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The helmet thread

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The helmet thread

Old 02-23-12, 01:43 PM
  #1526  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
I did post a couple of requests since that post requesting you to show injuries in context but didn't get it.
Information already posted. Plenty of info out there that contextualizes or compares rates of injury or death. See, e.g.,

Bicycle crashes rank second only to riding animals as a sports- or recreation-associated cause of serious injury; one study estimated the rate of severe injuries to be 37.4 per 100,000 population in urban areas. Although injuries to mountain bikers of all ages account for only 3.7 percent of bicycle injuries overall, up to 51 percent of recreational and 85 percent of competitive mountain bikers sustain injuries each year.
https://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0515/p2007.html

Bicycling and basketball were associated with the largest number of 1998 baby boomer sports injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.
https://www.cpsc.gov/library/boomer.pdf

Bicycles continue to be the number one cause of sports-related head injuries.
https://aans.org/en/Media/General%20P...c_database=web

As a result, bicycle riders who are involved in a crash are exposed to a much higher risk of injury compared to motor vehicle users (with the exception of motorcycle riders).
https://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/47

Our analysis [in New Zealand] showed that cyclists had the second highest rate of traffic injuries resulting in death or hospital inpatient treatment compared to other major road user categories when analysed in relation to time spent travelling.
https://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/655 See Table 1: Annual number of injuries per million hours spent travelling: cycling injury rate far outstrips those of pedestrians and automobile drivers/passengers

https://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/166/2/212.full see tables for Annualized fatal injury rates per 100 million person-trips, by mode of travel, sex, and age, United States, 1999–2003 &
Annualized nonfatal injury rates per 100 million person-trips, by mode of travel, sex, and age, United States, 1999–2003

https://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/publica..._safety_fs.pdf Fatalities for 10-14 age group in Queensland

https://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/...cgb2010-01.pdf casualties and deaths per million population


and so on. If you mean data that breaks down injury by severity and/or fatality, I can supply that too.

Last edited by Six-Shooter; 02-23-12 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
Information already posted...and so on. If you mean data that breaks down injury by severity and/or fatality, I can supply that too.
The request either went over your head, or you're delibribity avoiding the question.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
There was the study that found measurable differences in other drivers' actions, and simply because of what risk compensation is we know it must have some effect, but as to whether it is detrimental to a significant degree in riders' actions, I don't know of a study that has approached that yet; the best we can do at this point is look at other similar situations and speculate. Most of my argument has been against people who refuse to acknowledge it's even an effect at all, which is empirically false. Arguing it may not be significant, while I disagree, I can respect. We just aren't yet sure exactly how this may apply to cyclists' actions. Unfortunately, I don't think people are beating down the door to study it...
That was that study by that Brit dude, yes? One study, hardly scientific, not duplicated. Same study said cars give wider berth to riders with long hair.

Again, there have been plenty of studies regarding places where helmet use is mandatory and bare-headers are quick to tout such, saying that there's no measurable increase in safety. I'd assume a net decrease in safety if the whole risk compensation thing holds any water at all. Unless you can cite studies, risk compensation when talking about helmets is marginal at best, dissembling and not even pertinent at worst.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
I have no doubt. As it could while showering, walking... the question is, is that protection really necessary? As I said, for everyday cycling, my answer is no, no more than I would while walking. Others may answer differently. I have no problem with that; I disagree with their assessment (if it's a situation to what I'm facing, at any rate), but I have no problem with it.
Then we agree: it's an individual judgement call whether one wants to wear a helmet.

I am, because I think different activities within cycling have different risks, and that matters. As I said, trail riding or racing, yes, I'd recommend a helmet. Riding down to the grocery store, I say it's overkill. Again, if you don't, that's OK.
I speak of cycling in general for two reasons: a) the great bulk of the studies and data I've seen don't differentiate, and I prefer to work from the facts and science and b) when you start differentiating without being explicit every time, it's too easy to imagine a hypothetical form of cycling that negates the whole question, e.g., "I meant cycling where there's no risk"

Again, I think it's beside the point anyway.
But it makes a point: if you say something is incontrovertible according to one source, and that source says the exact opposite, then what else might you be mistaken about regarding the issue?

And we're back to anecdotal. I have two uncles who both broke a bone because a lawnchair broke... lawnchairs are dangerous. I know many people involved in car crashes... driving is dangerous (another activity helmet use could benefit from).
Anecdotes aren't everything, but they're not invalid, either; they are, after all, the individual cases upon which statistical edifices are built And one needn't read a website to understand that a cyclist can fall over or get hit by a car when you see it happen yourself. Either way, you are exactly right: if you know people (or yourself) who've been injured in a certain way, then obviously there is potential danger in that activity or device. You can use statistics and/or further personal experience to quantify and rank from there if you choose.

Because that's how logic works. The positive position shoulders the burden of proof. There is indeed plenty of proof they help with a specific degree of injury, such as minor head injuries, but there is shaky, conflicting evidence that it does any more than that (prevent concussions, brain trauma, death, etc). So yes, I agree there is ample evidence helmets help mitigate minor injury; I do not think the evidence is clear that they do more.
In this case, the vast bulk of the research on the issue points to helmets' ability to provide some degree of head protection.

Last edited by Six-Shooter; 02-23-12 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RazrSkutr
The bicycle helmet manufacturers agree with you. They will not, and have never claimed, that helmets will mitigate concussion, let alone more serious injuries. A sharp contrast to the bold, unfounded claims made by others on this thread. I think it's fair to assume that said companies have been researching the issue and if they could make a credible case for helmets doing anything other than preventing cuts and scrapes they'd have been all over it.

Obviously this is not the case and they can't make such wild, exaggerated claims for fear of being sued to kingdom come.
And yet there are plenty of bare-headers who will claim that false perceptions by the public to the contrary -- that helmets will help prevent concussions, help in an accident with vehicles at high speed -- are indeed the fault of the Helmet Industrial Complex.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
And yet there are plenty of bare-headers who will claim that false perceptions by the public to the contrary -- that helmets will help prevent concussions, help in an accident with vehicles at high speed -- are indeed the fault of the Helmet Industrial Complex.
Which is why I asked in the past for some statistics about these convenient straw men who believe that they can put on a helmet, stand in the middle of a highway, lean forward, let a big rig hit them, and miraculously walk away.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
The request either went over your head, or you're delibribity avoiding the question.
Clarify, ask politely, and I'll see what I can find.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
Clarify, ask politely, and I'll see what I can find.
Based on what you've provided so far, I wouldn't have any confidence what you provide would be an objective selection of information.

If you care, much of this information has already been posted on the thread. Several times. You could find it if you looked.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
Based on what you've provided so far, I wouldn't have any confidence what you provide would be an objective selection of information.
Playing that old tune? Your repeated message is that if someone posts something you don't like or understand, it's not "objective" or "contextualized." Then you resort to name-calling, misrepresentation, or mockery.

Instead of wheeling out the same creaky personal arguments again and again, I prefer to post facts and linked sources for those who want to learn about the topic.
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Old 02-23-12, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
Instead of wheeling out the same creaky personal arguments again and again, I prefer to post facts and linked sources for those who want to learn about the topic.
Dude, you'll never get to 9,000 posts with that attitude.
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Old 02-23-12, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
Anecdotes aren't everything, but they're not invalid, either; they are, after all, the individual cases upon which statistical edifices are built
No. Anecdotes are individual stories that people selectively remember. They aren't any story chosen randomly.
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Old 02-23-12, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
So, you believe helmets have a strong positive benefit (in some situations).
More like they are in a position to capitalize on the benefits they provide, but yes.


Not everybody who believes that helmets provide a strong positive benefit believe they are "necessary" for general everyday riding. Certainly, ABS brakes and airbags are not "necessary" for driving either.
Quite.
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Old 02-23-12, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
That was that study by that Brit dude, yes? One study, hardly scientific, not duplicated. Same study said cars give wider berth to riders with long hair.

Again, there have been plenty of studies regarding places where helmet use is mandatory and bare-headers are quick to tout such, saying that there's no measurable increase in safety. I'd assume a net decrease in safety if the whole risk compensation thing holds any water at all. Unless you can cite studies, risk compensation when talking about helmets is marginal at best, dissembling and not even pertinent at worst.
I just said that risk compensation as applied to helmets isn't well-researched; I don't know what else you want. What I'm objecting to are people making the empirically false statement that it doesn't exist to a significant degree. We know it does, we just don't know what that degree is in this case, best we can do is look at related material and make an educated guess.
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Old 02-23-12, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
Then we agree: it's an individual judgement call whether one wants to wear a helmet.
As I said from the beginning.
I speak of cycling in general for two reasons: a) the great bulk of the studies and data I've seen don't differentiate, and I prefer to work from the facts and science and b) when you start differentiating without being explicit every time, it's too easy to imagine a hypothetical form of cycling that negates the whole question, e.g., "I meant cycling where there's no risk"
To your first point, there are plenty of numbers specifically looking at urban commuters. To your second, while I'm obviously not going to type "x cycling" every time, I've been pretty darned explicit that I'm talking about commuting and other utilitarian cycling, not riskier activities like downhill racing and trail riding.

But it makes a point: if you say something is incontrovertible according to one source, and that source says the exact opposite, then what else might you be mistaken about regarding the issue?
The theory of evolution could be wrong, we've been wrong before; that doesn't mean you question whether evolution is real. You formulate the best opinion you can based on the knowledge you have, and improvise as you go along. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but you haven't presented anything that I think proves my position incorrect. The positive proof is still shaky, inconsistent, and conflicting. And the parts I agree with, such as helmets being effective at mitigating a degree of minor injury does have far more proof. So I don't see the problem.

Anecdotes aren't everything, but they're not invalid, either; they are, after all, the individual cases upon which statistical edifices are built
They are insignificant and fallacious when you are attempting to find a broad answer to a question.

And one needn't read a website to understand that a cyclist can fall over or get hit by a car when you see it happen yourself. Either way, you are exactly right: if you know people (or yourself) who've been injured in a certain way, then obviously there is potential danger in that activity or device. You can use statistics and/or further personal experience to quantify and rank from there if you choose.
Personal anecdotes do have a place in personal decisions, but are near-useless and insignificant in intelligently convincing others.

You can die doing anything; it seems to be a pretty universal side-effect of life.

In this case, the vast bulk of the research on the issue points to helmets' ability to provide some degree of head protection.
helmets' ability to provide some small degree of head protection., yes. There is proof they mitigate minor injuries. Similarly:

There is no firm evidence that helmets offer protection from serious brain injuries, including concussion and death.

Last edited by sudo bike; 02-23-12 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 02-23-12, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
I just said that risk compensation as applied to helmets isn't well-researched; I don't know what else you want. What I'm objecting to are people making the empirically false statement that it doesn't exist to a significant degree. We know it does, we just don't know what that degree is in this case, best we can do is look at related material and make an educated guess.
And I'm saying that if it was at all significant, we'd have some kind of evidence already: injury rates would rise where helmet use is mandatory. That's not there. The absence is glaring--either the risk compensation you claim is less than insignicant doesn't actually exist, or perhaps helmets actually do offer enough protection to make up for it.

It doesn't exist to a significant degree--there's no evidence where there should be to prove otherwise.
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Old 02-23-12, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
And I'm saying that if it was at all significant, we'd have some kind of evidence already: injury rates would rise where helmet use is mandatory. That's not there. The absence is glaring--either the risk compensation you claim is less than insignicant doesn't actually exist, or perhaps helmets actually do offer enough protection to make up for it.

It doesn't exist to a significant degree--there's no evidence where there should be to prove otherwise.
Absence of evidence is not evidence. There is ample evidence to show risk-compensation has a measurable effect in other safety areas, there just hasn't been a strong will to research its effect in cycling helmets. When you get into narrow and less popular sectors like that, it becomes less likely to attract attention of those who conduct these sorts of studies. Again, if you want to take the position risk compensation isn't a big deal in cycling, that's your choice; myself, seeing how it applies in other similar areas, I don't see how it could not have an effect, but I admit to not being able to know how much. As I said, my point of contention there was the admission of it's existence, not the degree to which it works.
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Old 02-24-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
Absence of evidence is not evidence.
Originally Posted by sudo bike
Because that's how logic works. The positive position shoulders the burden of proof.
Um. So which is it?
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Old 02-24-12, 08:09 AM
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There must be some psychological reason why some here think it is their duty to talk people out of wearing a helmet.
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Old 02-24-12, 08:54 AM
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^^ or into.

I voted "I didn't wear a helmet, but now do" but started in like 1985 or so. Other than one day hitting my head on pavement, no other time in 53 years did a helmet help me for anything. I think all drivers should wear one, talk about potential for head injury!I use one, it holds up my mirror.
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Old 02-24-12, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
There must be some psychological reason why some here think it is their duty to talk people out of wearing a helmet.
What's the psychological reason behind your posts?
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Old 02-24-12, 11:25 AM
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*Seven cycling myths unpicked

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cy ... 328526.ece

It is safer to cycle without a helmet?
Medically speaking, top neurosurgeons and researchers at the Department for Transport have found there are no disadvantages to wearing a bicycle helmet, which can prevent a wide variety of slight and serious injuries.
However, forensic reports also show that in collisions with HGVs or in high-speed crashes with cars, a helmet is unlikely to save a cyclist’s life, while studies have also shown that drivers take more risks around cyclists who are wearing helmets. This is why campaigners prioritise road safety over compulsory helmet laws, which, it has been shown, would deter large numbers of cyclists from cycling and thus negate the huge health benefits and “safety- in-numbers” principle of cycling.


Cycle Safety Study - helmets review
https://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=5339

A study into the effectiveness of helmets and other risk factors for cycling has reported to the Government. They have correctly identified the shortcomings in previous research into the effectiveness of cycle helmets, but have then overlooked equally serious problems in their own work.

They have also failed to discuss the adverse effects of telling cyclists to wear helmets, such as deterring people from taking up cycling, and the many ways in which helmet-wearing might actually increase the likelihood of cyclists being involved in collisions in the first place.


The UK's National Children's Bureau (NCB) provided a detailed review in 2005 stating "the case for helmets is far from sound" and "the benefits of helmets need further investigation before even a policy supporting promotion can be unequivocally supported." In 2007 Erke and Elvik (Norwegian researchers) 2007 stated: ‘There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and NZ, the increase is estimated to be around 14 percent.’

This month publication, ‘Evaluation of New Zealand’s bicycle helmet law’ New Zealand Medical Journal, 10 February 2012, details ‘Cyclist’s injury risk per hour increased by 20–32%.’ https://www.cycle-helmets.com/nz-clarke-2012.pdf

It is clear that there is a significant argument taking place in certain scientific circles regarding the efficacy of helmets, in terms of their ability to protect or their effect on the accident rate. Several reports raise serious doubts whether they improve safety overall. The Times is leading the way to improve safety and making cities fit for cycling, however helmets are not part of the solutions they need. The Times should make it clear to readers that it is not an unreasonable view that cycling is safer without a helmet and it has been incorrect to discribe it as a myth.
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Old 02-24-12, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
I just said that risk compensation as applied to helmets isn't well-researched; I don't know what else you want. What I'm objecting to are people making the empirically false statement that it doesn't exist to a significant degree. We know it does, we just don't know what that degree is in this case, best we can do is look at related material and make an educated guess.
No, it's not clear that it does.

For example, it was an explanation applied to the rear-lights-on-cabs or German-ABS-in-cabs studies but it is certain that it was even an issue or that it was the only possible explanation.

It also possible that the degree of risk compensation varies widely among people and people might cease to risk compensate (if they actually do so) over time.

If there isn't a clear perceptual element (like driving faster in quieter cars), what would actually cause the risk compensation behavior isn't adequately explained (for example, I doubt that drivers are conscious of the ABS brakes in their car).

You say it's "not well-researched". Some people here appear to think that, in the case of helmets, it's proven without a doubt.
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Old 02-24-12, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cy ... 328526.ece

...studies have also shown that drivers take more risks around cyclists who are wearing helmets. ...
Fix link, please. Would love to check out the article and find out what studies they cite regarding the phrase I also copied...
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Old 02-24-12, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by corvuscorvax
Um. So which is it?
I knew someone was going to cherry-pick these out of context to appear contradictory without actually looking at what I was saying.

The positive position shoulders the burden of proof. My assertion was that risk compensation exists, and I provided proof for that. My speculation was that it applies to some degree in cycling, and I used the previous proof as my reasoning, but I can't prove how exactly it applies to it and to what degree. That, I have admitted, is speculation based on reasoning, but not at this point provable.

That was my point; that denying risk compensation as an effect is silly, disagreeing with how much effect it has is fair game.

Six-shooter also provided proof for his positions, and I (and others) have presented conflicting evidence.

Last edited by sudo bike; 02-24-12 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 02-24-12, 02:29 PM
  #1550  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
No, it's not clear that it does.
Good Lord, are you still harping on this? I provided proof... if you want to disagree with those proofs, you are welcome to. But the evidence is not in your favor.

For example, it was an explanation applied to the rear-lights-on-cabs or German-ABS-in-cabs studies but it is certain that it was even an issue or that it was the only possible explanation.

It also possible that the degree of risk compensation varies widely among people and people might cease to risk compensate (if they actually do so) over time.
Again, the proof is not in your favor. There are multiple studies showing it's effects, and it aligns perfectly with the more general human cost/benefit analysis. Again, you can look up the National Geographic Teenage Brains to see the very simple, and what should be obvious, explanation of why a shift in the risk/reward assessment changes action. If that's not enough for you, look at social exchange theory (1959, I believe): it shows how, basically, people assess relationships on a cost/benefit scale, and act accordingly. This is not a new concept, and I'm not sure why you have such a hard time wrapping your brain around it. It's so ridiculously simple: If you feel you are less likely to incur a cost, or that the cost is less, there is less reason against pursuing a benefit. This doesn't have to be conscious thought.

Again, if you want to disagree with exactly how this applies to cycling, fair game, but I think you need to explain why it would apply to other actions and not that.

If there isn't a clear perceptual element (like driving faster in quieter cars), what would actually cause the risk compensation behavior isn't adequately explained (for example, I doubt that drivers are conscious of the ABS brakes in their car).
"I doubt that"... doesn't trump the study for me, sorry.

You say it's "not well-researched". Some people here appear to think that, in the case of helmets, it's proven without a doubt.
And I disagree with that.

Last edited by sudo bike; 02-24-12 at 02:36 PM.
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