Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thread)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby KenGS » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:51 am

Philipthelam wrote:Another thing to consider: a lot of you are saying that the current helmets don't offer much protection. Would you support MHL if the aus helmet standards were a lot higher and people had to wear better helmets that offer more protection? What if they changed the law and we all had to wear better helmets and there was actually evidence to suggest that with better helmets there was less people getting head injuries from cycling?

No. Would you support MHLs for all car occupants if the evidence showed there would be less people getting head injuries from driving?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:19 am

Philipthelam wrote:Q.1 Say that repealing MHL will actually encourage more people to cycle. If MHL was repealed right now, do you think there will be a sudden increase in cyclist or it will change over time?


As said previously, the damage to cycling has been done and recovery will take time. (I would expect a rapid improvement in Bikeshare use though.) MHLs are certainly not the only barrier to cycling, so continual improvements need to be made. Driver attitude is shocking and education and enforcement is needed, this poor attitude is partly a symptom of the decline of cycling numbers.

So no, the immediate improvement won't be huge, but we also need to ask ourselves what benefits has MHL brought us? What justification is there to impose on people's basic freedom in such a way. There is no evidence that MHLs have improved safety and significant evidence to show that it has made things worse. Nobody is taking helmets away, if you ride in such a way that you believe you are at risk of falling then you are still free to wear a helmet.

Why are we (and NZ) the only country with blanket MHLs? Why do we think that we are so right and the others are so wrong despite evidence to the contrary?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:37 am

I don't think anyone on here is arguing that the removal of MHLs is a 'magic bullet'. The requirements to encourage a more rapid shift to bike use are much more complex. I do believe however that the MHL is a significant stumbling block that will limit the effectiveness of other cycling promotion and encouragement strategies.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:18 am

Philipthelam wrote: Now in Sydney you have to ride on the road. To others/those who don't cycle, this can be seen as dangerous. This idea is furthered by things you hear on the news, videos you see on YouTube etc. In a survey which I quoted in one of my other posts, of 1000 people surveyed the biggest reason for people not riding was because they felt they were not safe riding amongst cars/traffic.


A phobia is a twisting of the normal fear response. The fear is directed toward an object or situation that does not present a real danger. The sufferer recognizes that the fear is unreasonable, yet cannot help the reaction. Over time, the fear tends to worsen as the fear of fear response takes hold.


Many 'normal' people are already there regarding their phobia of riding of bicycles :roll:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:33 am

il padrone wrote:I don't think anyone on here is arguing that the removal of MHLs is a 'magic bullet'. The requirements to encourage a more rapid shift to bike use are much more complex. I do believe however that the MHL is a significant stumbling block that will limit the effectiveness of other cycling promotion and encouragement strategies.


Oh, some people are, I'm afraid. Take the claim that "MHLs are killing utility cycling".

In the interests of balance, there's always the "my uncle's dog's best mate's piano teacher once suffered an injury that a helmet would surely have prevented" nonsense presented on the other side of the debate. It really gets on my nerves that this debate descends into hyperbole time and time again.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:38 am

human909 wrote:So no, the immediate improvement won't be huge, but we also need to ask ourselves what benefits has MHL brought us? What justification is there to impose on people's basic freedom in such a way.

What imposition? It's trivial. I wouldn't even dignify such complaints by calling them a first-world problem. It's no worse than mandatory seatbelt-wearing, for example. I accept that seatbelt efficacy is well-settled and helmet efficacy isn't, but the effect on basic rights is about the same.

EDIT: fix quoting
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:44 am

high_tea wrote:
il padrone wrote:I don't think anyone on here is arguing that the removal of MHLs is a 'magic bullet'....

Oh, some people are, I'm afraid.

Who?

high_tea wrote:Take the claim that "MHLs are killing utility cycling".

Which could quite well be true but it is not an equivalent statement to "the removal of MHLs will is a 'magic bullet' fix to utility cycling".

Simply put there is a host of changes necessary to improve cycling, one of the major ones is MHL. Moreover it was MHL that helped decimate cycling and brought us to wear we are now. However in the absence of other improvement simply dropping MHLs is unlikely to result in a miraculous explosion in utility cycling.

high_tea wrote:What imposition? It's trivial. I wouldn't even dignify such complaints by calling them a first-world problem. It's no worse than mandatory seatbelt-wearing, for example. I accept that seatbelt efficacy is well-settled and helmet efficacy isn't, but the effect on basic rights is about the same.

The majority of people DON'T see it as trivial. Wearing a stupid foam hat is a big imposition. You might not see it like that because YOU are a cyclist. However the general public do see it as an imposition.

If it wasn't an imposition then why the need to make it mandatory? Why the debate in cycling in skiing and in rockclimbing? As a rock climber I would much rather go climbing bareheaded or with a sun hat. But due to my OWN choice I choose to climb with a helmet.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:49 am

high_tea wrote:
il padrone wrote:I don't think anyone on here is arguing that the removal of MHLs is a 'magic bullet'. The requirements to encourage a more rapid shift to bike use are much more complex. I do believe however that the MHL is a significant stumbling block that will limit the effectiveness of other cycling promotion and encouragement strategies.


Oh, some people are, I'm afraid. Take the claim that "MHLs are killing utility cycling".

You seem to be misinterpreting the meaning of the magic bullet. I would certainly agree the MHLs have reduced utility cycling dramatically.

The reverse does not apply - it will be a long road back. Hwever gradually, over say 5-10 years we should expect some significant improvements with the use of complementary strategies - engineering, enforcement, encouragement, education.... (well look at that, the good ol' 4 E's from the 1977 Geelong Bikeplan :idea:)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:57 am

high_tea wrote:What imposition? It's trivial. I wouldn't even dignify such complaints by calling them a first-world problem.

From 4:00 onwards (and these are people who regularly ride bicycles :roll: )




In Copenhagen there was a significant decline in cycle use when there was simply a campaign run to promote greater use of helmets. The messages sent are very negative for the average person (no-committed, non-enthusiast cyclist).
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:01 pm

So, can anybody give me a rough idea of the timeline to the paradigm shift on cycling from "Slightly risky fun for all" to " AAAAARGH!!! DANGER, Suicidal fools only"?
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:18 pm

BTW, back in 1977 when the Geelong Bikeplan was released the helmet did not even enter the picture. And guess which of the 4 E's was poorly followed up on, in Geelong and in other city's bikeplans?

Yes, enforcement. And especially the hidden enforcement - enforcing motorists to follow road rules and respect cyclists' place on the road.


There is a long history of negligent policy and enforcement actions towards cycling on the road by our traffic authorities and the MHL has been a poor stop-gap strategy that involves placing the blame solely on the cyclist.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:52 pm

human909 wrote:
high_tea wrote:
il padrone wrote:I don't think anyone on here is arguing that the removal of MHLs is a 'magic bullet'....

Oh, some people are, I'm afraid.

Who?

high_tea wrote:Take the claim that "MHLs are killing utility cycling".

Which could quite well be true but it is not an equivalent statement to "the removal of MHLs will is a 'magic bullet' fix to utility cycling".


Well, it assumes some pretty dire consequences for utility cycling if they stay in place.

human909 wrote:Simply put there is a host of changes necessary to improve cycling, one of the major ones is MHL. Moreover it was MHL that helped decimate cycling and brought us to wear we are now. However in the absence of other improvement simply dropping MHLs is unlikely to result in a miraculous explosion in utility cycling.


That's an important qualification, a reasonable one and one that is often not made.

human909 wrote:
high_tea wrote:What imposition? It's trivial. I wouldn't even dignify such complaints by calling them a first-world problem. It's no worse than mandatory seatbelt-wearing, for example. I accept that seatbelt efficacy is well-settled and helmet efficacy isn't, but the effect on basic rights is about the same.

The majority of people DON'T see it as trivial. Wearing a stupid foam hat is a big imposition. You might not see it like that because YOU are a cyclist. However the general public do see it as an imposition.

If it wasn't an imposition then why the need to make it mandatory? Why the debate in cycling in skiing and in rockclimbing? As a rock climber I would much rather go climbing bareheaded or with a sun hat. But due to my OWN choice I choose to climb with a helmet.


The Netherlands have seatbelt laws, right? I doubt that they are any more convenient there than there. In fact, if I may digress, they are for more inconvenient to me, and I suspect anyone else who has ever tried to get a toddler into a 5-point harness. I resist the urge to march against seatbelt laws because the impact on my freedom is, not to put too fine a point on it, trivial.

If the "majority of people" really think it's a non-trivial imposition on basic rights, they really need to think twice about cloaking themselves in Liberty's flag every time they clear their throat. Pardon my saying so. They can say it's mildly inconvenient, I won't cavil with that.

At the risk of digressing, I don't see a helmet as a big drama because I wear a hat most (outdoor) places and one hat is much like another. It's got nothing to do with being a cyclist. Ironically, it's easier for me to find a big, stupid foam hat that fits than, say, a big stupid straw hat or a big stupid cap of any kind. Indeed the hats that fit are really big and, if I'm not careful, really stupid.

(Disclaimer: by "stupid" I mean, "likely to make me look like a farmer or something, which is stupid since I'm a computer programmer from the suburbs". Farmers looking like farmers is fine. Computer programmers looking like farmers is stupid.)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:08 pm

high_tea wrote:Well, it assumes some pretty dire consequences for utility cycling if they stay in place.

Exactly. :idea: And those dire consequences have already occurred! :idea: :idea: The only areas in which I have seen a mass turn around have been in some inner city area where a bicycle is SIGNIFICANTLY more practical than a car.

high_tea wrote:That's an important qualification, a reasonable one and one that is often not made.

Thank you. But it is a qualification that would have been made at LEAST a hundred times in this thread.

high_tea wrote:The Netherlands have seatbelt laws, right? I doubt that they are any more convenient there than there. In fact, if I may digress, they are for more inconvenient to me, and I suspect anyone else who has ever tried to get a toddler into a 5-point harness. I resist the urge to march against seatbelt laws because the impact on my freedom is, not to put too fine a point on it, trivial.

Fair enough that is YOUR opinion... In MANY other peoples opinion helmets are not and simply a trivial inconvenience. That is THEIR opinion. The opinions of the Dutch is quite clear from that video and the rate of helmet wearing which is <<1%. If it was trivial surely more Dutch would be wearing one for the minor safety reasons.

But the fact is the safety benefits of helmet wearing is little more on a bicycle than it is as a pedestrian. Would you MHLs as a sensible idea for pedestrians? Why not?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Comedian » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:41 pm

Mulger bill wrote:So, can anybody give me a rough idea of the timeline to the paradigm shift on cycling from "Slightly risky fun for all" to " AAAAARGH!!! DANGER, Suicidal fools only"?


I can't ride because I might be run over or abused by someone like myself in a car. QED.

While I'm typing this, would the people who equate MHL with seatbelt legislation work on the concept that an unbelted passenger/s in a motor vehicle crash may cause injury to other passengers and even people outside the vehicle crashing.
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:09 pm

The big differences between the mandatory use of seat belts and mandatory use of helmets are:

1. Seat-belts don't need to be carried out to the car and fitted each day - helmets do,
2. Seat-belts don't interfere with your facial appearance (something that is a key factor in image, that many are bleating about in the CM thread) - helmets do,
3. Seat-belts don't tend to make you hot and sweaty, as a rule - helmets do.

Oh and,
4. Seat-belts have been statistically proven to reduce the rates of head injury and make conditions 'safer' on a population-basis - helmets have not.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:30 pm

human909 wrote:
high_tea wrote:Well, it assumes some pretty dire consequences for utility cycling if they stay in place.

Exactly. :idea: And those dire consequences have already occurred! :idea: :idea: The only areas in which I have seen a mass turn around have been in some inner city area where a bicycle is SIGNIFICANTLY more practical than a car.

high_tea wrote:That's an important qualification, a reasonable one and one that is often not made.

Thank you. But it is a qualification that would have been made at LEAST a hundred times in this thread.

high_tea wrote:The Netherlands have seatbelt laws, right? I doubt that they are any more convenient there than there. In fact, if I may digress, they are for more inconvenient to me, and I suspect anyone else who has ever tried to get a toddler into a 5-point harness. I resist the urge to march against seatbelt laws because the impact on my freedom is, not to put too fine a point on it, trivial.

Fair enough that is YOUR opinion... In MANY other peoples opinion helmets are not and simply a trivial inconvenience. That is THEIR opinion. The opinions of the Dutch is quite clear from that video and the rate of helmet wearing which is <<1%. If it was trivial surely more Dutch would be wearing one for the minor safety reasons.

But the fact is the safety benefits of helmet wearing is little more on a bicycle than it is as a pedestrian. Would you MHLs as a sensible idea for pedestrians? Why not?


I'm much more leery of regulating pedestrians than cyclists in general. I regard being able to walk places as perhaps the most basic expression of freedom of movement imaginable, so interfering with that doesn't sit well with me.

Now mandatory helmets in motor vehicles I don't mind. Bring it on. You won't hear a peep out of me. Anyone who complains about freedom will get the same answer from me - it's a trivial imposition on your basic rights; conflating convenience with freedom is just silly.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby damhooligan » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:43 pm

high_tea wrote:I'm much more leery of regulating pedestrians than cyclists in general. I regard being able to walk places as perhaps the most basic expression of freedom of movement imaginable, so interfering with that doesn't sit well with me.


You dont think riding a bike is a basic expression of freedom of movement ?
A bike is cheap, and suitable for everyone.
Its very efficient, as it is faster then walking, and you are able to carry more items from doing grocerie shopping.
Its also a very healty way of transport and good for the enviroment.
Interfering with that, does not feel well with me.
The dutch have one word to describe the aussie MHL, this word is ;
SCHIJNVEILIGHEID !!
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:45 am

The bicycle has been extremely influential in basic freedom of movement. It is considered to have played a pivotal role in bringing about the emancipation of women. It continues to provide mobility for those who lack wealth both in Australia and in developing countries.

http://crankedmag.wordpress.com/issues/ ... -movement/
http://articles.cnn.com/2008-05-20/livi ... =PM:LIVING

high_tea wrote:it's a trivial imposition on your basic rights; conflating convenience with freedom is just silly.

No it isn't. Unfortunately Australia deems it fit to impose on our PERSONAL freedoms in so many different ways. It is quite sad really.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Comedian » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:24 am

high_tea wrote:Now mandatory helmets in motor vehicles I don't mind. Bring it on. You won't hear a peep out of me. Anyone who complains about freedom will get the same answer from me - it's a trivial imposition on your basic rights; conflating convenience with freedom is just silly.


MHL for motor vehicles would seriously help with safety. There is a 0.00000000 (recurring) chance of it getting up. People just won't have it. Despite what you think, having to put a helmet on in the car would result in a political revolution.

It's an unfortunate reality that the people who would not stand for it in the car are very likely the ones who are also the most deterred from cycling by MHL. However, since they have a happy normalised alternative .....
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Kenzo » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:52 am

Anyone got stats on head injuries in cars? Would be interesting to compare against bike head injuries. IMO (more) head protection in a car is a waste of time... But I don't have any numbers to back that up.
But there is nothing stopping a person wearing a helmet in the car i.e. it is still a choice. Unlike for cyclists... The law has removed that freedom to choose.
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Postby human909 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:29 am

Kenzo wrote:IMO (more) head protection in a car is a waste of time...

Head injuries are still quite common in cars though with more and more airbags things are getting better unless there is cell intrusion. Helmets would still certainly improve things, car car drivers are in no mood to give them up any time soon. Before the advent of multiple airbags, head injuries were quite common. Yet there was no push for helmets. Here is one study and discussion.

From a safety perspective a helmet is going to improve the safety of almost ANY activity and driving is included in this. But despite what some people in this thread think helmets are clearly not a non trivial imposition. So it comes down to convenience vs trade off.

Interesting, I went beach kayaking yesterday. My friends had helmets. Mine was still in the car. In rivers there is no way that I wouldn't have a helmet, but I though the beach would be ok. As I found out, ocean grove has LOTS of submerged rocks. While I never was in danger, I think the smarter move yesterday would have been to wear my helmet.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby KenGS » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:15 pm

Kenzo wrote:Anyone got stats on head injuries in cars? Would be interesting to compare against bike head injuries. IMO (more) head protection in a car is a waste of time... But I don't have any numbers to back that up.
But there is nothing stopping a person wearing a helmet in the car i.e. it is still a choice. Unlike for cyclists... The law has removed that freedom to choose.

You can find some in http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-deta ... 0737421997
This report presents findings on serious injury, due to land transport accidents in 2008-09. There is a focus on road vehicle traffic crashes which accounted for nearly two-thirds of all serious injury. Land transport accidents accounted for 0.7% of all hospitalisations and 9.8% of all hospitalisations due to injury in Australia during 2008-09. For traffic (on-road) accidents, 47.1% of those seriously injured were car occupants, 24.0% were motorcyclists and 15.4% were pedal cyclists.

Body region injured
The body region injured in road vehicle traffic crashes differed according to road user group (Table 4.3.12). The head was the most commonly injured body region among car occupants and pedestrians while injuries to the shoulder and upper limb were most commonly observed among motorcyclists and pedal cyclists. Injuries to the thorax were also prominent among car occupants while injuries to the lower limbs were also prominent among pedestrians and motorcyclists. The head was the second most commonly injured body region among pedal cyclists.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Kenzo » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:57 pm

Thanks!

So could you/I say you are more likely to receive a head injury in a car than on a bicycle per hour travelled?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby KenGS » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:12 pm

Kenzo wrote:So could you/I say you are more likely to receive a head injury in a car than on a bicycle per hour travelled?

Not on the basis of that data. There is no estimate of hours spent travelling in that report. Interestingly they look at traffic crashes per 100,000 registered vehicles. An equivalent for bikes could be per bicycle sold with some multiplier
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:03 pm

human909 wrote:The bicycle has been extremely influential in basic freedom of movement. It is considered to have played a pivotal role in bringing about the emancipation of women. It continues to provide mobility for those who lack wealth both in Australia and in developing countries.

http://crankedmag.wordpress.com/issues/ ... -movement/
http://articles.cnn.com/2008-05-20/livi ... =PM:LIVING

high_tea wrote:it's a trivial imposition on your basic rights; conflating convenience with freedom is just silly.

No it isn't. Unfortunately Australia deems it fit to impose on our PERSONAL freedoms in so many different ways. It is quite sad really.

Well now, I don't know exactly which laws you're referring to, because if you consider that level of imposition excessive, there are so very many to choose from. Sure, you could do away with them all, but that sounds pretty revolutionary to me, and MHL repeal is a minor and relatively uninteresting side-effect of such a cataclysmic change.

EDIT: Oh, and I never said cycling wasn't a big deal. I said, and I stand by it, that the right to walk around is a much much bigger deal. Fundamental, even.
Last edited by high_tea on Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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