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Space Invaders Is Back! (Sort of…)

When someone mentions Space Invaders what’s the first thing that springs to mind?  If you grew up the 70’s and 80’s, Space Invaders will bring back memories of spending hours in the arcade, or sat at home on your Atari or SNES if you were lucky enough, bashing buttons to stop the descending pixelated alien invasion reaching earth.  The aim of the game was to shoot and destroy the aliens before they reached you.  The more you shoot, the quicker the aliens move, thus making them harder to hit.

Well, Space Invaders fans, it’s back! But in this version of the popular game, rather than shooting the aliens, you’re trying to keep away from them because, if they touch you or get too close, they could end up with serious life changing injuries. Oh, and in this game they don’t speed up as the game gets harder, the aliens are moving very fast from the off and are coming at you from every direction.  Sounds an impossible game to win, doesn’t it?

I should apologise as I’ve told you a small lie; Space Invaders (the game) isn’t making a comeback (sorry!).  The “game” I’ve mentioned above is just your usual trip as an cyclist, trying to keep out of the way of aggressive drivers on the road, who drive too close to the cyclist in front trying to find an, often unsafe, way to overtake.  I’m not for a minute suggesting that all drivers are aggressive, in fact only a very small number are, but it’s something that as a team of cycling accident specialists we do see a lot of.

#StaySafeStayBack

Highways England are looking at cracking down on tailgating in their latest “Space Invaders; #StaySafeStayBack” campaign, which is fantastic news for drivers and cyclists alike.  I own both a car and a bicycle, I use both frequently during the week, and tailgaters can be a problem when I’m using either.  According to Highways England latest figures associated with the campaign, 1 in 8 casualties are caused by people driving too closely to the person in front.  Drivers who tailgate are often putting their own lives at risk, along with the person they are tailgating and other road users sharing the driving space with them.  In inclement weather like we are having now and will likely continue to have until early next year, the breaking distance from the vehicle or bicycle in front needs to be twice as much as usual.  If you don’t adhere to this, and you are tailgating someone in front, you could earn 3 points and a £100 fine for driving without due care.  Not to mention that if you are involved in a road traffic accident you could sustain serious injuries to yourself and cause others to be injured too.

Here in the cycling team at Twisted Spokes, and indeed in the Road Traffic Accident team at JMW, we assist many people who have been the victim of rear end shunts, often due to impatient tailgaters or drivers not paying attention to the road.  We are hoping that Highway’s England newest campaign will shine light onto this and make drivers more aware of their surroundings.

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