Archive for Bicycle Safety

Woman on bike killed by FedEx driver in Los Angeles hit-and-run, suspect detained by police

A Los Angeles woman has been killed in a collision with a FedEx driver in the Newton Area.

KTLA-5 reports the victim was riding her bike east on Washington Blvd at Staunton Ave around 8:40 Thursday morning, when the northbound FedEx truck pulled out from a stop sign on Staunton.

Witnesses reported that she was directly in front of the truck. Yet somehow, the driver apparently failed to the woman her on her bike.

He kept going following the impact, dragging the victim under the truck, then continued without stopping.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, left to die in the middle of the intersection.

The LAPD has identified the victim as 54-year old Elisa Gomez.

Police have found the suspected FedEx driver, who has been detained for questioning.

According to KTLA-5, LAPD Capt. Alfonso Lopez suggested he could be looking at a manslaughter charge.

It was not immediately known whether the driver saw the cyclist, but “based on the physical evidence at scene and based on the officer’s expertise, and the construction of the traffic collision, it is our belief that the driver of the vehicle would have, or could have, or should have known that he had struck an individual,” the captain said…

“Had this individual stayed at scene and rendered aid — or at least called somebody and cooperated — and remained at scene, it would be looked at as a traffic collision,” Lopez said. “The fact that his individual failed to stay at scene and then fled makes us look at it now like a hit-and-run investigation, leading to a manslaughter case.”

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Detective Calvin Dehesa at 213/486-0750 or the Central Traffic Division Detectives 213/833-3713.

This is the eleventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Los Angeles County. It’s also the fourth in the City of Los Angeles since the start of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Elisa Gomez and all her loved ones.

 

Victim identified in Long Beach bicycling double hit-and-run last weekend

Somehow, we missed this one last weekend.

Friday morning, the LA County Coroner’s office released the name of a hit-and-run victim who was killed while riding a bike in Long Beach last Saturday.

Long Beach police officers discovered 24-year old San Pedro resident Cole Micek lying on the Terminal Island Freeway at Pier A Way around 3 am last Saturday.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Micek’s identification was delayed because he wasn’t carrying any ID.

According to the Long Beach police, he was struck by two drivers, both of whom fled the scene. They’re looking for white 2015-17 Toyota Camry, as well as a late-1990s Honda Accord with a dark hood and a sunroof.

Anyone with information about the crash was asked to call Long Beach Police Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562/570-7355 or Crime Stoppers at 800/222-8477.

This is the tenth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Cole Micek and all his family and loved ones.

Bike rider killed on the 101 Freeway in Studio City Friday morning

Sometimes, there’s just no information available.

According to multiple sources, a bike rider was killed in the center lane of the eastbound 101 Freeway near the Laurel Canyon exit in Studio City around 6:11 this morning.

No information was available on the victim or how the crash may have occurred.

The reports said it was unclear if the victim was riding the bike or walking it at the time of the crash.

However, a still from KNBC-4 shows an apparently undamaged bike leaning against the sound wall on the side of the freeway, suggesting that the victim may have left it there before walking onto the roadway.

There was no explanation for why the victim was riding a bike on the freeway, or why he or she may have entered the traffic lanes.

This is the ninth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Los Angeles County; it’s also the third in the City of Los Angeles.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his or her loved ones.

 

60-year old bike rider dies one day after Imperial Beach crash

Sad news from the San Diego area, where a woman has died following a left-cross collision in Imperial Beach.

According to the Times of San Diego, 60-year old Kathleen Ann Cua was pronounced brain dead a day after she was hit by a left-turning driver.

And yes, she was wearing a helmet.

The crash occurred around 5:15 Saturday evening at the intersection of Palm Ave and 4th Street in Imperial Beach.

The Union-Tribune reports she was one of three people riding east in the bike lane on Palm, when she was struck by the driver of a car, crashing into the windshield. She was taken to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, where she died.

The driver remained at the scene, and police do not suspect he was under the influence.

However, he told investigators that he did not see Cua until she hit his windshield — which should be seen as a confession, rather than an excuse.

He also told the U-T he didn’t think Cua saw him before the impact, an odd statement considering his claim that didn’t even know she was there.

Evidently, he was somehow able to read her mind at the moment of impact. Or maybe he just saw a look of surprise as he slammed into her.

This is the eighth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Diego County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kathleen Ann Cua and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Jeff Kucharski for the heads-up.

Morning Links: More details in Tour de Palm Springs crash, and what to do about overly courteous drivers

No victim blaming here.

After cyclist Mark Kristofferson was killed by a speeding driver while riding in the Tour de Palm Springs on Saturday, and another rider badly injured, participants say there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the crash.

Except for a bike-riding Palm Springs resident, who calls for better eduction for participants in the rules of the ride.

Even though accused killer Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. was allegedly traveling at over twice the 50 mph speed limit when he lost control and slammed into the victims.

And even though the two victims were doing nothing wrong, and reportedly riding exactly where they were supposed to be.

Nothing they did could have prevented the crash. Unless they had somehow been able to keep Huerta’s alleged foot off his alleged gas pedal. Or keep him out of his damn car to begin with.

Huerta was reportedly released on $75,000 bail on a single count of vehicular manslaughter, though that could change as prosecutors move forward.

Meanwhile, the other victim, 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach, was being treated for what was described as “major injuries,” including a head laceration.

Let’s all hope she makes a full and fast recovery.

And that Riverside County officially treat this case with the seriousness it deserves.

Let’s also hope that the ride organizers figure out some way to improve safety. Because two deaths in four years is two too many.

Photo courtesy of the LAPD Central Area Bike Unit.

………

Frequent contributor Mike Wilkinson writes for advice on how to handle the problem of friendly drivers who want to wave you through the intersection.

Dear Dr. BikinginLA:

My wife and I are enjoying a friendly disagreement about what to do when a driver yields their right of way to us. I say it’s confusing and maybe dangerous. She says the drivers are being courteous. We should smile, wave, and go for it.

Although I go to extra effort to ride according to the rules (and laws) of the road, I don’t have too much trouble waving and smiling in low-risk situations. An example would be meeting a driver at a four-way stop. If the driver waves me through, even if that driver was there first, my wife’s words ring in my ears, and I smile, wave, and start pedaling. My wife is very adamant: With all of the hostility from drivers that we hear about, if a driver is kind enough to yield their right of way, we should accept it graciously.

On the other hand, yesterday I encountered what I thought was a dangerous situation. I was on a small 25 mph residential street waiting to cross a 45 mph street with two lanes in each direction. To my surprise, a driver on the busy street stopped and waved me through. I didn’t go, because there were cars coming from the other direction. Soon there were other drivers behind the one who stopped, and the honking began. Eventually the driver who stopped drove away, but I think everyone involved was upset, some of them at me!

I think that in the long run it would be better if everyone took their right of way. We all know that the streets are crazy enough without someone trying to invent new rules, even if they are just trying to be courteous. However, in the real world, I’d be very interested to learn what your other readers have to say about drivers who yield their right of way.

Personally, I appreciate when drivers show me any courtesy, wanted or otherwise.

So I play it by ear. If there’s no one else on the road, I’ll usually wave my thanks and ride through; if not, I’ll wave the driver through while signaling my appreciation.

And if I don’t feel safe, I’ll clip out of my pedal, put my foot down, and won’t budge until it’s safe for me to go. No matter how offended the driver gets.

However, I try not to brag about my Ph.D. in Advanced BS from Whatsamatta U.

………

Local

The intersection where 15-year old Saul Lopez was killed while riding to school two years ago has been renamed in his honor after receiving a number of safety improvements, including leading interval signals for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The LACBC will host a monthly slow ride beginning this Saturday.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman will host a discussion on the future of transportation in Los Angeles at the Glendale Transportation Center this Saturday.

CiclaValley explores the newly extended bike lanes on Verdugo Ave in Burbank.

 

State

Caltrans’ white paper on the Future of Mobility in the years leading up to 2050 includes a section on bikeshare. But not on riding any other kind of bike.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says pedestrian fatalities continue to mount as the city drags its feet on Vision Zero. Not unlike another city I could mention a few hours to the north.

 

National

Oregon chefs are already gearing up for May’s three-day, 300-mile No Child Hungry ride along the California coast.

Riding while black. According to the Chicago Tribune, blacks, Latinos and whites each make up roughly a third of the city’s population — yet over half of all tickets issued to bike riders were written in predominantly black neighborhoods.

A Kentucky Op-Ed says the state should adopt a three-foot passing law, like 34 other states already have, including California.

Country star Luke Bryan is still one of us, gearing up with a new Trek despite breaking his collarbone in a 2016 bicycling fall.

The annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show runs this coming weekend in Hartford CT.

 

International

Former LA Kings goalie and current Canadian hockey analyst Kellie Hrudey is one of us, too.

A British bicyclist gets six months for breaking the leg of a man in his 70s while riding drunk and brakeless on a train platform.

A British man lost his bicycle, mobile phone and laptop in a strong-arm robbery by three young men who pushed him into a stream.

A Scottish nonprofit group is helping refugees get settled in the country by providing them with bicycles.

An Irish writer says “Cyclist bashing is a popular sport among the less enlightened members of the commentariat.” And then proceeds to do exactly that, before concluding that too many cyclists have died.

Drivers in Kuala Lumpur call for the removal of new protected bike lanes, describing them as a safety hazard. Just like drivers in Los Angeles do.

Bicyclists in Yangon, Myanmar say riding a bike on city streets is like betting your life.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nice profile of America’s only men’s Olympic cycling gold medal winner, 1984 champ Alexi Grewal, told from the perspective of his new home in India.

A Rwandan paper looks at the rise of bike racing in the country.

A writer for Slate looks at Strava as a gateway drug, explaining how it got her into bike racing.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to do a story about sharing the road, don’t illustrate it with a photo of tandem time trial riders. How to be antisocial and take a group cycling vacation anyway.

And teenage Nazi spies on bikes may not just be a good premise for a WWII novel.

……..

Let’s finish with one last, larger look at that great, suitable-for-framing photo at the top of this page.

Photo courtesy of LAPD Central Bike Unit

Update: Man killed by alleged speeding driver in Tour de Palm Springs, 2nd rider injured; 2nd death in four years

It’s happened again.

One man was killed, and another bicyclist seriously injured, when they were struck by an allegedly speeding driver during today’s Tour de Palm Springs.

According to the Desert Sun, the victims were struck when a speeding driver lost control of his car on Dillon Road in Indio Hills, south of Tinker Road, around 9:25 am.

However, that location doesn’t show up using any map site.

The paper reports the driver came up from behind a number of cyclists as they were riding east on Dillon, allegedly traveling at over 100 mph — twice the posted speed limit. He veered onto the dirt shoulder on the wrong side of the road, lost control and veered back across the road to hit the two riders.

The crash reportedly occurred among the trailing riders on the century ride.

Fortynine-year old Lake Stevens, Washington, resident Mark Kristofferson died at the scene.

The other victim was airlifted with serious injuries, while the driver was transported to a local hospital by ambulance.

The case is still being investigated, and no charges have been filed at this time.

This the second death in the 20-year history of the Tour de Palm Springs. It comes just four years after 55-year old La Vonne Koester of Alta Loma was killed during the 2014 edition of annual event, when she allegedly ran a stop sign.

However, other reports indicated that a driver had stopped to wave a group of riders through the intersection, when a second driver came up from behind and was unable to stop before plowing into the riders.

No one was ever charged in that case.

This is the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Riverside County.

Update: The Desert Sun has updated their story to say 21-year old Desert Hot Springs resident Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. has been arrested on a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

The story also corrects Kristofferson’s age as 49, rather than 54 as originally reported; that change has been made to this story, as well.

The second victim has been identified as 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach. She is being treated for what is described as major injuries, including a head laceration.

Huerta was also treated for moderate injuries before being taken to jail on the manslaughter charge, where he is currently being held.

Update 2: At the request of Mark Kristofferson’s family, I have removed a bike cam video of the crash scene taken half an hour after the collision, which briefly showed the tarp covering his body. 

Update 3: According to the Desert Sun, CHP investigators report the driver did not appear to be under the influence at the time of the crash, but are still waiting for the results of drug and alcohol tests. 

Huerta was released on $75,000 bond, and isn’t expected to appear in court until April. 

The crash location was corrected to Dillon Road near Avenue 30. The story reports that there were several police officers stationed at key intersections along the route, but none along the 25-mile stretch where the crash occurred.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mark Kristofferson and his loved ones. And best wishes to Alyson Lee Akers for a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Tom Morash and Wes R for the heads-up.

Bike rider killed in collision with Expo Line train in South LA; another critically injured

Sad news from South LA, where a bike rider has died following a collision with the Expo Line.

KTLA-5 initially reported last night that two pedestrians were struck by a train in University Park east of USC, around 9 pm Tuesday. The story was later amended to say one of the victims had a bicycle.

Now LA West Media has reported that one victim has died after being transported to a hospital, while the other victim is in critical condition.

Neither has been publicly identified at this time.

According to the report, three males were riding their bikes on Jefferson Blvd near Flower Street, when they attempted to cross the Expo Line tracks despite an approaching train.

The first rider made it. The other two were hit by the empty Expo train, which was on a test run.

This is one more heartbreaking reminder to never attempt to cross train tracks after the warning alarms sound or the gates close.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at 323/421-2500.

This is the sixth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County. The other LA County death occurred in South LA, as well.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. And prayers and best wishes for the recovery of the second victim. 

 

Morning Links: Bike helmet debate, CSUN LimeBike opens today, and why people keep dying on our streets

Doctors and medical groups have long led the push for bike helmets.

So it’s surprising when a leading medical journal questions their usefulness.

But that’s exactly what a pair of letters in the prestigious British medical journal BMJ — formerly the British Medical Journal — do.

The first one suggests that the safety in numbers benefit provided by more people using bikeshare outweighs the benefits of bike helmets.

And the other concludes this way —

The key issue in considering the use of helmets is of course the risk. In recent years, more detailed assessment of risk in personal travel in England has been published [4]. This shows that risk varies considerably more by age than by mode of travel. The range of risks experienced in bicycling are in the same range as faced in walking or driving, except possibly for the most elderly bicyclists.

In conclusion, there is no objective reason to consider even the promotion of helmets for bicycling, in the absence of similar measures for all other road users.

………

We mentioned last week that LimeBike had established a dockless bikeshare beachhead on the CSUN campus in Northridge.

Now they’re having their official unveiling this afternoon.

LimeBike Bike Demo and Inaugural Unlocking (1/25) at 1 p.m. PST at CSUN Campus Bookstore

  • When: Thursday (1/25) from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 pm. PST
  • Where: University Bookstore,18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330
  • What: An opportunity to learn more about how LimeBike works and hear from the CSUN Director of Energy & Sustainability, LimeBike’s LA Operations Manager, and other CSUN officials on how CSUN is leading the way to revolutionize sustainable transportation.

To celebrate the launch, the company is offering 10 free rides through the end of January by using the code LIMEWITHCSUN.

You can download the app to find and rent the bikes through their website.

………

This is why people keep dying on our streets.

The Los Angeles DA’s office decided not to file charges against the alleged hit-and-run driver suspected of killing a popular homeless woman living in Boyle Heights, saying it would be too difficult to get a conviction.

Even though a security camera showed the driver appearing to carefully drive around her body as he left the scene.

And even though a witness claims to have told the driver he’d backed over the victim as she was sweeping the street around her trailer, contradicting the driver’s claims that he didn’t know he’d hit anyone.

So once again, an innocent woman is dead. And no one will ever be held accountable.

Which is how Vision Zero becomes meaningless.

………

The LA Times’ Steve Lopez wrote about a father who became an activist against illegal immigration after his son was killed in a crash with an unlicensed man from Honduras.

While story focused on immigration, J. Patrick Lynch thinks Lopez missed the point.

The real takeaway of this article should have been how easy it is for people to get behind a machine that can easily kill . Whether it be an illegal immigrant, a driver with a suspended license for traffic violations, or someone who’s had their license revoked for multiple DUIs or has even killed someone already, if you want to drive, there’s really little stopping you.

Which is something else that has to change if we’re ever going to reduce traffic fatalities.

Let alone end them.

………

Local

Work has started on the Main & Spring Forward Complete Streets project in DTLA, including converting the buffered bike lanes on Main and Spring Streets to protected bike lanes. Thanks to 14th District Councilmember José Huizar for having the courage to move forward with the project, despite LA’s recent anti-bike lane hysteria.

A Caltech researcher creates art by pushing 800 bicycles until they fall over to better understand how we keep them upright.

 

State

The San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, broke ground the two-mile Rose Creek Bikeway, part of the planned 44-mile Coastal Rail Trail between Oceanside and downtown San Diego.

The San Diego Reader says mountain bikers don’t want illegal trails, either.

Ventura County has received $3.8 million to fund three bike projects in Ventura, Fillmore and Thousand Oaks, including $1.8 million for a three-mile bike lane on Potrero Road.

LimeBike and Ofo are complaining about San Francisco’s opaque licensing requirements after they were denied permits to operate dockless bikeshare systems in the city.

Too scary. A San Francisco man was busted for bashing another man with a hammer and stealing his bicycle; the victim suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The family of a Napa Valley man is suing Caltrans after he was killed when he caught a wheel in a railroad track crossing a highway.

 

National

Nice piece on the current demonization of distracted pedestrians, which is just more of the usual victim blaming while ignoring the real danger on our roads.

The Guardian looks at Seattle’s efforts to install bike racks to keep homeless people from sleeping on the street.

One of the NFL’s top prospects is sort of one of us — as in a unicycle-riding tight end from South Dakota State.

Streetsblog accuses the ACLU of having a dangerous windshield bias for their opposition to traffic safety cameras in Iowa.

Nice story. An Arkansas girl born without a hand can ride a bike for the first time after her elementary school classmates designed and built a handlebar attachment using a 3D printer.

A Wisconsin writer says winter cycling is dumb, but in a good way.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner is suing a father and son in a Minnesota court for cybersquatting on at least 66 web addresses that infringe on the LeMond trademark; the father’s defense is that someone must have stolen his ID and registered the sites in his name. Sure, let’s go with that.

Minneapolis MN will get a temporary fat tire bikeshare service for next month’s Super Bowl. Hopefully it will work well enough they’ll make it permanent.

A Minnesota man was busted for possession of meth and driving with a revoked license while appealing his five-year sentence for killing a bicyclist; he’s also facing charges for hiring an underage prostitute.

Forbes profiles former Livestrong CEO, bicyclist and three-time cancer survivor Doug Ulman, CEO of Columbus OH-based Pelotonia.

Boston bike riders are demanding a change in the city’s auto-centric culture after authorities refuse to prosecute a truck driver who fatally right hooked a physician as she rode to work.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in NY, where the widow of a 9/11 victim walked away with five-year’s probation for killing a bike rider while she was high on dope.

A DC writer suggests that there’s hidden racism in many complaints about dockless bikeshare in the city, which is popular with black youths.

After a hit-and-run driver put a bicyclist in the hospital, Florida Reddit users figured out the make, model and year of the car before the police could.

 

International

A Chicago writer bikes the backroads of Cuba.

They get it. A Canadian website points out why bike lanes are good for everyone, even drivers and business owners. Which should be required reading for anyone who questions the value of bikeways.

A Victoria, British Columbia chef is taking advantage of new bike lanes by opening a restaurant with a bike-through window. Which is a perfect example of how businesses can take advantage of the opportunity presented by bike-friendly streets, rather than fighting them tooth-and-nail.

A writer for Singletrack looks at the real reasons women bike less than men in the wake of a BBC report.

A British bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries after he was hit by a student driver, who carried him nearly 200 feet on the hood of his car.

Bicycling suggests a cycling vacation in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where you can ride where the pros train. If you can keep up.

Australia’s most notorious driver finally had his license revoked after 11 suspensions in 12 years, not that a little thing like that ever stopped him from driving; he also killed a ten-year old girl who was riding her bike in 2003, while driving at over three times the legal alcohol limit.

Merchants in an Australian town are fighting plans to remove parking on one side of a street to make room for bike lanes, over fears that it will kill their business. Proving once again that anti-bike lane bias is the same all over the world.

 

Competitive Cycling

Like father like sons. Twenty-three-year old Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas Jr was banned for four years for doping, 15 years after his dad received a one-year ban for using EPO at the 2003 Giro d’Italia; sadly, his brother died last year under suspicious circumstances that may have been linked to doping, as well.

Former pro — and yes, doper — Alexandre Vinokourov pranked the members of his Astana pro team by disguising himself as an old man, then dropping them on a steep climb.

Speaking of doping, the Netflix documentary that blew the top off Russia’s state-sponsored doping program could win an Oscar, thanks to the nomination of Icarus for Best Documentary Feature.

Last year’s winner of the Amgen Tour of California has been ordered to stop touching fans to protect his health.

When you’re three-time world champ Peter Sagan, you get an audience with the pope. And when you’re the pope, you get a monogrammed bike in the papal colors from Peter Sagan.

 

Finally…

Stick a candle in your next energy gel. There’s nothing more French than eating foie gras on toast while watching a video while driving; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

And polite bike riders always share their water. Especially with a cute little koala.

 

 

Homeless man killed riding bike in San Diego’s Mission Valley; same location another homeless man killed in 2015

A homeless man lost his life Tuesday night in what appears to be a tragic case of deja vu.

According to Fox-5 San Diego, the victim, identified only as a homeless man in his 50s, was struck by a car at 6:15 pm Tuesday in San Diego’s Mission Valley.

He was reportedly trying to ride his bike across the 8800 block of Friars Road near Rio Bonita Way when he was hit by the driver of the car, who claimed he could not see the darkly clad rider until it was too late.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports he suffered a number of open fractures, and died after being transported to a hospital.

A street view shows a busy six lane roadway, with bike lanes of widely varying widths.

Police reported he was crossing Friars Road “outside of a crosswalk.” However, there doesn’t appear to be a crosswalk, or any other safe crossings, anywhere in the vicinity.

This comes a little over two years after another homeless man, 65-year old Matthew Driggers, was killed walking his bike across Friars in almost exactly the same location.

Which suggests that something has to be done to provide a safe way to cross a badly designed and inherently dangerous street.

And more has to be done to protect the most vulnerable and invisible members of society.

This is the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and first in San Diego.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

Redlands bike rider dies two days after crash in Highlands

News broke Monday night that a bike rider had suffered life threatening injuries in a Highland crash on Saturday.

Sadly, he didn’t make it.

The San Bernardino Sun reports the victim was struck by a pickup on Palm Avenue south of Third Street around 7:30 pm Saturday; he passed away from his injuries Monday afternoon.

The San Bernardino County coroner identified him as 34-year old Redlands resident Brandon Mayberry.

According to the coroner, the crash occurred as Mayberry was riding north on Palm, and was rear-ended by the driver of the truck.

The driver reportedly stayed at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

A street view shows two lanes in each direction on Palm with a center turn lane, and what appears to be bike lanes on either side.

Anyone with information about the crash is urged to contact Highland Police Department Deputy Kyle Glozer at 909/425-9793.

This is the 4th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy for Brandon Mayberry and all his loved ones.

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