group of cyclists riding no matter where they are on the road. However, I wish the position of the cyclists was clarified. Or were different groups riding in different places?

Personally I am a shoulder rider. However, I wouldn't be particularly happy to do a 100+ mile RT ride on I-5 and HWY 95, and especially not in the travel lane. There appear to be several frontage roads, but I believe all gravel.

That shoulder appears to be very rideable, and could probably support cyclists passing each other on occasion.

I'd be happy driving along the shoulder at 20 MPH with my FIAT, but it could be an uncomfortable drive with most other vehicles, either driving mostly with one wheel on the rumbles, or one wheel in the gravel. As a cyclist, I'm not sure I'd want to follow a vehicle that was struggling with lane positioning. Thus, the support vehicle may well have pushed them into the main driving lane (as well as dynamics of group riding).

Originally Posted by NYT Article
Mr. Anderson said the cyclists had split into two groups ó with stronger riders ahead of the car that was accompanying them and slower riders drafting behind it ó when the truck slammed into the group that was trailing the car.

He said he had been in the group ahead of the car and was told by a passing driver that the cyclists behind him had been hit.
I couldn't imagine not hearing a car wreck 50 or 100 feet behind me, and not looking. This may indicate the lead cyclists were substantially ahead of the support vehicle.

It is quite possible there were more than two groups. And, the lead group could have been riding on the shoulder, while groups surrounding the support vehicle were riding on the road.
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Old 12-12-20, 02:09 PM
  #36  
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I guess the escort driver was not a professional driver. What is the point of an escort vehicle driving ahead of the riders? The riders should have been drafting the other riders. Escort should have been far back enough to take a hit and protect the group. Tragic.
I have ridden highways a couple times when younger, and I would not think about doing it again. Really dirty shoulders, trucks blowing you off the road almost. Traffic too fast. etc.
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Old 12-12-20, 02:26 PM
  #37  
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The "Escort" was likely the SAG Wagon, Spares, assistance, etc.

It can't let the slow riders out of sight. But, yes, it is an odd choice to use it as a draft vehicle, not as a follow vehicle creating a buffer.

Was the group spread out over a couple of miles?
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Old 12-12-20, 03:21 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The "Escort" was likely the SAG Wagon, Spares, assistance, etc.

It can't let the slow riders out of sight. But, yes, it is an odd choice to use it as a draft vehicle, not as a follow vehicle creating a buffer.
My guess is it started out as a follow vehicle creating a buffer, but then the slower riders decided to get behind it when they encountered the reported strong head-wind. That decision was a fatal mistake. If the car + bikes were in fact in the right-hand lane rather than the shoulder, I can see how this could have happened without the truck driver doing anything worse than failing to register a car going 15 to 20 mph on a 75 mph highway.
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Old 12-12-20, 04:48 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
My guess is it started out as a follow vehicle creating a buffer, but then the slower riders decided to get behind it when they encountered the reported strong head-wind. That decision was a fatal mistake. If the car + bikes were in fact in the right-hand lane rather than the shoulder, I can see how this could have happened without the truck driver doing anything worse than failing to register a car going 15 to 20 mph on a 75 mph highway.
The car may (should) have been driving with hazards. But, if the bikes didn't have really bright blinkies, they may have also obscured the hazard lights.
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Old 12-12-20, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The car may (should) have been driving with hazards. But, if the bikes didn't have really bright blinkies, they may have also obscured the hazard lights.
Even riding on the shoulder of a road like that, I'd have a bright daytime-visible blinking rear light.
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Old 12-12-20, 07:26 PM
  #41  
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A note about Nevada rumble strips -

I have been in touch with Nevada DOT for many years about the design of their rumble strips.
Not only are they deeply cut, but they are continuous - without escape gaps.

Four alterations make rumble strips safer for cyclists -
1) Escape gaps - for ex. 50 ft. with rumbles followed by 10 ft. without.
2) Rumble widths - 8" widths rather than 12" or 16" when shoulders are narrow.
3) Rumble placement - white edgeline, immediately adjacent to edgeline rather than centered in shoulder
4) Rumble depth - shallower rumbles are less noticeable to drivers, but are safer for cyclists.

Nevada DOT claims that they will begin using escape gaps in new construction and repaving;
however, most highways still have continuous rumble strips with significant depth.
On this stretch of US 95, the rumbles are immediately adjacent to the edgeline,
they are wide, deep, and continuous - but there is sufficient space for a single cyclist to the right.

It is difficult to imagine how a driver could have crossed these rumbles without noticing.
It is possible that all of the riders were in the right traffic lane.
Nevada traffic law does acknowledge bicycles are legimate highway users,
but they must to the right in the traffic lane or on the paved shoulder, if available.

Additionally, there must be consideration of overall visibility in the area and on that date.
US 95 southbound is straight for a number of miles with a very slight upgrade.
There are no buildings or foliage that would impede a long-distance view.
At 5 ft. above ground, one can see an unimpeded level horizon to 3 miles distance.
At 10 ft above ground (the truck cab) the distance extends to nearly 5 miles.
An upgrade extends these distances. Bright colors and flashing lights increase visibility.

The weather on the day of the accident was excellent - mostly sunny, mid 50s.
US 95 runs almost due south at the location of the crash.
The angle of the sun - low elevation and southeast - may have played a role.

At 75 mph, it takes 2 minutes to travel 2.5 mles. Two minutes is a long time.
The driver should have been able to easily see something ahead for that length of time.

https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_...trips/bike_fs/
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Old 12-12-20, 08:05 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
A note about Nevada rumble strips -

I have been in touch with Nevada DOT for many years about the design of their rumble strips.
Not only are they deeply cut, but they are continuous - without escape gaps.

Four alterations make rumble strips safer for cyclists -
1) Escape gaps - for ex. 50 ft. with rumbles followed by 10 ft. without.
2) Rumble widths - 8" widths rather than 12" or 16" when shoulders are narrow.
3) Rumble placement - white edgeline, immediately adjacent to edgeline rather than centered in shoulder
4) Rumble depth - shallower rumbles are less noticeable to drivers, but are safer for cyclists.

Nevada DOT claims that they will begin using escape gaps in new construction and repaving;
however, most highways still have continuous rumble strips with significant depth.
On this stretch of US 95, the rumbles are immediately adjacent to the edgeline,
they are wide, deep, and continuous - but there is sufficient space for a single cyclist to the right.
I'm not on rumble roads a lot. But there is a section of HWY 99, Pacific Highway just south of Portland that I've frequently hit late at night. Dirty shoulders, dead tired after a 150 mile+ ride, and a descent. And I think the rumbles are a bit to the right of the fog line. I've hit them a few times, they're just wicked to ride on. I do find the occasional driveway to break them up helps. At the same time, I'm glad they are there, if only there was a little wider and cleaner shoulder. Unlike Nevada, there are more issues with rain, water, mud, and tree debris.

For road construction, the HWY department regularly paves over rumbles so they can shift lanes around, it can't be that big of a deal to patch up a few.

I'm not sure about drivers, but if space is at a premium, then positive bumps added to a fog line tend to be the easiest on bicycles (and generally easy to get around).

One thing that seems to be the case in this incident is that I don't believe a car can easily drive on the pavement to the right of the rumbles. And as mentioned above, it would be narrow for cyclists to either ride side-by-side, or even for a single file rotating pace line. Thus, it is quite possible that at least some of the cyclists and the support vehicle were on the road.

So, either wider shoulders, or more bike friendly rumbles would be of a benefit.
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Old 12-12-20, 08:16 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
A note about Nevada rumble strips -

I have been in touch with Nevada DOT for many years about the design of their rumble strips.
Not only are they deeply cut, but they are continuous - without escape gaps.

Four alterations make rumble strips safer for cyclists -
1) Escape gaps - for ex. 50 ft. with rumbles followed by 10 ft. without.
2) Rumble widths - 8" widths rather than 12" or 16" when shoulders are narrow.
3) Rumble placement - white edgeline, immediately adjacent to edgeline rather than centered in shoulder
4) Rumble depth - shallower rumbles are less noticeable to drivers, but are safer for cyclists.

Nevada DOT claims that they will begin using escape gaps in new construction and repaving;
however, most highways still have continuous rumble strips with significant depth.
On this stretch of US 95, the rumbles are immediately adjacent to the edgeline,
they are wide, deep, and continuous - but there is sufficient space for a single cyclist to the right.

It is difficult to imagine how a driver could have crossed these rumbles without noticing.
It is possible that all of the riders were in the right traffic lane.
Nevada traffic law does acknowledge bicycles are legimate highway users,
but they must to the right in the traffic lane or on the paved shoulder, if available.

Additionally, there must be consideration of overall visibility in the area and on that date.
US 95 southbound is straight for a number of miles with a very slight upgrade.
There are no buildings or foliage that would impede a long-distance view.
At 5 ft. above ground, one can see an unimpeded level horizon to 3 miles distance.
At 10 ft above ground (the truck cab) the distance extends to nearly 5 miles.
An upgrade extends these distances. Bright colors and flashing lights increase visibility.

The weather on the day of the accident was excellent - mostly sunny, mid 50s.
US 95 runs almost due south at the location of the crash.
The angle of the sun - low elevation and southeast - may have played a role.

At 75 mph, it takes 2 minutes to travel 2.5 mles. Two minutes is a long time.
The driver should have been able to easily see something ahead for that length of time.

https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_...trips/bike_fs/
This is worthy of its own thread. Rumble strips are pretty common in Minnesota and environs. A friend of mine (a septuagenarian and a VERY experienced rider) died when he hit some rumble strips, lost control, and was thrown into a ditch. In my experience, rumble strips are only a net positive for cyclists when there is an ample and clean shoulder to their right. Good for you for engaging with the Nevada DOT and trying to nudge them in the right direction.
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Old 12-12-20, 10:26 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
I don't trust drivers that much. Not to be taking the lane for a long period of time on a highway with 75 MPH traffic, we're all human. It's not always a good idea to take the lane.
With the number of people I've heard of hitting cars and such on the side of the road, I'm not sure I'd trust to be on the shoulder, either...


Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I couldn't imagine not hearing a car wreck 50 or 100 feet behind me, and not looking. This may indicate the lead cyclists were substantially ahead of the support vehicle.
Is it that he didn't know it happened, or that he didn't know exactly what happened? Could he have assumed the support car was hit but not known the cyclists were?
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Old 12-12-20, 11:46 PM
  #45  
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I’m a cyclist and this will probably be unpopular. If they were riding double file and taking the lane on a 75 mph highway as the graphic shows, the ones riding behind the sag vehicle were being super unsafe, imho. They also would obscure the view of the sag vehicle from the driver POV.
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Old 12-13-20, 12:29 AM
  #46  
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A tragedy

Regardless of the causes and errors in judgment, what a terrible tragedy for those involved and their family and friends...
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Old 12-13-20, 01:40 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by SpeedofLite View Post
I've ridden that road several times in the past 3 years. I don't remember a 3-car wide shoulder anywhere, at least as far as the turnoff to Hwy 165 where I turn southeast.
Here is a photo taken of the accident site. Box truck bottom center. It looks like a standard width shoulder to me.

Any other photos showing the point of impact to this one where the vehicles came to a stop?
Notice the orange paint. That was put there by the Highway Patrol for investigation purposes. Shows where both vehicles came to a stop and even shows how much the trucks front wheels were turned. It also looks like it shows the point two bicycles came to rest. Notice those two bicycle ended up on the shoulder; could have been dragged by the truck. But one ended up pretty far right of the truck on the gravel.

The photos of the point of impact will show where the cyclist where when they got hit, by marking broken parts and skid marks.
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Old 12-13-20, 01:47 AM
  #48  
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Notice the dip in the road ahead. If the collision happened in that dip, the dip could have delayed the truck driver seeing the cyclist and SAG vehicle.
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Old 12-13-20, 04:13 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Any other photos showing the point of impact to this one where the vehicles came to a stop?
Notice the orange paint. That was put there by the Highway Patrol for investigation purposes. Shows where both vehicles came to a stop and even shows how much the trucks front wheels were turned. It also looks like it shows the point two bicycles came to rest. Notice those two bicycle ended up on the shoulder; could have been dragged by the truck. But one ended up pretty far right of the truck on the gravel.

The photos of the point of impact will show where the cyclist where when they got hit, by marking broken parts and skid marks.
As far as that photo above, I can not imagine a situation that the truck came to rest 50 feet in front of the white car (which I assume was the SAG Wagon), and both the truck and the car are very parallel to the road. So at some point, both vehicles were presumably moved to the shoulder.

Here are a few more photos.
https://hardandsmart.net/2020/12/12/...ada-highway-2/



Those photos seem to show debris scattered from the middle of the right lane, and onto the shoulder.
Possibly a skid mark, or tire mark, or drag mark a couple of feet to the right of the center line.

https://www.8newsnow.com/news/local-...sts-box-truck/


Mighty horrendous crash.

As far as I can tell, the roadblock was at HWY 97 and HWY 165, but the actual accident was near an interchange about 12 miles south of there.
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Old 12-13-20, 07:26 AM
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The last picture of the damage to the front and passenger side of box truck makes it pretty obvious where the main collision occurred with the truck. It wonder where the damage is to the SAG vehicle. Itís difficult to tell from the angle of photos, or even if the vehicle behind the box truck beside the orange paint was indeed the SAG vehicle. It looks like that vehicle could possibly be a white Subaru, maybe a very pale gray.

Itís hard for me to tell from the photos if the paved shoulder is wide enough to comfortably ride in a double pace line. It looks like itís not as wide as Iíd prefer for riding side by side and allowing for some movement to avoid debris in the shoulder. But it sounds like these might be very experienced riders that could be comfortable riding tightly together like that. The shoulder appears comfortably wide enough for a single rider to me. Maybe someone thatís ridden it might know, not that it would have a direct bearing on the cause of the collision.

Just a really tragic deal.
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