Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
newie, you can't claim "logical contortions" when you have done nothing to support the research. I pulled it apart. I've studied research methods, I've written scientific reports, and I spent a lot more time on statistics in a number of fields than I am comfortable with LOL
Posting up someone's paper is only the start. The entire purpose of the Scientific Method is to put ideas and results under the blowtorch, to find out what is true. Someone mentioned Rissel's antihelmet paper that was retracted. If it's garbage, that's OK. That is the Method working well. Constant improvement and motion towards the truth is the key. It is dispassionate, and criticism is part of the game. I provided valid criticism. You provided a thinly veiled swipe at me and those who agree with me. Who is the real scientist here? Who is the zealot? The person who fails to engage, and essentially does high level trolling?
There are some logical breakdowns in the MHL for cycling. I can be convinced that the MHL is a fair and valid law once those logical breakdowns are addressed. MHL for car occupants is a great start. If it saves lives, who are you to question?
Zob, you need to take a small step back and appreciate that this thread is huge and many things have been discussed. Being a fresh participant doesn't give you the right to be glib when the answers to your questions have been given 5 times already in the last 12 months. We will answer any question you have, but understand that you might need to clarify and ask further questions. All worthwhile intellectual pursuits take time :1:
This post illustrates, obliquely, why this whole debate is in the toilet. We have argument from authority. We have the same old non sequiturs (lack of a helmet law for motorists didn't matter last time, or the time before that). The same old question-begging I see no compelling argument for getting off the fence. Still. The facile arguments didn't convince me, nor did the volley of snide remarks.
What authority and what coherent argument?
An argument that only looks at consequence and not at likelihood fails at the first threshold of risk mitigation. You cannot simply look at consequence without considering likelihood.
Hightea, your post indeed sums up why you shouldn't bother. Standing on the sidelines, and refusal to acknowledge valid challenges to the evidence presented, pretty much makes for the exact behaviour that is attributed to those that are disagreed with.
There has been nothing I can see that refutes or engages with my response to the study - namely, that the study doesn't address the fact that effectiveness of helmets for cyclists vs motorcyclists has very little to do with the legitimacy of legislative compulsion to wear them, especially when advocates and sympathisers for the MHL won't acknowledge that peds or car users would equally benefit from wearing a helmet as a cyclist. It does make me wonder how many people are actually cycling at this forum, and how many are just stirring the pot.
Seeing as how I'm the new bloke, I might as well answer this Started riding again a month or so again after a 9 year break. I'd be what's called a recreational cyclist I guess......I'm doing it to lose weight and gain fitness because I enjoy it. I only ride maybe 30-40 minutes per morning (any more and I'm kackered ) and 2-4 hrs at a go Saturday and Sunday. Slowly and with time to look around me and enjoy the scenery. Bike paths, main roads (Northern suburbs Melbourne), anywhere really. Day or night.That probably doesn't qualify me for an opinion as you stated earlier......but I stopped letting myself be bullied back in Kindy, 44 years ago....except by the wife, that is
I have no issue with acknowledging that peds and car users would benefit from wearing a helmet. A suit of unobtanium armour would go even better. But "equally" as much as a Cyclist? No. There's no way in hell I'll agree that a helmet is "equally" beneficial. And I'd bet that the majority of the general community would agree with me. I'd also bet that faced with that argument, the majority of the general community would look at the proponant of any such statement with a little more amusement than is normal. Note.......I'm not even interested in statistics, studies or any supporting evidence that exists to back that assertion. As far as I'm concerned, it will be skewed to favour the proposer's agenda. Yes....that's right. I have already decided that it is silly to even bother reading it. As will the majority of the population. (Doubt it? Then why aren't the Greens in power? )
Helmets/no helmets is not an "intellectual" pursuit to most people. I have no doubt it is for you, and I can respect that....but it isn't for me. And many others. And you need to respect that. You don't want to wear one? Ok by me. I don't care. But you seriously believe that no helmets will increase the take up of cycling in this country? Good luck with that
Now we get down to this bit.....
Yes. I believe that cycling in some situations for some people is dangerous. And anything that can be done to mitigate that risk is good. I'm not going to shove that opinion down anyone's throat (hey....any OH&S reps here? Safety comittee members? Maybe they can give us their opinion on whether or not wearing helmets on cycles would be mandatory if cycling was a workplace activity? Like a Grand tour for example ).....but I will take that attitude in my own house, with my own children. And I'd expect others to raise their children as they see fit. But don't be telling me that I'm doing something wrong, because it's none of your business
I reckon you've seen all this before so I'll leave it here. Oh...wait....
As I've said already....yes. Why not? Just because you have to wear a helmet doesn't mean you're gonna die. Sheesh....bit dramatic this attitude innit? "oooo....you have to wear a helmet!!!!! This is soooooooo dangerous..." C'mon man.....give it up. That sort of argument lets you down
I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!!!!!!! LOL
What's the alternative? Uncritical acceptance of nonsense, and there's plenty of that on both sides of the debate, doesn't sit well with me. You've posted some shocking nonsense in this thread, not that you're alone in that. So here we are. You can complain about it, or lift your game.
Oh, I took that as a given.
I wonder the same thing when I come across claims like this:
"Cyclists should reasonably assume that they will be more protected by a helmet than a motorcyclist because they cannot propel themselves to the same speeds as a motorbike rider. A moto is likely to hurt arms and collarbones etc more than the head because they are going faster."
That's a fairly outlandish claim, don't you think? There wasn't even any need to make it. Had you said "Helmet efficacy != helmet law efficacy" and left it at that, I couldn't agree more. That is, or should be, a given.
As to the oft-repeated claim that "peds or car users would equally benefit from wearing a helmet as a cyclist", OK, let's assume it's so. What follows from this? Nothing, that's what. So why keep bringing this nothing argument up?
Argument from authority - the logical fallacy - is what I was complaining about.
OK, against my better judgement, I'll bite. Firstly though - it is not my place to support the research. This is a peer-reviewed journal article which simply presents some data. As I am not sure people here have the same access to the journals as I do it makes sense for me to supplement the news report with the info from the journal itself. As I have said several times before in this forum, I am not necessarily a MHL supporter and am open to be being persuaded it should be repealed, if there is decent evidence for it.
First issue - this not a study failure. This is simply a study presenting the results of an analysis of accident statistics in hospital admissions. It does this. No failure there. All the authors do in their opening paragraph is state that the context is with regard to the fact that MHL exist in Australia and therefore head injury statistics are an important and relevant topic to study. They do not say that they had a hypothesis about MHL or head injuries that they were trying verify. There is no scope for failure there. You say you have "studied research methods" so this statement of yours baffles me.
All of this discussion you have presented is not particularly relevant to the main result of the study which was that non-helmeted cyclists were over 5 times more likely to suffer a head injury than helmeted cyclists and the costs of their medical care was greater. This result is very relevant to the MHL. It is interesting that this is even greater than the effect in motorcyclists. It may not be a surprise to you that this is so, but for some people it would be and worth noting. But not worth making a big deal over one way or the other and the authors do not do so. The authors then openly acknowledge the limitations of their study and then suggest that it forms a part (but not the whole) of the evidence in support of MHL.
Studies like this will be incomplete and have flaws, as any scientific study is. However, unless they are completely discredited (a la the Rissel paper), they form part of the story. One reason I don't choose to engage in further debate here is because it is clear to me that studies like this and the one I posted some time ago mean that the MHL will never be repealed in Australia. There is no politician in this country who will support repeal after being told " a study of hospital admissions showed that unhelmeted cyclists have 5x the rate of head injuries". There is plenty to argue about statistics and side issues. But let's look at the pure raw data. There were 110 cyclists in the study. 40 unhelmeted and 70 helmeted. 30 out of the 40 unhelmeted cyclists suffered head injuries. 27 of the 70 helmeted cyclists suffered head injuries.
Some time ago I spent quite a bit of time putting together a post outlining what I though was a coherent and sensible set of evidence required for an anti-MHL movement to be successful. Those issues are the ones I am looking for to be addressed here and which will persuade me. All the other stuff that gets discussed here is mostly missing the point in my opinion. I don't feel the need to post again and again saying the same thing over and over again, or repeating the excellent points that others have made before me.
You're right though, my remarks were probably more snide than they should have been. This forum topic really does bring out the worst in me - one of the other main reasons I keep vowing not to participate.
There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that not having MHLs is not detrimental to safety. And there is ZERO evidence to suggest that having MHLs is beneficial to safety.
Sadly Australian cyclists and legislators continues to look their own myopic view.
Well, let me pose this question: assume that MHLs aren't working. One solution is to repeal them. Another is to consider ways of improving them. For example, is compliance a problem? That study that everyone's in such a huff about reported non-trivial numbers of un-helmeted cyclists, so it's at least plausible on its face. And how many "helmeted" cyclists were wearing old, damaged or poorly fitting helmets? Things like seatbelt and DUI laws, where the benefit is well-settled, have been constantly refined, and pushed pretty hard with both enforcement and publicity. This hasn't happened with MHLs (I suspect because cycling just hasn't been on the agenda, historically speaking). My admittedly subjective impression, is that I've never seen helmet wearing publicised or enforced to anywhere near the same extent as, say, DUI. Point is, are we talking about a good concept badly implemented?
While I'm at it, my recollection when MHLs came in was that a helmet cost $30, at least. The price has halved since them, so it's gone down more than that in real terms. They've also gotten a lot more comfortable. Why, I recently found a helmet that actually fit properly! That didn't cost hundreds!* And helmet-wearing has become normalised, at least to some extent. How much of the postulated effect on participation has gone away because of this and other factors, I wonder?
I freely admit that these are questions that I can't answer for want of data. I do contend they're interesting questions, though.
* It's easy to be impressed by these things when you've gone into a hat shop and asked the question - deadly serious - "Does this come in a size bigger than XXL?"
Since when was compliance a problem? No the problem is that the solution is not applicable to the problem.
Furthermore it is a draconian law that impinges on basic freedoms without any justifiable reason.
The head injuries that I see in my ED come from cars, football, football, football, alcohol and anger.
The bicycle helmet is effectively a dunce cap and MHL's are teh authoritarian teacher that puts it on. The dunce cap labels us as people who are so stupid that we cannot partake in an activity that countless millions of other people around the world do every day, without our "special" protection. Much like the kid from special,school,who needs a helmet to walk down the street.
As a society, we collectively hate the humiliation that brings. That humiliation results in the random anger and rage against cyclists, who are easily identified by the hateful headgear.
People really want to ride their bikes in a spontaneous and carefree manner, like we did when we were kids, but the MHL kills all of that.
All arguments about helmet efficacy are irrelevant. Participation provides the greatest protection. That's is the social experiment that is always shown to be effective. Australia's MHL experiment, is like communism. A nice idea, that has failed utterly, and is only clung to idealists who refuse to acknowledge the bleeding obvious. It bewilders me to hear cyclists arguing so passionately to support a measure that kills participation and marginalizes them into a despised corner.
The obesity epidemic is the public health issue that takes precedence over everything. While we have cigarettes, alcohol and obesity, everyone else is re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
You have officially become your parents.
Cople of more things to respond to in recent posts.
Th effect on participation is not postulated. When is comes to hard evidence, there is no doubt that MHL'S annihilated the utility cyclist, leaving a remnant core of sports and racing riders, which eventually gave rise to the perception of all cyclists as cyclists, rather than people who happened to use a bike for transport and the loathing of the Lycra bandit.
Yes, that cohort is growing, but where are the bike racks at schools packed with hundreds of bikes and are cyclists actually more despised as time goes by for being part of the Lycra clan ?
I thumb my nose at MHL's by wearing the worst, cheapest POS bobby dodger that I could buy with an AS sticker on it. It's ten years old, the shell has peeled off and it's a few sizes too big. The only thing its good for it keeping magpies off, and its not much chop at that, leaving my ears hanging out in the danger zone. Oh dear, I'm in so much danger, it's a wonder I'm still alive. Maybe I'm a zombie and I don't even know it.
Actually, it's really starting to give me bad scalp eczema and I can feel a medical exemption coming on. I bet if I get one though, I'll be harassed the crap out of by moronic plods with nothing better to do. Gunna be hard to explain how a zombie can get scabby head from a helmet.
You have officially become your parents.
Your ED? Are you a doctor/nurse/etc in a hospital emergency department? And you've never seen a cycling related head injury?
I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!!!!!!! LOL
Ummm, that would be incorrect. Here is the latest of several studies I am aware of that show MHL reduce injury and or fatality rates.
Bicycle Helmet Laws Decrease the Rates of Fatal and Incapacitating Injuries Resulting from Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions in Children
William P. Meehan, Lois K. Lee, Christopher M. Fischer, Rebekah C. Mannix. Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, Boston, MA; Orthopaedics, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.
BACKGROUND: Approximately 900 people die in bicycle crashes annually in the United States, ¾ of them from traumatic brain injuries. Many states have mandatory bicycle helmet laws for children. The effects of such laws on the national rates of injury are unknown.
OBJECTIVE: Assess the association between bicycle helmet legislation and bicycle-related deaths/incapacitating injuries.
DESIGN/METHODS: We conducted a cross sectional study of all bicyclists aged 0-16 years included in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) who died or suffered an incapacitating injury between January 1999 and December 2009. The FARS defines an incapacitating injury as one that prevents a person from walking or normally continuing the activities the person was capable of before the injury. Date law enactment was obtained from several sources including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Governor's Highway Safety Administration. We compared rates of deaths/incapacitating injuries per age-specific state populations, between states with helmet laws and those without helmet laws. We used a clustered Poisson multivariate regression model to adjust for factors previously associated with rates of motor vehicle fatalities: elderly driver licensure laws, legal blood alcohol limit (< 0.08% vs. ≥ 0.08%), and household income.
RESULTS: A total of 2,451 bicycle-related fatalities/incapacitating injuries were sustained by children <16 years old. There were no statistical differences in median household income, the proportion of states with elderly licensure laws, or the proportion of states with a blood alcohol limit of > 0.08 between states with helmet laws and those without helmet laws. The mean unadjusted rates of fatalities/incapacitating injuries was 2.0/1,000,000 in states with helmet laws, compared to 2.5/1,000,000 in states without helmet laws (p= 0.03). After adjusting for potential confounding factors, states with mandatory helmet laws continued to be associated with a lower rate of fatalities/incapacitating injuries (adjusted Incidence Rate Ratio 0.81; 95% CI 0.67, 0.98).
CONCLUSIONS: Bicycle helmet safety laws are associated with a lower incidence of fatalities/incapacitating injuries among pediatric bicyclists involved in motor vehicle collisions. Our findings support the legislation of mandatory bicycle helmet use by children.
Yes, I'm an ED doctor, though not a FACEM. I see a lot of patients. If I have ever seen a cycle related HI, itwas not many.
Compared to the number of HI issue from occupants of cars, football players, football players, football players, drunk people, people who have been drinking and other drunk or drug affected people, and people who are either angry or bashed by an angry person, the number of cycling injuries I see does not rate a mention.
If you took alcohol, cigarettes and obesity from food alcohol and inactivity out of the ED, I would be on the dole.
Rugby league by far provides the vast majority of activity related injuries I see. The number of concussions, blow-out fractures, broken jaws, busted ribs, dislocated shoulders, broken ribs etc that I see is truly sickening.
If you want to get on a self-rigtheous soap-box and save the world from sports injuries, then rugby league is waiting for you.
Good luck though. Rugby league is worshipped and when the idiots that play smash together in repetitive acts of stupidity, people clap and cheer and kids can't wait to imitate them. I saw a kid on the weekend with his second dose of concussion for the season, who became dazed and stupid during the game without even knowing which tackle did it. The coach is going to be gutted, but I benched him for the season. I bet he plays again within a month.
I can and have been fined for cycling down a footpath in a sleepy western village with no traffic moving, when I was on my way home from swimming laps in the pool, to stay fit. Rugby is worshipped there too.
In the same town, when doing an aeromedical transfer, the rate of morid obesity is so high, that the RFDS co-odinator asks for a measurement across the beam of all patients, because if they are greater than 67cm, they won't fit into the plane. They ask this because so many people in that town are too fat to fly.
Which problem do you think is the greater one ? Honestly ?
Don't you think that we should be removing every barrier to physical activity ? What is the basis for your attachment to MHL's ? I really, really don't understand that. Have you never experienced the freedom of zipping along on a bike in bare feet with the wind blowing through your hair ? You should try is sometime. It's like skinny dipping. A truly liberating experience.
You have officially become your parents.
A few more, while I am on a roll....
All based on children, so valid questions remain around the necessity of MHL for adults.
The question of possible of health impacts around (claimed) reduced cycling rates also remains valid.
But please can we end this assertion that there is no evidence that MHL have a positive effect on safety.
Head injuries to bicyclists and the New Zealand bicycle helmet law
Paul Scuffham , Jonathan Alsop , Colin Cryer , John D. Langley
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of helmet wearing and the New Zealand helmet wearing law on serious head injury for cyclists involved in on-road motor vehicle and non-motor vehicle crashes. The study population consisted of three age groups of cyclists (primary school children (ages 5–12 years), secondary school children (ages 13–18 years), and adults (19years)) admitted to public hospitals between 1988 and 1996. Data were disaggregated by diagnosis and analysed using negativebinomial regression models. Results indicated that there was a positive effect of helmet wearing upon head injury and this effect was relatively consistent across age groups and head injury (diagnosis) types. We conclude that the helmet law has been an effective road safety intervention that has lead to a 19% (90% CI: 14, 23%) reduction in head injury to cyclists over its first 3 years.
Accident Analysis and Prevention 32 (2000) 565–573
Trends in Pediatric and Adult Bicycling Deaths Before and After Passage of a Bicycle Helmet Law
D. Wessen et al
OBJECTIVES. The goals were to examine bicycle-related mortality rates in Ontario, Canada, from 1991 to 2002 among bicyclists 1 to 15 years of age and 16 years of age through adulthood and to determine the effect of legislation (introduced in October 1995 for bicyclists <18 years of age) on mortality rates.
METHODS. The average numbers of deaths per year and mortality rates per 100000 person-years for the prelegislation and postlegislation periods, and the percentage changes, were calculated for each of the 2 age groups (1–15 years and ≥16 years). Differences before and after legislation in the 2 age groups were modeled in a time series analysis.
RESULTS. There were 362 bicycle-related deaths in the 12-year period (1–15 years: 107 deaths; ≥16 years: 255 deaths). For bicyclists 1 to 15 years of age, the average number of deaths per year decreased 52%, the mortality rate per 100000 person-years decreased 55%, and the time series analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in deaths after legislation. The estimated change in the number of deaths per month was −0.59 deaths per month. For bicyclists ≥16 years of age, there were only slight changes in the average number of deaths per year and the mortality rate per 100000 person-years, and the time series analysis demonstrated no significant change in deaths after legislation.
CONCLUSIONS. The bicycle-related mortality rate in children 1 to 15 years of age has decreased significantly, which may be attributable in part to helmet legislation. A similar reduction for bicyclists 16 years of age through adulthood was not identified. These findings support promotion of helmet use, enforcement of the existing law, and extension of the law to adult bicyclists.
Pediatrics Vol. 122 No. 3 September 1, 2008 pp. 605 -610
Impact of Mandatory Helmet Legislation on Bicycle-Related Head Injuries in Children: A Population-Based Study
A. Macpherson et al
Objective. Childhood bicycle-related head injuries can be prevented through the use of helmets. Although helmet legislation has proved to be a successful strategy for the adoption of helmets, its effect on the rates of head injury is uncertain. In Canada, 4 provinces have such legislation. The objective of this study was to measure the impact of helmet legislation on bicycle-related head injuries in Canadian children.
Methods. Routinely collected data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information identified all Canadian children (5–19 years) who were hospitalized for bicycling-related injuries from 1994–1998. Children were categorized as head or other injury on the basis of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes. Rates of head injuries and other injuries were compared over time in provinces that adopted legislation and those that did not.
Results. Of the 9650 children who were hospitalized because of a bicycle-related injury, 3426 sustained injuries to the head and face and the remaining 6224 had other injuries. The bicycle-related head injury rate declined significantly (45% reduction) in provinces where legislation had been adopted compared with provinces and territories that did not adopt legislation (27% reduction).
Conclusion. This country-wide study compared rates of head injury in regions with and without mandatory helmet legislation. Comparing head injuries with other non-head-injured children controlled for potential differences in children’s cycling habits. The strong protective association between helmet legislation and head injuries supports the adoption of helmet legislation as an effective tool in the prevention of childhood bicycle-related head injuries.
Pediatrics Vol. 110 No. 5 November 1, 2002 pp. e60
I'm sorry, but did you realise that you posted a study that show a 0.5/1000 000 reduction in HI in children ?
Is that even statistically valid ? Studies often go wrong at the conclusion Steve. What that study really shows, is that at 2.5:1000 000, head injuries in children from cycling are rare.
Rd ad the rebuttals on http://www.helmetfreedom.org . Te numbers are bent.
I note you decline to engage in my debate the detrimental effects of MHL on participation.
Last edited by Ken Ho on Wed May 08, 2013 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
You have officially become your parents.
I don't know whether compliance is a problem. That's kind of why I was asking the question. But that was just an example. The real question was whether MHLs can be made more effective.
As for your claim that it infringes on basic freedoms: which ones? I suppose it could, but I'm having a hard time thinking of any.
Hey...thanks for the answer
No argument here. Half of my employees play club league, and I can hardly wait for the season to end
Not so much mhl's, but I'll always wear one because my older brother died in an ED due to head injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. No vehicular involvement, sub 20km/h speed. Just outta luck. No helmet
I have (old) photos of me riding my motorcycle across the Harbour Bridge sans helmet. So yes
As stated earlier...time and again. I don't care if people don't wear helmets. Go nuts Just don't be expecting everyone to support it, and don't blame me for you having to do it. It was always my choice, way before mhl's
Edit....my reply to the mhl question. sorry
I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!!!!!!! LOL
In what universe are children who are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle considered safe because they are wearing a helmet?
Don't confuse injury reduction with safety.
Helmets! Bells! Rego!
Given that the NSW Govt level of unacceptable risk of fatality is 1/1000000 the order of number is the right ballpark to be considered significant.
And helmetfreedom are a really useful source of unbiased information.... not.
And yes I don't debate participation rates as an important factor to consider and I have said so before. It is the key reason why I repeatedly state that I am not necessarily a MHL supporter.
I am just yet to see any convincing evidence to support that this factor exists. I need to see a (peer-reviewed) published study where the data has not been subsequently seriously questioned in the follow-up literature.
[/quote]Don't confuse injury reduction with safety.[/quote]
I think that statement ends my participation in this thread for the forseeable future.
I'm sorry about the death of your brother. I had a similar grief, though different cause, with my young son.
However, without knowing the exact nature of his injury, it is not possible to comment on wheterh a helmet would actually have made a difference. Helmets do not protect against decelleration injury, which causes, for example, sub-dural haemtoma.
I also don't find that citing incidents where riders crash in clear uncomplicated conditions to be useful in the debate, as that clearly reflects on the specific conditions that caused that incident, rather than on riding conditions in general.
I don't really believe in "accidents". The aviation industry, for example, does not either. "Accidents" are always physics at work, and are repeatable if you replicate the conditions, or avoidable if you do not. The aviation industry always finds either mechanical error or human error to be the cause of incidents.
I would prefer to see efforts to reduce cycling injuries focus on improving rider skills and on a general movement toward every road user thinking about protecting more vulnerable road users than themselves.
I also chose to wear a bike helmet before MHL's were introduced, in situations that I felt warranted it.
You have officially become your parents.
If you mean in terms of reducing road trauma - YOU BETCHA!
1/ Make cyclists wear motorbike helmets. You would see an even greater reduction in head injuries among cyclists
2/ Apply MHLs to all motor vehicle occupants. This would make a bigger dent in road trauma than a measly number of cyclists. http://www.monash.edu.au/miri/research/ ... tsb160.pdf
3/ Apply MHLs to pedestrians.
4/ Introduce random helmet checking to ensure AS compliance, correct fitting etc... with an increase in penalties for non compliance
Should we start a petition?
Helmets! Bells! Rego!
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