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‘Cycle Space Invaders’ puts a twist on #FreeTheCycleLanes and #kissthegatesgoodbye campaigns

After repeated calls for the enforcement of the illegal parking in cycle lanes fell on deaf ears cycling campaigners in 2015 started the #FreeTheCycleLanes campaign to highlight the issue and uses the hashtag on Twitter, and now is an attempt to better track illegal parking by using gamification.

Keith Phelan, a Kerry-based cycling campaigner and software developer, explained: “As a cyclist I was one of the many who were frustrated with the amount of parking/obstructions in cycle lanes and the lack of enforcement from the authorities and began to highlighting these using the hashtag, and as a software developer I was interested in collating and visualising these post and images, due to the temporal nature of feed based social media platforms and the speed at which the timeline is updated older posts are no longer visible unless specifically searched for, so in essence they become lost.”

More recently, the #kissthegatesgoodbye campaign was started to call for an end to obstructive barriers on cycle routes. So, he added that too to the website.

“The main objective of this site was to surface them all. Initially I had put together a quick site to do this but due to the restrictions of the Twitter search API it only showed the most recent tweets. I wanted to put together something which would not only collate all of the tweets since the beginning of the campaign but would also to help gamify it,” he said.

Phelan said: “When I set about designing the site I wanted it to be game-like and set upon the idea of Space Invaders, so it is designed to look like a retro 8bit game, you play by capturing (images) of invaders in cycle lanes, you get points for each capture. Each player has a profile page, and as with all good games there’s a leader board.”

He said he also wanted to give cycling campaign groups a tool which could be used to explore posting from their areas, for example, and users also score extra points if they also include a hashtag for their town or county to encourage people to add locations so that the infringements could be grouped together.

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Cian Ginty

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