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Cyclists: Show some freakin' courtesy!

A few jerk cyclists are giving the rest of Portland's cyclists a bad name.
I walked out of a Hawthorne bakery this morning and was almost run over - not by an evil car, truck or SUV, but by some idiot punk cyclist who was riding his bike full speed on the sidewalk. Did you catch that last part of the sentence? I said he was riding ON THE SIDEWALK! I almost clotheslined him. We did actually bump into each other, but he didn't fall off. I screamed at him to get off the sidewalk; he just kept on pedaling full speed.

This is not an isolated incident, people. I have lost count of all the cyclists I've seen who have blown through traffic lights, turned directly in front of oncoming cars, rode at night without lights,...and oh yes, rode on busy sidewalks.

Show a little courtesy. Show some common sense and safety before you do get clotheslined - or worse.
Courtesy is Always Welcome 09.Mar.2004 19:55

Wallowed

But I don't get your point about riding on the sidewalk. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is legal in most places. Intentionally clotheslining someone, however, is not legal in most places, nor is it courtious.

Side WALK 09.Mar.2004 20:14

bike commuter

Actually in most cases it is not usually legal to ride on a side walk and when it is cyclists must yield to pedestrians.

Guess that's why it's called a sideWALK not a sideRide. hehehe

all relative 09.Mar.2004 20:15

Dr.

yes to some extent
bikes should be aware of potential harm to others.
riding on the sidewalk is legal exept for the downtown core.
care should be taken on all side walks, by all users!
JUST BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROWNDINGS AT ALL TIMES.
GET OFF YOUR CELL PHONES, TURN OFF YOUR SHOPPING BLINDERS, AND LOOK AROUND, EVERYONE.
ACKNOLAGE PASSERS BY, AND MAKE EYE CONTACT.
bad habits of bad drivers sometimes get pased on to the bikers that hate them.
this can stop if we think about it enough.

Wallowed 09.Mar.2004 20:16

jlii

I think what Hawthorne pedestrian is saying is don't spend down the sidewalk with a bike. This can not be that hard to understand, especially by a mass that does not like SUV driving them down. But I may be wrong bikes may be more important than people, except for the people on bikes.

Clarifications 09.Mar.2004 20:21

Hawthorne pedestrian

When I said I almost clotheslined him, that's because my arms were flailing around trying to avoid a collision. In other words, I wasn't trying to clothesline him. He was lucky there wasn't a full collision. As far as riding on the sidewalk, do you know how busy the sidewalks are on Hawthorne? And I repeat: This guy was riding at full speed. Very dangerous.

What Are You Talking About, jill? 09.Mar.2004 20:37

Rolling

"bikes may be more important than people"

need for speed? 09.Mar.2004 20:42

worship me

The need for speed and the arrogant behavior associated with it are worshipped in this culture, the car culture, the meth culture, the espresso culture. I've been in near-accidents with other cyclists because they behaved like speed-crazed morons-26th and Clinton is famous for this. It's the same thing I see happening out in Washington county with SUV drivers only on a smaller scale. It all sucks and it ain't necessarily the vehicle.

hey hawthorne pedestrian 09.Mar.2004 20:47

anon

what time did this occur today?
what was the cyclist wearing?

Rolling 09.Mar.2004 20:52

jlii

On this site bikes may be more important then people. People have to stop at red lights bikes don't, cops don't sometimes too. Even cars are required to stay in lanes and change lanes only when safe and by indicating, bikes don't have to I know I drive in Portland. I don't do this on my bike so may be you can explain it to me. Why do some riders ride 'on' the white line??

jill 09.Mar.2004 21:00

Rolling

I am not sure which white line you are referring to, but if you are talking about the "bike lane" lines, I don't ride on them, but quite close to them so I don't get doored. I usually ride pretty fast, so I think that even folks that bother to look might not see me coming. I can't speak for others, but does that answer your question?

Hey anon 09.Mar.2004 21:17

Hawthorne pedestrian

This took place right before noon. And I don't know what the guy was wearing. He was gone in a flash.

Guns don't kill people 09.Mar.2004 21:45

-

People kill people.

And an asshole on bike is not different than an asshole in a car. An asshole pedestrian doesn't get to will life or death over anyone, unlike the motorist or cyclist. He just has to watch out for his own.

Judging by the several near accidents I've seen in the past few days (mostly due to cars not stopping at a red light), there will be several more deaths this year.

thanks Mr. NRA 09.Mar.2004 22:01

cyclist

People kill people with guns and with cars, but not with bikes. Therfore an asshole on a bike is different from an asshole in a car. Assholes in cars kill over 40,000 people every year. Assholes on bikes do not.

What we see is the trickle down of anti-cyclist rhetoric that's been spewed over the past few months. Talk radio especially has been telling drivers that they own the road, and as a result, bikers may be avoiding the road to keep from getting killed.

The solution is simple, if pedestrians want safe sidewalks, and cyclists want safe streets they should form a coalition to counter the anti-cyclist rhetoric and work on the real problem, which is all the damn cars on the roads, especially those who enjoy driving in ways that endanger others.

Are people up for that, or is this whole post just to piss people off? Shall we deal with the problems or just the symptoms? Shall we work toward safe streets and sidewalks for everyone, or just demand that one group "show some courtesy".

Rolling 09.Mar.2004 23:11

jlii

Yes good answer. I think we all need bikes to be respected more. Meaning real bike lanes. As a driver in the city I have no problem with one whole car lane being used for bikes. Cities are for people not only for business, people come first and bikes make great sense for many reasons. Unfortunity some cyclist are very hostel in traffic. If we had a police force that would enforce laws to defend bikes things would pick-up fast. As to the sidewalk issue bikes like joggers or runners need to watchout and not push through. If you have to go fast go elsewhere, this too is part of the cities are for people, all machines can wait.

the laws that keep them up 10.Mar.2004 00:19

Fleeta

keep us down!!!!! I don't legitimize this capitalist, racist, imperialist, white male war mongering, decadent(despite the stench of our rotting earth), institution that YOU call amerika. Dig it, my pedestrian brother sez
"This is not an isolated incident, people. I have lost count of all the cyclists I've seen who have blown through traffic lights, turned directly in front of oncoming cars, rode at night without lights,...and oh yes, rode on busy sidewalks." First my friend let me say that most pedestrians on hawthorne are decadent cosumerist bastards on their way to their road machines (those shiny set the earth on fire boxes, that sanction fucking WAR). Next as stated I do not legitmize this institution so I am not morally bound to it's bogus traffic laws, I am however kind and I love those who love. However I am as I should be losing my patience with those of you who keep your eye's closed. Those that road rage, hoped up on caffiene, and brought home with one of several anti deppresants. You refuse to wake up from this dream and help US stop another day of this AMERIKAN genocide. We kill countless millions so you can be on hawthorne drifting in and out of shops, sipping your corporate piss, and buying lies.

GET OFF THE SIDEWALK. 10.Mar.2004 00:44

ok

first of all,

I happen to agree with Fleeta's comment that "most pedestrians on hawthorne are decadent cosumerist bastards on their way to their road machines".

but "most" doesn't mean ALL.

and whether I'm a pedestrian on Hawthorne in PDX - or in any city - I expect *not* to be running into cyclists mounted on, or riding, their bikes. that's a recipe for serious personal injury.

sidewalks are not for riding bicycles. that's what asphalt and bike lanes (which Portland has a *very* high proportion of compared to most cities) are for.

if you need to traverse the sidewalk with your bicycle, please DISMOUNT and walk it beside you.

thanks.

LEGAL SIDERIDES 10.Mar.2004 01:13

Migratory Bird

It is legal to ride your bike on the sidewalk on Hawthorne but you must ding a ling your bell to let people know you are coming.

I have ridden down Hawthorne's sidewalks many times. I have never almost hit anyone. Sounds a bit lunar to me....

Sidewalk riding, rolling stops, etc. 10.Mar.2004 01:23

xyzzy

First, the behavior described on the crowded sidewalk along Hawthorne is completely inappropriate. Shame on whoever did that.

Second, in most cases it *is* legal to ride on the sidewalk. Bicycles are supposed to give pedestrians right of way in such cases. (Which is a damn good idea whatever the law says.) One of the only places in the State of Oregon where it is not legal is Downtown Portland (don't know the exact boundaries, but think it's something like the Willamette River, I-5, and I-405).

Third, regarding bikes not honoring stop signs and traffic lights with as high an obedience rate as cars, yes it's true. It's also true that a) cyclists have much better view of the road than cage drivers, b) cage drivers speed more than cyclists, and c) speeding motor vehicles cause far more deaths and injuries than bicycles that blow stop signs and red lights.

Fourth, until such a time as I see the vast majority of motor vehicles honoring speed limits religiously, I don't think cage drivers have any moral ground to stand on when condemning cyclists for not always honoring stop signs and red lights.

Fifth, one of the reasons I run red lights is if I'm first at the light and I hear other cars coming behind me, especially if I'm making a left turn. Many cage drivers seem to think that no bicycle ever has the right to be on the road in front of any car, and I've had more than one terrifying experience of being assaulted by a deadly weapon in the form of a motor vehicle in such situations.

Portland

It was an analogy, Cyclist 10.Mar.2004 01:53

-

You do notice that when I said there will be more deaths this year, I mentioned the near accidents I saw had to do with CARS, not bikes. My point is the same, it doesn't matter whether an asshole is on a bike or a car, he's still and asshole and still a threat to the people around him.

I'm not anti-cyclist and I don't think the original poster is either. He or she experienced a very dangerous situation and wanted to call attention to it. What else can this person do? The law certainly won't protect us. Every day we are out there in the street witnessing and experiencing several dangerous situations due to people breaking the law for their own convenience and trusting that we'll jump out of the way to save our own lives. The cops sure aren't going to chase them and give them a ticket.

I'm sure many cyclists agree that what the poster experienced was dangerous and wrong. That's not anti-cyclist, Cyclist.

Drivers, lay off the bikers! 10.Mar.2004 03:04

woman driver

You and I both know that we have far more dangerous incidents with distracted drivers than we ever have with bikers. I have had a few scary times on the road with bikers--sometimes my fault, sometimes theirs. But I have constant, daily experiences with distracted drivers--people not looking before they pull out, driving too close, being rageful--we're the ones with the power to kill and maim with our cars. And I have to say that in many years of driving I have never encountered what I would consider a "hostile cyclist"--they're afraid of cars!

RE: DRIVERS. 10.Mar.2004 03:29

ok

[I meant what I said above about bicyclists on the sidewalk, btw - no matter what PDX law/ordinance states.]

Drivers of 3,000+ lbs. hunks of metal are the most likely culpable/to blame in all sorts of traffic/pedestrian/bicycle accidents. plain and simple.

and I COMPLETELY agree with 'woman driver' comment above about "constant, daily experiences with distracted drivers" -

there are so many TOTAL FLAKEBALLS out there - supposedly with actual *driver licenses* (?!) from Oregon or elsewhere - who are:

*talking on their cell phone in traffic/on highway while driving
*not using turn signals
*smoking/lighting up cigarettes while driving
*driving extremely carelessly/aggressively/WAY TOO fast
*whipping round/cutting street corners without checking for bikes or pedestrians
*not giving enough space to bicyclists on shoulder/in bike lane
*being impatient with/honking at pedestrians crossing the street, then _roaring_ past them in crosswalk
*hogging road/being impatient-intolerant with bicyclists/other vehicles attempting to change lanes
*blabbing/turning over shoulder to face other car occupants while driving
*not paying attention while driving

I also notice that a HIGH PROPORTION of people with the *above driving behaviors are of the middle to upper-class variety e.g. 'soccer mom' / trust fundie / conspicuous consumer / Bill Gates Jr. types, more often than not behind the wheel of a snazzy gleaming late-model Sport Utility Vehicle . . .

and as 'woman driver' also makes clear - bicyclists have A LOT MORE to fear from automobile drivers than vice versa.

Biking on Hawthorne 10.Mar.2004 08:52

Duncan

What I dont get is why bike ON Hawthorne at all? When my detination is on Hawthorne, I bike down Madison St till I get to the nearest cross st and then cut over to my destination. Just like I use Clinton St. to get to places on Division.

Biking on Hawthorne is a PITA, between the narrow sidewalks and the heavy vehicle traffic.

Duncan

Fix Hawthorne to improve bike and pedestrian safety and quality of life 10.Mar.2004 09:29

Mother

Hawthorne is a great neighborhood. Hawthorne is a terrible street.

I understand why the sidewalk gets used for bikes, the street is terrifying. That's no excuse for bad manners. Bikes on the sidewalk should be walked or riden no faster than a walk and with plenty of bell ringing.

Get involved with the future plans.  http://www.trans.ci.portland.or.us/Projects/Hawthorne/default.htm Don't be too skeptical of getting involved with city planning. It works, sometimes its hard, but you can make a difference, as in the reservoirs are still on Mt Tabor.

Hawthorne, the street, needs some major overhauling.

1 - It's too narrow for 4 lanes of cars. Reduce to 2 car lanes, and 2 GOOD bike lanes.

2 - Sidewalks too narrow. Use some of the freed up space to widen sidewalks.

3 - Sidewalks too ugly. Plant more trees. Place some benches.

4 - Too damn smelly and noisy from traffic. Whatever happened to electric steetcars?

5 - Parallel parking is dangerous and annoying. Use some of the freed up space to create BACK-IN angle parking. It is easier than parallel and MUCH safer when re-entering traffic.


In defence of riding on the sidewalk 10.Mar.2004 09:58

Androgyne001

I ride my bike to work. I am lucky to have bike lanes for most of my route. I don't know if Hawthorne has bike lanes. But often I find myself trying to make my way through an area where there are no bike lanes and I cannot ride in the road because the cars are all going 40 mph and will run me down. Being that I am impatient and do not want to walk my bike for 6 blocks before I get to another road with bike lanes, I'll often ride on the sidewalk, since it is my only choice. But I lookout for pedestrians.

Effective Cycling 10.Mar.2004 15:34

kl

I recommend that cyclists afraid of riding in traffic take an Effective Cycling course. Check out John Forester's classic book, Effective Cycling. It's a comprehensive course in all aspects of cycling, everything from safe riding techniques to bike maintenance and physical health and fitness issues for cyclists. You CAN ride safely in traffic if you learn proper techniques. Learn the real statistics about accidents, instead of the mythology of the "cyclist inferiority complex" that afflicts most Americans. 97% of bike accidents involve vehicles whose paths intersect. Overtaking accidents are rare. And experienced cyclists who follow the rules of the road have a greatly reduced risk of injury compared to novices.

Riding on the sidewalk at a speed faster than the average pedestrian is dangerous and illegal. It not only endangers you (drivers pulling out of driveways are not expecting a pedestrian to come at them at 15 mph), it endangers the pedestrians you share the sidewalk with.

why bike on hawthorne 10.Mar.2004 15:43

ll

There are many reasons to bike on Hawthorne. Consider:

What if my destination is on Hawthorne just a few blocks away, and getting onto a parallel street will require going through one or more signals?

What if I don't know all the streets in the area?

What if I don't know exactly where the thing I'm looking for is, but have
to look for it as I go by?

The reasons I might have for riding on Hawthorne are the same reasons I might have for driving on Hawthorne. Many times, it will be much more convenient than using some alternate route. Same for any thoroughfare.

It's important to disabuse ourselves of the notion that cyclists should content themselves with being shunted off of the major thoroughfares. The truth is, the major thoroughfares are useful and important to the mobility of cyclists for much the same reasons as they are useful and important to motorists. The real solution is for bikes to be fully integrated, socially and logistically, into our urban transportation network, so that people are comfortable using them and others respect their right to be used on all of our roadways.

my 2 stupid cents 10.Mar.2004 15:53

pedestrian & bus taker

The main problem is there's basically no safe place to ride a bike. Cars kill bicyclists all the time, and bicyclists on sidewalks are a hazard to pedestrians.

I would suggest bikers ride on the sidewalk in neighborhoods where the sidewalks go unused 99% of the time (there are lots of them), and slow down to, like under 5 mph -- pedestrian speed -- when there are people around.

I can't recommend bicyclists mingle with car traffic at all, even though that's what they're supposed to do. I've heard about too many bikers and motorcyclists who got run over and/or killed. Friend of mine spent months in a wheelchair after getting run over by a truck on his bike. No joke. Damn lucky he's all better now.

In the long term, half or more of inner-city streets should just be closed to four-wheel motor vehicles. Giving the dinosaur-burners half the roads should be plenty.

Take the full lane, bikers, it is safer. 10.Mar.2004 16:50

Mother

Somewhere in my old brain I recall a study of car/bike behavior. If the bike hugs the right, the car will try (yeah, try) to move over just enough to pass without changing lanes. If the bike is centered in the lane, most cars will do what they habitually do with cars and change lanes to pass; much safer for the bike. I think Hawthorne is a good street for taking the full lane. Most traffic there is so congested that it is not going very fast and most bikes can keep up with the cars, I can and I am really old.

The city of Portland is considering making some changes in bike laws, including signage that bikes take the full lane and cars must change lanes to pass. They are also looking at bikes yield at stop signs, full stop not required, but full stop still required at a red light and tickets will be issued, not warnings. They are also going to enforce night lighting laws with tickets, not warnings. I got this from a city bureaucrat recently, but don't recall who. There was some other stuff generally favorable to bikes.

Maybe someone knows how to get involved with the city process on this. I will vouch from personal experience that you can make a difference by getting involved with Portland city processes. I have been to meetings where other folks from other cities are totally amazed how well it works. No, it does not always work, but doing nothing is guaranteed to bring no results.

I like your 2 cents 10.Mar.2004 16:56

-

Meanwhile, a child was hit by a truck on Woodstock. He's not dead, but seriously injured.

Another hit and run.

bikes are cool 11.Mar.2004 06:39

dr freedom

bikes are cool. its bike enthusiasts that get a bit tireing.

biking can be scary 11.Mar.2004 10:14

mamansite

i am a mommy and i have a 10-year-old freewheeler and a cart on mine bike with my 2 babies.
to get around we often bike on the sidewalk- road not safe for my little people. there are things to do to be safer- but i am not willing to take that risk with my kids' undeveloped common sense. you can have the right of way and still get flattened.
of course, we slow way down for real pedestrian encounters(not that they are very common or we
are ever really going very fast to start with.
bikes are the way to go if you got a long way to go or have to carry a load. walking is great,too. we usebike trails where
er we can and walk where it is safer to do so. i do not wish to travel
in the company cars and don't want to be grouped with them.
we have very little protection against these huge-ass cars. an accident that might only scrape their bumper oer break their rearview mirror could kill us. thanks for the invitation to "share" the roads. but i must politely decline. too much "ridin'" on it. ha-ha

the biggest thing here is respect for our fellow travelers.
pedestrians are the best. i wish more people woulg get out of their gasshole cars and walk.

bikes our nice to but we have to remember to treat them the way we would have cars treat us, walkers are thevulnerable ones in our encounters and we have to watch out for them.
with speed and power come responsibility. even if those in charge don't believe it. we gotta be the change we want to see.
sorry for the lecture. did i mention i am a mama?

Learn to ride 11.Mar.2004 10:39

The Green Redneck

Start by reading THE good book on how to ride in an American city--John Forester's "Effective Cycling." You can buy it at Powell's or many bike stores. It will explain how to ride on arterial streets as a law-abiding road user. It does give drivers a mite too much credit for humanity and intelligence, but the basics are all there. Remember that sidewalks are pedestrian, repeat, pedestrian space. On those very, very rare occasions when we have no alternative but to use them, we have an absolute moral obligation to ride at walking speed or (how about this concept) walk our bikes. I usually ride in shoes that make me walk like Mommy took Thalidomide and I can still manage a few steps when it is appropriate. Roads are for us--we need to learn how to use them properly. Sidewalks are for pedestrians, which we all are at one time or another. Case closed.

thank you, your honor 11.Mar.2004 13:14

sez who?

There is no "proper" AND SAFE way for bicyclists to share the road with cars. The people writing the rules don't give a fuck about bicyclists. Case closed.

How Not to Get Hit By Cars Cycling 11.Mar.2004 22:09

burr

This is way better and more practical than the pretentious and dogmatic 'Effective Cycling':  http://bicyclesafe.com/ . Cyclists are in fact allowed to ride on the sidewalks on Hawthorne, but should show some common courtesy to pedestrians when they do. IMO, the better approach for cyclists on Hawthorne is to TAKE THE LANE. It is legal (ORS 814.430(2)(c)) and helps reclaimes the public right of way space - usurped by motorists - for pedestrians and bicyclists. It certainly doesn't serve the progressive activist community well to have pedestrian and bicycle advocates fighting amongst each other over the table scraps left over after the City has given away the lion's share of the public right of way to motorists!!

bikes are not cars 12.Mar.2004 10:32

mamansita

bikers are not safe with cars. especially not young or unfamiliar bikers

if you want us to bike only on roads, then give us our own roads


i like one of the earlier posters suggestion that half of the roads in cities should be off-limits to cars and given to bikers-(and pedestrians, too, of course) she (or he) said that half of the raods were plenty for the "din0-burners"

i think it is a moderate proposal. many times i have wished that drivers had to leave there cars on the outskirts and find abetter way to get around

cars in such a populated area are a hazard.

it's also dangerous on streets that have no sidewalks. how many times have you all had to walk in the road? feels like living dangerously. even without a wheelchair or a buggy and young child walking around fiercely independant

one other thing, this guy stepping out of the shop, did he even look before he emerged? i mean i have been smacked with doors as people crash out of bars. would you walk into a road without even a look? people movin down the sidewalk have the right of way. use some respect when you merge so you don't hurt anyone who has to take heroic means to dodge you. be aware we all have rights AND responsibilities.

it's kinda like jumping unexpectly out of your car into traffic.

again, always respect the slowest most vulnerable among us and slow down to their speed. everyone should chase atoddler around the sidewalk and keep them out of the road(#1 threat i know out there in the big scary world for kids, pets, and unwary big people)

for the pedestrians who insist we should ride in the street, please envision yourselves trying to take a leisurely walk on a bikelane with high concrete walls around. not too restful. not too safe.
iguess i'll stick to less populated sidewalks and walk when it's safer to do so. thank-you all for the great conversation and suggeations!

Hey Mamansita 12.Mar.2004 21:52

Hawthorne pedestrian

You idiot. Yes, I looked as I was leaving the shop. That's the only thing that kept me from getting mowed down. I shouldn't have to look for speed demon cyclists on the sidewlk. They don't belong there.

Another Possiblity 13.Mar.2004 00:58

J

Has anyone considered looking at this from the rider's point of view? Could there be another explanation besides them being some asshole speeding down the sidewalk? I know there have been times when I'm speeding down the street and a car will cut me off forcing me to either slam on my breaks or swerve (or both). And there have also been times when the only way to avoid being hit by a car (or pancaked between a bus and the sidewalk - I swear those buses are out to get me) was to hop onto the sidewalk at speed.

All I'm saying is there are many sides to stories.

Sidewalk legal boundaries 14.Mar.2004 18:11

A.co

The boundaries for where cyclists can be on sidewalks are the same as fareless square.
That is, anywhere on the westside outside of downtown and anywhere on the eastside except the small portion going from the Rose Garden to Lloyd center, cyclists can LEGALLY ride on the sidewalk.

Thanks, A.co 15.Mar.2004 11:06

The Green Redneck

I didn't know that there was any part of Portland where sidewalk cycling was legal, thanks for clearing that point up.

Follow the rules if you want fair treatment 16.Mar.2004 12:24

cthulhu

I get around Portland via bike, bus, foot, and yes, my car. As a driver, I am overly courteous, and spend a lot of time rubbernecking to see if there is anybody or anything that I might interfere with as I pull out, turn, or accelerate. As a bicyclist and pedestrian, I scan all ways before riding or walking anywhere that cars may be. I stop at lights and stop signs. I obey crossing signals. I figure that I may be adding a few minutes onto my commute, but I remind myself how pissed off I can get when I am driving and a bicyclist zips through a red light, choosing not to acknowledge that he is riding in an unsafe manner, or believes he has some god-given right to disregard the signs and signals that are there for a reason.

Motorists still need to spend more time and energy watching out for bikes and peds, but cyclists need to earn the respect of their fellow citizens.

Get Some Freakin' Perspective 15.Jul.2005 14:08

The AAA

We at the AAA never have to field questions like this. Our members kill 40,000 people and injure over a million a year, yet we never hear anything like, "those bad motorists are giving *all* motorists a bad name." Not only that, but we cash in on car insurance because of all these bad drivers. All because drivers are recognized as individuals.

So please, keep pretending that cyclists are all some sort of borg mind. Don't ever see a cyclist's misdeeds as the act of an individual; always complain about "cyclists" and wimper and whine about how "cyclists" don't deserve amenities. We at the AAA really appreciate it when you take this approach; it makes our jobs easier.