Tag Archive for Sebastian Montero

Morning Links: Permanent memorial for young Valley bicyclist, Aussie distracted driving cams, and more NY anti-bike bias

One tragic note before we get started.

I’m told that a man from Altadena has been gravely injured in an apparent solo fall while riding with a friend in the Northern California backcountry.

The victim is currently being treated in a Bay Area hospital for severe neck, spine and brain injuries.

I’m withholding his name and other details for now out of respect for his family and their privacy.

But prayers or best wishes are definitely in order.

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He gets it.

Bike advocates rededicated the ghost bike for 15-year old Sebastian Montero, who was killed by a speeding driver while riding his bike in Woodland Hills on Easter Sunday last year.

The ceremony also saw the installation of the city’s first permanent marker honoring a fallen bicyclist, one of up to 20 per year the city will install with a reminder to drive safely.

Photo from Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s Twitter account

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield struck the right tone, reminding the small audience about the big hole Montero’s death left in the lives of everyone around him.

And that a simple sign wasn’t going to fix anything.

“The signs themselves are wonderful,” said Blumenfield. “[But] they’re not going to solve our problems with people dying on the roads.”

It will take a renewed commitment to Vision Zero by the people elected to serve all of us — not just the people in the big, dangerous machines.

And a willingness on their part to stand up to NIMBYs and angry drivers that has been sorely lacking in the city in recent years.

………

Great idea.

Inspired by the death of his friend James Rapley, the Australian bike rider killed on Temescal Canyon while on a layover at LAX six years ago, an Aussie entrepreneur has developed an automated camera system designed to capture drivers illegally using a handheld cellphone.

The automated cameras from Acusensus are designed to work like red light or speed cameras to provide photographic proof of the driver breaking the law, along with the license of the car.

Presumably, tickets would follow in the mail.

It would likely require a change in the law to use them in California, where red light cameras are allowed at local discretion, but speed cameras are currently prohibited.

However, it should withstand privacy concerns, since there is no legal expectation of privacy for anything that is readily visible in public.

Although the state’s overly entitled drivers would likely rise up to complain, just like too many do over any attempt to hold motorists accountable and keep them from breaking the law.

But there are few things the state could do virtually overnight that would have a greater impact on safety and do more to save lives.

………

No bias here.

The bike-hating New York Post says bike riders are killing pedestrians, and accuses the city of not doing anything to stop it.

Then they go on to explain there were seven pedestrian deaths in the last nine years — something works out to less than one a year, along with another 250 injured each year.

While one death is one too many, the paper doesn’t bother to mention how many bike riders were injured or killed in crashes with pedestrians.

Never mind who was actually at fault in those crashes.

And as anyone who has ever had a pedestrian step out into bike lane without looking, or turn suddenly in front of your bike can tell you, it ain’t necessarily the person on two wheels.

Nor do they bother to put it all in perspective by citing the 100-plus pedestrians killed by motorists each year.

Which only works out to a margin of slightly 100 to one, anyway. Making it pretty damn clear who represents the real danger to people walking.

But who cares about facts if it sells newspapers.

Right?

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Speaking of which, a New York study shows zombie pedtextrians isn’t really a thing after all.

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Go for a Monday mountain bike ride with the great Peter Sagan.

But maybe drop a little dramamine first.

………

Thanks to Sgt. Helper for forwarding video of a bike-riding nun who could probably drop most of us.

Well, me anyway.

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Local

Hats off to LAPD officer Andrew Gonzalez, who rode his bike 300 miles from LA to Stanislaus County to deliver a flag to the family of a fallen Newman police officer who was killed during a traffic stop last year.

Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt are two of us, as they enjoy married life on a mountain bike ride in Los Angeles.

NoHo’s Chandler Bikeway is set to get $1.2 million in improvements. None of which is apparently aimed at improving safety for bike riders.

E-scooters are officially banned in the ‘Bu.

The Daily Breeze recounts the story of deadly Vista Del Mar, including the failed 2017 attempt to install a road diet, which was ripped out when drivers insisted on their God-given right to go zoom zoom even if it keeps killing people.

 

State

A San Diego woman suffered severe head trauma when a driver leaving a parking lot smashed into her bike as she rode on the sidewalk. Yet another example of why riding a bicycle on the sidewalk isn’t as safe as most people think.

After a Murrietta boy was hit by a car while riding his bike, the kindhearted people at Target gave him a new one.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a 56-year old bike rider died after allegedly making an abrupt left turn into the path of a pickup driver.

San Jose police bust ten suspects in a series of burglaries targeting bike shops, as well as construction sites and school districts in the Bay Area.

A San Jose columnist goes for the jugular, arguing that a bike rider killed in a head-on collision on popular Mount Diablo would be alive today if parks officials hadn’t ignored a judge’s 27-year old order to improve the roadway. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

Officials identified the victim in last week’s fatal hit-and-run in East San Jose as a 44-year old San Jose man. Thanks to Ralph Durham and Robert Leone for the heads-up.

Indicating a total misunderstanding of what speed limits are for, a Santa Rosa-area letter writer says drivers should be required to drive the speed limit, and bike riders should get the hell out of the way so they don’t slow down the more important people in cars. Just like drivers, bicyclists are required to pull over when safe to do so if there are five or more vehicles stuck behind them and unable to pass; the law does not apply if there are two or more lanes in each direction, or if the people can safely pass them.

Three new members were named to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis; the trio will be inducted November 2nd.

A Eureka woman was busted for trying to pass a phony $100 bill at a bike shop to buy a bicycle for…wait for it…$5.46. Sound like maybe she was getting a fake bike for her fake money, anyway.

 

National

New rules for the national parks system would allow ebikes on any trails other bicycles are allowed on, providing new access to the wilderness for older or less able-bodied riders.

Buzzfeed says Amazon’s next day delivery is bringing chaos and carnage to America’s streets, while the company avoids responsibility for the harm they’re causing.

New street design guidelines from the American Society for Landscape Architecture show why inclusive cities start with safe streets.

Guarantee your kid wins playtime at the park with his or her very own Harley-Davidson e-balance bike.

Portland police finally busted the bike thief who stole a 69-year old man’s $11,000 bicycle in a strong-arm robbery in July; a friend of the victim had filmed the thief riding it shortly after the theft.

A hit-and-run bike rider rode over the hind leg of an eight-month old Labradoodle puppy on an Idaho greenbelt, snapping it in two, then simply rode off. Which makes him no less of a cowardly a-hole than any heartless hit-and-run driver. Schmuck.

Kansas City MO develops the usual factions in the fight over bike lanes, as advocates argue for improving safety and boosting local businesses, while opponents fear harm to businesses and want to keep their dangerous streets just the way they are.

A Texas man refuses to take no for an answer after doctors told him he’d never ride a bike again when he lost his leg in a horseback riding accident, completing a 168-mile ride on a prosthetic leg he designed and built himself.

An 18-year old girl rode 550 miles on a tandem bike with her father from Chicago to Toronto for her first day of college, while a Flint MI bike shop owner saved the day when they developed a crack in their tandem’s steering tube.

More proof hit-and-run isn’t just a California thing, as Chicago police are looking for the heartless coward who slammed into a mountain bike rider, and left him to die on the side of the road. Thanks to Art S for the tip.

After a legally blind Indiana man’s bike was stolen, a friend spotted it on someone else’s porch and stole it back.

Congratulations to Ohio officials for keeping a dangerous driver on the roads until he killed someone. The alleged drunk driver who killed a bicyclist on Saturday had been charged with driving while impaired seven years ago, but prosecutors pled it down to a single count of reckless driving with a small fine; the victim was chief counsel to a former Ohio governor. Which means his blood is on their hands.

A driveway vigilante is under arrest after a New York driver took the law into his own hands, deliberately slamming his SUV into the screwdriver-toting bike rider he suspected of breaking into his vehicle, and killing him.

New York’s former parks commissioner says bike and pedestrian traffic in Central Park has become so chaotic and dangerous due to its growing popularity and lack of pedestrian and cycling safety infrastructure that he won’t ride his bike there anymore.

An op-ed in the New York Daily News says sure, bikes are all fine and good, but the city’s Belmont neighborhood needs its parking. Unlike, say, every other neighborhood that says the same thing, until they find out they’re actually better off with more bikes and fewer cars.

Need a haircut? A bike-riding New York barber says he’ll go anywhere to cut hair, traveling from Machu Picchu to Tokyo.

Now that’s more like it. A Philadelphia man is suing a delivery company for repeatedly blocking a bike lane, as well as the city’s parking authority for failing to enforce it.

A Delaware man who is “hardly a bike-phobe” says they’ve already had several bike riders killed in the area, and its totally the fault of those careless, lawbreaking vacationers on bicycles.

An op-ed in the Washington Post says we can have an enormous impact on improving our cities by making it easier to ride a bike and harder to drive a car.

Life is cheap in Virginia, where a woman walks without a single day behind bars despite a conviction for reckless driving in the death of a man riding his bicycle.

A new Clemson University study confirms that daytime taillights can significantly improve your safety. Speaking strictly for myself, I’ve had far fewer close calls since I’ve started riding with multiple taillights and an ultrabright headlight during the day. As much as it really pisses me off to have to do it. 

 

International

London is changing building design rules for skyscrapers to reduce the wind tunnel effect for bicyclists.

A British writer calls for taming the automotive hegemony on our streets by banning all car advertising.

Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden is one of us, too, going for a casual ride with her two daughters.

A new study shows cargo bikes are more efficient than delivery vans in urban areas, so the UK government put its money on…flying taxis.

It’s a long, long way to Tipperary, and an Irish columnist just wishes you’d show a little respect and use your bike bell on the way there.

Yet another study confirms the safety in numbers effect, as a new Belgian study shows motorists will adjust how they drive in relation to the number of bicyclists on the street.

South African police ended a nearly two-year reign of terror when they arrested a Zimbabwean man for murdering a bike rider and a hiker in a national park, as well as eight other nonfatal stabbings and muggings.

A New Zealand charity refurbishes bicycles to give to refugees, and teaches the recipients how to ride them, giving them new hope in the process.

An Aussie op-ed says just painting bike lanes on a street and assuming bicyclists will be safe and motivated to use them is delusional, and does nothing to encourage more people to give bike riding a try.

The Philippines considers a bill that would require elected officials to use public transport. We need something like that here, like requiring officials — elected and otherwise — to walk, bike or use transit at least once a week.

 

Competitive Cycling

A “crazy week” ends at the Vuelta with yet another leader change.

Cyclist looks at the winners and losers in the Vuelta’s first week, while Cycling Weekly confines itself to five talking points from stage 9.

One of those losers was Tejay van Garderen, who was forced to drop out with a broken finger following a crash on Thursday.

Rouleur considers how tiny Slovenia rose to the top of the cycling world.

A Mexican cyclist got a two-year ban after getting busted for doping. But the doping era is completely and totally over, right?

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a bicyclist competing in a Russian bike race loses control and veers off the course, but grabs a little girl to protect her as he falls.

Finally…

Yes, a bike lane can save your life the next time you inhale a wasp while riding. If you’re going to take your loaded shotgun into Home Depot, at least get off your bike first.

And don’t toss trash out the window of your chrome-covered Lambo.

Especially if there’s a bicyclist around.

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One final note. 

This is exactly how I feel when I post most mornings. Now if I could only figure out how to include a decent bottle of booze as a downloadable attachment.

Morning Links: The online war on bikes goes on, fallen rider’s bike recovered, and spotting the good guys in the TdF

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

Especially online

A British Columbia sports editor gets it, having the misfortune to moderate the online battle on Facebook and Twitter.

In most instances, though, “traffic” is not caused by bicycles. When I’m stuck in traffic, there’s nothing I want more than to be on a bicycle. That’s one of the reasons I find the hysterical rhetoric of the bike debate so strange. Cyclists, for the most part, are just trying to get around quickly, efficiently, cheaply and healthily. They aren’t the problem…

Sure, bikes can be infuriating but you just have to let it go if you’re in a car. The power difference is too great. Yes, bikers do stupid things, but so do drivers. And when it goes wrong between them, cyclists always lose.

Meanwhile, a Sonoma County columnist wonders why there’s so much misplaced hatred at bicyclists any time a bike story appears online. Or in real life, for that matter.

And yes, your car is 4,000 pounds and my bike is 20 pounds. But because something is bigger, stronger and faster does not give a driver of a vehicle ownership or priority on a public road. Might does not make right. It makes a bully.

Not every driver is a jerk. Not every cyclist is an angel. But let’s not lose sight of our individual humanity, however we choose to get around this beautiful county we call home.

And a Philadelphia-area paper says bicycles — and bike lanes — benefit everyone.

Biking may not be for everyone, but the health benefits to children, environmental benefits to leaving the car at home, and the economic benefit that gives those in poverty a way to get to work are reasons enough.

Share the road. We’ll all be better for it.

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One bit of good news in a very hot LA weekend, as KTLA-5 reports the bicycle belonging to falling bike rider Sebastian Montero has been recovered, five months after it was stolen.

Montero was riding a friend’s borrowed bike this past Easter Sunday when he was killed by an alleged speeding driver at Burbank and De Soto.

His own bike had been stolen two months earlier, and his mother had begged for its return to remember him.

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Sometimes it’s not hard to spot the good guys.

American Lawson Craddock went down with a bloodied eye and a broken scapula in Stage 1 of the Tour de France. And not only finished the stage, but challenged himself to finish the race.

And Compton’s own Rahsaan Bahati offered to match the amount.

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Local

LA has posted information about proposals to close the absurd Northvale Gap in the Expo bike path. Which exists only because NIMBY homeowners in the area successfully fought construction of the bike path when the Expo Line was built, after failing to halt construction of the train line itself.

The LA Times‘ Robin Abcarian decides that e-scooters are fun, but too damn dangerous after falling off one when she collided with a bike rider on the Venice bike path, and patched up another woman who skinned her knees. Both of which could have happened if they were on roller skates instead of scooters.

A Los Angeles writer says the car still reigns supreme in Southern California, where “Much of the region’s built environment is designed to accommodate the presence of private vehicles and to punish their absence.”

Pomona plans to build a Class I shared use trail along San Jose Creek; the 14-foot bikeway would provide safe access to Cal Poly Pomona, as well as four schools and a similar number of parks.

 

State

San Diego plans to install hundreds of bike racks throughout the city.

The fight over bikeshare in Santa Cruz is nearly settled, as the docked Jump ebikes are becoming ubiquitous in town, despite the objections of some residents.

 

National

Streetsblog says no, drunk walking isn’t behind the rise in pedestrian deaths, despite last week’s incredibly misguided and one-sided PBS report.

Bicycling offers eleven great bike paths to add to your bike bucket list, two of which are in California. And one of which — Colorado’s Trail Ridge Road — my brother just rode last month on his bike tour of the state.

Denver Streetsblog profiles former Boston bike advocate and bicycle rabble rouser Jonathan Fertig, who recently moved to the city.

A Dallas publication points out that some people actually make a living off all those dockless bikes and scooters. Not to mention the invaluable data being generated by them.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A five-year old Michigan boy was killed when he was struck by a food delivery driver while on his first ride without training wheels.

The FBI has gotten involved in the hit-and-run death of a Michigan woman as she rode her bike home from hearing her husband’s band perform in 2013; the bureau is offering a $25,000 reward, to go along with a $50,000 reward offered by a private group. It would be interesting to know the basis for the FBI’s involvement, since hit-and-run, fatal or otherwise, is a state crime.

No surprise here, as the bicyclist who was run down by a drunk hit-and-run driver on Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Parkway — allegedly intentionally — has filed suit for nearly $2.5 million. Driver Marshall Grant Neely will remain in rehab until he’s sentenced after violating his probation by getting drunk every day.

Now that’s more like it. A Connecticut car dealer will give you a loaner when you have your vehicle serviced. But it will have two less wheels than the one you brought in.

A New York website looks at the city’s fight over ebikes through the eyes of two bike riders on opposite sides of the issue.

The Vision Zero Network looks at the efforts to end traffic fatalities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

 

International

The CBC offers advice on how to avoid a right hook. Moving left and taking the right lane just before an intersection greatly reduces the risk, but some idiots may still try to go around; I’ve been right-hooked by drivers turning from the left lane.

A new European study shows bicycling is great for reducing obesity — unless you ride an ebike. Of course, the question is whether the study was based on ped-assist bikes, which still require the rider to pedal, or throttle-controlled bikes, which don’t.

A London man develops a friendship with the bike-riding woman who comforted him after he was struck by a truck driver as part of last year’s terrorist attack on the Westminster Bridge.

Vice infiltrates a London ride out to see what it’s like to pop wheelies in traffic with hundreds of mostly teenage riders.

Caught on video: A pair of Irish bicyclists get left hooked — the equivalent of our right hook — by a cab driver while riding in a narrow bike lane; remarkably, both men were unhurt.

A Change.org petition calls on Google and Apple to do more to fight cellphone addiction after an Australian man is left a paraplegic by a crash with a distracted driver while riding his bike.

The former Thai Navy SEAL who died during the attempt to rescue a teen soccer team trapped in an underground cave was one of us; 38-year old Samarn Kunan’s Instagram account reportedly contained several pictures of him mountain biking

 

Competitive Cycling

An Irish writer mourns the death of anti-doping after four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is exonerated in his asthma inhaler doping case. Froome was soundly booed by spectators at the start of the Tour’s second stage.

Speaking of Froome, he started the Tour by riding off the road and losing 51 seconds. Which inspired a look back at the unwritten rules of crashing in the race.

Cycling Tips recaps stage 1, while Peter Sagan had to take of his rainbow jersey and slip into yellow after stage 2.

A writer for Outside says yes, there are cheaters in pro cycling, but we should watch it anyway to support the ones who don’t. The problem with that is we have no way of knowing who they are. Or aren’t.

Ten books to feed your Tour de France fever when you’re done watching the day’s stage.

Lest we forget, there’s another top-level WorldTour stage race going on, with the women’s Giro Rosa.

Phil Gaimon has posted video of his grudge match victory over Fabian Cancellara.

Very sad news from Kansas, where 64-year old John Egbers died three weeks after he was hit by a car while competing in the 4,300-mile Trans Am Bike Race. A second rider struck in a separate collision remains hospitalized.

 

Finally…

Riders in the Tour de France hardly ever get attacked by elephants. Maybe you should put your helmet over your kidneys if you ride indoors.

And your next Pashley could be a Morgan.

Just in case anyone gets me on their secret Santa list this year.

 

Morning Links: Montero ghost bike ceremony, and Nashville declares transportation independence

Maybe Los Angeles is finally getting fed up with traffic deaths.

Steve S reports at least 100 people turned out last night for the ghost bike installation honoring 15-year old Sebastian Montero, who was killed by an alleged speeding driver in Woodland Hills yesterday.

Montero’s bike was installed on De Soto Ave and Burbank Blvd, across from the entrance to the Kaiser medical center.

Let’s hope the turnout leads to demands for safer streets, so some good can come from this heartbreaking tragedy.

And maybe we won’t have to install another one.

Meanwhile, the GoFundMe account to raise funds for Montero’s funeral expenses has exceeded the original $8,000 goal, and is closing in on the new goal of raising $10,000.

All photos by Steve S.

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Nashville TN has become the first city in the US to declare transportation independence.

Somehow, I can’t imagine today’s LA leadership having the courage to adopt this over the objections of the city’s entitled drivers.

Even though they should.

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Local

CiclaValley shares his photos of Saturday’s San Fernando Street Festival.

You have an hour and a half today to ride, walk, scoot or skate the course of the Long Beach Gran Prix in what amounts to a mini-ciclovía. Although it would be nice if they gave people a little more time to come out and enjoy it.

State

The San Diego Union-Tribuneprofiles a former software engineer who quit his job, gave up his car and now works part-time for the San Diego County Bike Coalition.

National

Scottsdale AZ is providing a pair of free bike tours to view public art in the city.

Life is cheap in Kansas, where a drunk driver gets just three and a half years for falling asleep behind the wheel and running down a bike rider before fleeing the scene, leaving the victim on the brink of death for weeks.

An Ohio man is riding up the east coast from Key West to Maine in search of positive people and good vibes.

No bias here. If a Boston truck driver couldn’t even see a bike rider due to the truck’s massive blindspot, why the hell does it matter if the victim didn’t signal? And why the hell are trucks that blind their drivers to human beings in the roadway even allowed on city streets?

New Yorker and former Talking Head David Byrne says riding a bike used to be considered completely uncool, but now bikes are cool in different ways.

Bicycling looks at the New York bicyclist who developed an algorithm to measure how often bike lanes are blocked by motor vehicles. Spoiler alert: 40% of the time, round the clock.

Streetsblog complains about insane overcrowding on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, saying the it could be relieved overnight by repurposing a traffic lane for bike use.

The New York Times says city planners are getting distracted by the bright, shiny objects that are self-driving cars, rather than focusing on proven safety measures.

A Baton Rouge LA advocacy group is close to getting eleven parishes — the Louisiana equivalent of counties — to sign off on a 300-mile US bike route from Texas to Mississippi.

International

Canadian bicyclists oppose a proposed law that would dramatically increase fines for law-breaking bike riders.

A Canadian writer says bicycling can transform your health.

A bike club in London — no, the one in Canada — says don’t waste money bringing bikeshare to the city when it could be spent on safer streets to encourage more people to ride.

An Aussie writer says he hopes California’s ebike regulations will migrate Down Under.

A Dutchman living in Australia explains why he doesn’t support the country’s mandatory bike helmet law, even though he credits his with saving his life.

Time says China’s bike fever has reached the saturation point. Although what they really mean is dockless bikeshare, not bicycling.

Finally…

You may have been illegally overcharged for your silicone gel wristband. Ebike racing is a sign of the apocalypse.

And now you can own your very own slightly used time trial bike for just $25,000.

Credit Peter Flax with finding that one.

Update: Teenage bike rider killed by alleged speeding driver in San Fernando Valley Easter Sunday

Tragic news, from what should have been a joyous day.

Word broke this morning that a 15-year old bike rider was killed in a collision in the San Fernando Valley on Easter Sunday.

A GoFundMe page to raise funds for funeral expenses reports that Reseda High School student Sebastian Montero was struck head-on by a speeding driver at the intersection of De Soto and Burbank.

No time of the crash, or any other information is available at this time.

There are two intersections for De Soto and Burbank, as the street jumps a block north before continuing; no word yet on exactly which one the crash occurred on. However, there appears to be bike lanes on either side of De Soto.

Hopefully we’ll have more information soon.

This is the 13th bicycling fatality I’m aware of in Southern California, and the sixth in Los Angeles County. It’s also the fifth in the City of Los Angeles.

A ghost bike will be installed at 9 pm tonight.

Update: According to a source with the LAPD, the crash took place at the south intersection, directly in front of Kaiser Medical Center, as Montero was crossing De Soto headed east, where the crosswalk would be if one was painted. 

The driver reportedly shifted to the right lane, and accelerated through the intersection as soon as the light changed, catching Montero before he could get across the street.

No information yet on who may be at fault or any possible charges. 

Update 2: The Los Angeles Daily News says the crash occurred around 11:40 am Sunday. He died about an hour later after being taken to a local hospital.

Police are investigating the timing of the traffic light, as well as the speed of the driver. 

Montero was riding with a friend, who was unharmed. 

Photos from GoFundMe page

Photo by Steve

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sebastian Montero and all his family and friends.

Thanks to Steve and Zachary Rynew for the heads-up.

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