More HGV safety features & possible rush-hour ban for some lorries in London after councils agree to launch consultation

London Councils wants to amend rules restricting movement of lorries at night to improve cycle safety

by Simon_MacMichael   December 12, 2013  

Cement lorry in London © Simon MacMichael.jpg

Operators of some heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) being driven in London may be required to put in place safety equipment including side guards and additional mirrors, as well as having restrictions placed on their movement in morning rush hour, in a bid to improve cycle safety. The news follows representatives of councils across the capital today agreeing to launch a public consultation regarding proposed changes to the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS).

Lorries account for 4 per cent of London’s traffic, but between 2008 and 2012 were involved in 53 per cent of the deaths of cyclists in the capital. So far this year, 14 cyclists have lost their lives in the capital, and HGVs have been involved in nine of those fatalities.

Under current European and UK law, most lorries need to have side guards and close proximity mirrors fitted but some types of vehicles are exempt such as cement mixers, some other construction vehicles, waste vehicles and tipper trucks – the latter have been responsible for a number of fatalities of bike riders in recent years.

Following today’s meeting of the Transport and Environment Committee of London Councils, many of those vehicles being operated in the city could now be required to be fitted with side guards and additional mirrors.

Chaired by Islington council leader Catherine West, the committee has one member representing each of the capital’s 32 boroughs plus the City of London.

It is responsible for the LLCS, under which movement of lorries over 18 tonnes is restricted to an “excluded route network” between 2100 and 0700 during the week and between 1300 on Saturdays and 0700 on Mondays, unless they have a permit to use other roads at that time.

Currently, permits are issued for some 56,000 lorries, and the Transport and Environment Committee believes that if additional safety equipment become a requirement of such permits being issued, that would lead to a significant proportion of lorries being fitted with those features.

Chaired by Islington council leader Catherine West, the committee has one member representing each of the capital’s 32 boroughs plus the City of London, and today’s meeting also agreed to give thought to amending the conditions of those permits “to restrict the number of lorries allowed to drive in London during the morning rush hour.”

After today’s meeting, Councillor West said: “The tragic number of cyclist fatalities in London in recent weeks has heightened concerns about cycle safety, particularly the risk of collisions with lorries.

“There is no valid reason for lorries driving in London not to have basic safety equipment fitted including side guards and extra mirrors. Although the London Lorry Control Scheme only operates overnight and at weekends, the benefits of using it to implement cycling safety measures would be far greater as the lorries are used at other times too – very few such vehicles operate only during the day time in the week.

“It is important to reduce the risks to cyclists to encourage Londoners to make more journeys by bike.”

Earlier this week, Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Sir Peter Hendy and Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that construction companies involved in projects for TfL might have be required to buy new lorries affording greater visibility to make conditions safer for bike riders sharing the road with them.

Mr Johnson said: “The role of lorries in cycle accidents is well known now - roughly half of all fatalities involve HGVs, though they are only four per cent of the traffic."

A report on the website of the Transport Research Laboratory added that builders Laing O’Rourke had demonstrated a new lorry which has a cab at a lower level and larger windows, improving drivers’ visibility.

Last year, the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) released a video of what it termed a ‘Safer Urban Lorry’ with a number of features aimed at improving the safety of cyclists.

At the time, LCC’s haulage expert and former lorry driver Charlie Lloyd, said: “Our Safer Urban Lorry design is a challenge to the construction industry to use vehicles that help reduce the terrible number of people on bikes and on foot who are killed by lorries.

“The restricted view from the cab of many of today’s construction lorries means the driver often has little or no idea who or what is in their immediate vicinity, which is totally unacceptable.”

As has been noted by road.cc site user and transport expert AV Lowe in a comment to a story we published last weekend, one thing prompting the use for lorries with low driving positions in the refuse sector, for example, isn’t the safety of cyclists, but issues related to the health and safety of the operator's own employees.

He wrote:

You might notice that refuse trucks have low driving positions – you can look in the window and actually see the driver – full torso, and they can look back at you – no mirrors , just a full view direct vision. So why (for most councils - but not Glasgow my local one) do they pay 15-20% more for the truck with the special low cab? Not for cyclist safety, but to avoid the injury claims from the crews who slip and fall climbing up the steps into a high cab.

Now when asked about their experience of driver injury on tipper trucks, the indication comes back that drivers, slip & fall climbing up into the high cabs, as one of the main causes of driver injury. So it would seem that delivery of an employer's duty of care both to employees, and to the public (Section 3 offences), could be achieved through spending a bit more on the truck to have a low position cab. So what is stopping this move? (aside from most of the main truck suppliers not at present building vehicles like this – and making the excuse that there is not the demand for them).

24 user comments

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NOOOOOOO, I mostly cycle at night and I don't want more HGVs.
Spreading the problem around isn't solving the problem it's just err, spreading it!

posted by belgravedave [162 posts]
12th December 2013 - 20:46

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I hope there's as much action as words!

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

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posted by sm [332 posts]
12th December 2013 - 23:03

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I cycle mainly outside rush-hour times too, but I would rather have lorries to contend with than sending them out for the school run and rush-hour. There are fewer cyclists on the road (even though I'm one of them) so a greater number of people will be safer.

posted by teaboy [147 posts]
13th December 2013 - 0:12

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Re the last 14 deaths in London, does anybody know what times of day they occurred?

posted by belgravedave [162 posts]
13th December 2013 - 0:59

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I noted AV Rowe's comments in the story you published last weekend, comments that you republish today. If you look back at the original article, I responded to AV Rowe's comments with a counter argument against a lower cab, which actually got more "votes" than AV Rowe's comments. So, for the sake of balance, perhaps I can repeat my argument:

"@ A V Lowe - lower cabs may be fine on refuse vehicles but, as an artic driver, the higher the cab the better, as far as I'm concerned.

If I can see over the tops of cars that swerve into my braking zone, I have more chance of stopping.
If some chav in a Corsa overcooks it and slams into my cab, I get to stay alive.
With COPD affecting many lorry drivers, and rapidly becoming the third biggest killer in the UK, I don't want a face full of diesel particulates thank you very much.
With hijacking and robberies from truckers becoming ever more common, the extra height gives me the edge over an assailant.
And finally, and cyclists should hear what I'm saying, the higher the cab the less mirror dazzle I get from roadies using "off road" lights with circular beam patterns.

But apart from anything, being high up means that I can not only see the first cyclist squeezing up the inside, but all the others doing it too, so I have a much clearer situational awareness of all, sometimes numerous people around my lorry, and my view extends (crucially) to the back wheels of my trailer".

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
13th December 2013 - 2:52

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I don't want to labour the point on every discussion that brings up the thorny issue of lorry bans, but here's a quick reminder of just some of the stuff I've been banging on about; not because I'm a lorry driver, but simply because we must all think about these things.

Pensioners and other vulnerable groups, such as parents with pre-school children, tend to cycle immediately after the morning rush, not during it.
The "school run" would coincide with the "rush" to get out of town before the early evening rush hour begins.
The "rushing" of trucks would raise pollution levels, in a city where 4,000 people die of pollution related diseases each year.
The RTA gave evidence to the recent select committee that a peak time ban would increase transport costs into London by 30 percent, adversely affecting vulnerable groups.
More complex shift patterns increase driver fatigue.
And, crucially, you'd have drivers watching the clock, and taking risks to avoid breaching the restrictions.

The pros and cons of a peak hours lorry ban must be considered very carefully.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
13th December 2013 - 5:25

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There is a lot of technology available to haulage companies to alert truck drivers that there is a cyclist, motorcyclist or pedestrian within the proxinity of the vehicle. These aren't so expensive compared to the cost of a truck and don't add a great deal top the purchase price. I know various systems are available for £1000-2000. These do work as well. And for a fleet user, they also can help reduce insurance premiums so they actually help pay for themselves anyway.

Why these aren't made mandatory is something I don't understand. I suppose the legislators are not keeping up with the technology available.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2109 posts]
13th December 2013 - 9:56

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Quote:
Re the last 14 deaths in London, does anybody know what times of day they occurred?

Someone appears to have done some work on this... (not me)
http://cottenhamcyclist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/londons-cycling-fatalitie...

posted by ribena [131 posts]
13th December 2013 - 10:32

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OldRidgeback wrote:
There is a lot of technology available to haulage companies to alert truck drivers that there is a cyclist, motorcyclist or pedestrian within the proxinity of the vehicle. These aren't so expensive compared to the cost of a truck and don't add a great deal top the purchase price. I know various systems are available for £1000-2000. These do work as well. And for a fleet user, they also can help reduce insurance premiums so they actually help pay for themselves anyway.

I personally would be wary of any technological solution. Simply because of complacency, and the last thing we need is anymore complacency from either drivers or cyclists.

You can have HGVs and cyclists in the same environment, but it needs both parties to be aware of their surroundings, and I mean fully aware, not just assuming that because some buzzer hasn't gone off it is safe.

There are plenty of other things that need looking at though, why do we have railings on the side of roads and at junctions, just waiting to crush a cyclist who gets caught on the inside of a car/truck? Do we need so many signs to distract drivers? Are roundabouts the best solution? maybe it makes more sense to look at give way/stop junctions rather than trying to keep the traffic flowing.

Segregation may have a part, It has to be done right and done well!!!!!, though I am concerned that it gives the PCSOs another opportunity to stop and harass cyclists who choose not to use a rubbish strewn "cycle path"!

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posted by mrmo [1006 posts]
13th December 2013 - 10:59

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Neil753 wrote:
I don't want to labour the point on every discussion that brings up the thorny issue of lorry bans, but here's a quick reminder of just some of the stuff I've been banging on about; not because I'm a lorry driver, but simply because we must all think about these things.

Pensioners and other vulnerable groups, such as parents with pre-school children, tend to cycle immediately after the morning rush, not during it.
The "school run" would coincide with the "rush" to get out of town before the early evening rush hour begins.
The "rushing" of trucks would raise pollution levels, in a city where 4,000 people die of pollution related diseases each year.
The RTA gave evidence to the recent select committee that a peak time ban would increase transport costs into London by 30 percent, adversely affecting vulnerable groups.
More complex shift patterns increase driver fatigue.
And, crucially, you'd have drivers watching the clock, and taking risks to avoid breaching the restrictions.

The pros and cons of a peak hours lorry ban must be considered very carefully.

This "rushing" of trucks you speak of would occur currently anyway because of the overnight noise ban but just at a different time, like morning rush hour for instance so the pollution levels are there already.

More complex shift patterns increase driver fatigue? It would appear that drivers dont seem to adhere to the laws currently governing the time limits they can drive as it is, with the evidence from the recent stops around town.

"The RTA gave evidence to the recent select committee...."

That sentence just makes me laugh. The RTA has such a skewered perspective on things that its like asking a crackhead for their opinion on whether pharmacies should have door locks.

Sounds like you want your cake and eat it really.

posted by zanf [418 posts]
13th December 2013 - 12:27

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zanf wrote:

More complex shift patterns increase driver fatigue? It would appear that drivers dont seem to adhere to the laws currently governing the time limits they can drive as it is, with the evidence from the recent stops around town.

Maybe the answer is to look at who actually employs the drivers....

Maybe if they weren't self employed owner drivers and the "employer" wasn't able to wash their hands of the drivers it would be a start.

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posted by mrmo [1006 posts]
13th December 2013 - 12:46

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Neil753 wrote:
I don't want to labour the point on every discussion that brings up the thorny issue of lorry bans, but here's a quick reminder of just some of the stuff I've been banging on about

It was heard the first time but your arguments are weak and one sided. Of course implementation will need to thought through and it may well mean there's additional costs that's not an excuse to do nothing or attempt to transfer responsibility.

posted by IanW1968 [131 posts]
13th December 2013 - 13:32

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mrmo wrote:
zanf wrote:

More complex shift patterns increase driver fatigue? It would appear that drivers dont seem to adhere to the laws currently governing the time limits they can drive as it is, with the evidence from the recent stops around town.

Maybe the answer is to look at who actually employs the drivers....

Maybe if they weren't self employed owner drivers and the "employer" wasn't able to wash their hands of the drivers it would be a start.

You'll have no argument there from me about how drivers are employed and the effect that has on their driving.

posted by zanf [418 posts]
13th December 2013 - 13:54

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“There is no valid reason for lorries driving in London not to have basic safety equipment fitted including side guards and extra mirrors."

Wrong, it should say

“There is no valid reason for lorries driving anywhere in the UK not to have basic safety equipment fitted including side guards and extra mirrors."

Education and mandatory vehicle safety rather than restrictions on hours they can drive. Cyclists need to behave in order to get drivers on side. Drivers need to be better educated on cycling awareness, we aren't going away and are in fact doing them all a favour by getting a car off the road

posted by Simmo72 [263 posts]
13th December 2013 - 14:02

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Neil753 wrote:
But apart from anything, being high up means that I can not only see the first cyclist squeezing up the inside, but all the others doing it too, so I have a much clearer situational awareness of all, sometimes numerous people around my lorry, and my view extends (crucially) to the back wheels of my trailer".

But the usual complaint from lorry drivers is that they CAN'T see the cyclist squeezing up the inside. So being high up means you can see, but it means you have huge blind spots. Which is it?
Doesn't make going up the inside of a lorry any more sensible though. But I've only ever seen/experienced near misses where a lorry has pulled across onto a cyclist they were overtaking.

There's a rather huge apparent loophole in H&S law that is alluded to in another comment - owner-operators. However, H&S law is actually quite clear that the company employing owner-operators still has a duty of care.

posted by Guanajuato [14 posts]
13th December 2013 - 14:30

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Thanks for posting this up.

posted by belgravedave [162 posts]
13th December 2013 - 15:15

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Neil753 wrote:

If some chav in a Corsa overcooks it and slams into my cab, I get to stay alive

Well as long as you're ok. Screw improving road safety for *all* road users.

Quote:
With COPD affecting many lorry drivers, and rapidly becoming the third biggest killer in the UK, I don't want a face full of diesel particulates thank you very much.

Well as long as you're ok. Screw improving air quality for *all* road users.
Quote:

With hijacking and robberies from truckers becoming ever more common, the extra height gives me the edge over an assailant.

Well as long as you're ok. Screw anyone else who might get car-jacked though.

You seem to be suggesting we should all drive around in giant tanks with a filtered air-supply. Just because you have a vehicle that will keep you protected at the expense of others, doesn't mean it's a prefect situation.

Quote:

And finally, and cyclists should hear what I'm saying, the higher the cab the less mirror dazzle I get from roadies using "off road" lights with circular beam patterns.

But apart from anything, being high up means that I can not only see the first cyclist squeezing up the inside, but all the others doing it too, so I have a much clearer situational awareness of all, sometimes numerous people around my lorry, and my view extends (crucially) to the back wheels of my trailer".


But isn't the whole point that you have giant blind spots? Isn't that what events like 'Exchanging Places' are meant to demostrate?

Either lorries have the perfect steering position, and drivers can see bikes but choose to drive over them anyway or there are blind spots in which the bikes can't be seen, surely?

posted by jstreetley [60 posts]
13th December 2013 - 16:32

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This is a total nonsense!!!
They are trying to make us to accept the unacceptable.
I have been living in London for over 10 years although I am originally from Rome in Italy, admittedly not a centre of excellence for traffic regulations and the relative enforcement. In Rome as in other major Italian cities instead of the people on bicycles “annoying” other road users, we have people on mopeds (a lot of them).
I have never seen HGVs circulating in the urban areas in Rome or in any of the other Italian cities I have been living or visiting. HGV in Rome must stop at about 10 km from the city centre. Please note that outside the historical centre (or downtown) which is very small, Rome streets are much wider than the streets in London, also the urban area is much smaller than London. Proportionally 10 km for the centre it is almost to say at the M25 in London.
The case of the impact on the business (deliveries, construction etc…) has never been brought to the table. I am not an expert but I don’t think the HGV are designed to be driven in narrow (relatively to their size) urban streets. And the impact on business can not and should not waive this.
I guess this is all about political will and how the business influences it.
Perhaps a good stating point to sort the problem would be to stop categorizing (cyclist vs motorist) and Stereotyping (cyclist skipping red lights vs motorists talking on the phone). In the end of the day they are all people fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters who are commuting in most case to make a living, some of them wold do stupid things like skipping red lights and talking on the phone while driving but nobody deserves to die or get injured.

posted by Riccardo_M [1 posts]
13th December 2013 - 16:44

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IanW1968 wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
I don't want to labour the point on every discussion that brings up the thorny issue of lorry bans, but here's a quick reminder of just some of the stuff I've been banging on about

It was heard the first time but your arguments are weak and one sided. Of course implementation will need to thought through and it may well mean there's additional costs that's not an excuse to do nothing or attempt to transfer responsibility.


Ian, I can't help noticing your tendancy to dismiss many of my arguments, and I would defend your right to do so, but you can hardly claim my arguments are one sided? Would you prefer it if there were no drivers on this forum? Surely the whole point of any forum is for people to present opposing views and, as a lorry driver, you would expect my opinions to reflect that point of view. Given that lorry drivers are less represented on cycling forums, and we are discussing measures that directly affect lorry drivers, surely you would expect me to have my driver's hat on, at least on this thread, for the sake of clarity. You must have noticed that I often wear my cyclist's hat, often condemning the actions of lorry drivers.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
13th December 2013 - 18:01

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Guanajuato wrote:

But the usual complaint from lorry drivers is that they CAN'T see the cyclist squeezing up the inside. So being high up means you can see, but it means you have huge blind spots. Which is it?
A high position allows me to see all the cyclists coming up the inside. A low position would mean I would only see the first cyclist. The two cab positions produce different blind spots, but there are more deaths as a result of cyclists squeezing up the inside than those as a result of being in the blind spot immediately in front of the vehicle.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
14th December 2013 - 12:24

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Neil753 wrote:
Would you prefer it if there were no drivers on this forum?

There are plenty of drivers on this forum, you are not the only person to have driven a car or truck.

You seem to have sufficient time to post at length on these threads, repeating the same ideas. The basic premise of which is- regulating the use of commercial vehicles in urban areas will increase pollution, cause a traffic frenzy and increase the price of a loaf.

All of which is twaddle and throwing in a few made up numbers doesn't make the arguments any more valid.

The claim to be a cyclist seems more to be a construct presumably in the hope of validating your defence of dangerous commercial vehicle operators.

So offer up opinions, but as the problem, you should not expect to decide the solution.

posted by IanW1968 [131 posts]
15th December 2013 - 0:12

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I'm afraid Neil753, that as another lorry driver and also former operator, I can't agree with a great deal of what you say either.
With a lower cab, except right down by your front bumper, you will completely lose the blindspot immediatley in front of you. Also without using a kerb mirror you will lose the blindspot by your passenger door almost completely and additionally be able to make direct eye contact with anyone so positioned. The blindspot by your tractor unit rear wheel will also be considerably reduced. You can still see the rear wheels of your trailer and anyone coming alongside, along the whole length of your vehicle.

I agree with what you say about a greater feeling of security, especially at night that comes with a high cab, but put it to you that this is percieved rather than actual. If someone wants to hijack you they will have their act together to deal with the situation whatever cab you have. A high cab does also have some advantages concerning a better overview of the traffic situation you are in.

I also tend to agree with the idea of banning HGV's from inner city areas altogether. Lets have loads more cycle delivery vehicles and healthy clean areas free from most motor traffic hazards. Places where people can enjoy moving about without all the noise and pollution.

There are a number of freight movement solutions that have not even been considered, such as using the metro's for freight movment.

HGV's, don't ever forget, are there to serve - not dominate- our lives.

posted by Giles Pargiter [36 posts]
15th December 2013 - 3:25

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IanW1968 wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
Would you prefer it if there were no drivers on this forum?

There are plenty of drivers on this forum, you are not the only person to have driven a car or truck.

You seem to have sufficient time to post at length on these threads, repeating the same ideas. The basic premise of which is- regulating the use of commercial vehicles in urban areas will increase pollution, cause a traffic frenzy and increase the price of a loaf.

All of which is twaddle and throwing in a few made up numbers doesn't make the arguments any more valid.

The claim to be a cyclist seems more to be a construct presumably in the hope of validating your defence of dangerous commercial vehicle operators.

So offer up opinions, but as the problem, you should not expect to decide the solution.

OMG, there you are again! Whenever I post, from an hgv driver's perspective, you pop up, claim I'm talking a load of tosh, criticise the construction of my posts, or the frequency of my posts, or the length of my posts, or even my sentence construction; but without ever offering any constructive counter argument.

Ian, may I suggest that we just accept that we have different opinions, and leave it at that. How about I refrain from reading your responses to my posts, and you just accept the fact that I won't be reading them?

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
15th December 2013 - 5:21

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I can't help but think that the idea of banning lorries at rush hour is, at best, barking up the wrong tree. At worst its a deliberate distraction from the real issue.

What our cities need is a reduction in the number of HGVs operating in them, not a system based on time constraints which simply moves the risk to a different time of day.

I would like to see a system of urban licencing for lorries, with a diminishing number of licences being issued year-on-year to reduce the number of HGVs in urban envirnments and encourage the development or alternatives (water, rail, smaller vehicles, electric vehicles, HPVs).

posted by Matt eaton [260 posts]
16th December 2013 - 11:20

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