What is the Green Cross Code?

What is the Green Cross Code? Why is it important? We look at the history of the Green Cross Code...

The Green Cross Code is probably one of the most well-known codes in the UK.

It began in 1970, by the National Road Safety Committee, now known as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, and was to raise awareness of pedestrian road safety in the UK.

So, it’s been around for a while.

But, what is the Green Cross Code?

In this article, we look at the history of the Green Cross Code, what the Green Cross Code is, and top safety tips that can be learnt by following the Green Cross Code.

Street crossroad from above. Traffic lights and city traffic

The history of the Green Cross Code

As we mentioned, the Green Cross Code was launched in 1970. It replaced the Kerb Drill, which was a pedestrian safety campaign with a military style “Halt! Quick march!” instructions.

However, this was deemed too confusing for children so was instead replaced by the Green Cross Code campaign.

The Green Cross Code is a step-by-step procedure that helped pedestrians cross the road safely. The Green Cross Code has changed slightly in variation over the years, but the concept is the same.

To promote this, they created the Green Cross Code Man, a costumed superhero to teach the Green Cross Code to young children. Interestingly, David Prowse MBE played the character in a series of Public Information Films, of which ran from 1975 to 1990. David Prowse, of course, is most famous for playing Darth Vader in the Star Wars films.

The Green Cross Code Man had the power to teleport from his station at the Green Cross Control to any location where children need instruction to cross the road safely. Sometimes, he was accompanied by a robot companion. His slogan was “I won’t be there when you cross the road, So always use the Green Cross Code. You can watch one of the videos below. 

The Green Cross Code Man was revived for Road Safety Week 2014, with David Prowse returning to the role. This time, he was teaching adults about the dangers of using smartphones, wearing headphones and listening to music while crossing the road.

What is the Green Cross Code?

So, what is the Green Cross Code? There are six parts to the Green Cross Code.

Think

Is it safe to cross? Is there anywhere safer in the area that you can cross?

Look out for the following as safe places to cross;

  • Subways
  • Footbridges
  • Zebra Crossings
  • Traffic island
  • Pelican crossing
  • Controlled crossing point
    • By the likes of a school crossing officer or a lollipop person
traffic officer controlling the traffic

You should never cross between parked cars, close to the brow of a hill or on a blind bend

Stop

Stop just before you get to the kerb. Stand on the pavement near the kerb and make sure that you can see the traffic. Don’t step on the road.

Look

Look around for traffic. Listen carefully for approaching traffic that you cannot yet see.

Check your right-hand side first, then your left, then your right again before you cross over the road. If you are on a one way street, look out for cycling or bus lanes that might be going in the opposite direction.

Watch out for bicycles, they are much quieter and you might miss them.

Wait

If traffic is coming, then let it pass. If you are waiting at a crossing then wait until the cars have stopped. Cars do not have to stop for you unless you are already walking across the crossing. If you are at a pelican crossing then wait until the green man shows before you cross.

mother with two children waiting to cross at a zebra crossing

If you are not at a crossing, then wait until it is safe to cross. Once the traffic has passed, look around again and listen.

Look and listen again

When it is safe and there are is no traffic then you can walk straight across the road, do not walk diagonally.

Keep looking and listening while you cross the road and never run.

Arrive alive

This is pretty straightforward. Keep looking and listening while you are crossing the road.

If you are crossing when there is traffic, keep an eye out for cyclists passing the traffic.

Want to discover top safety practices when sharing the road with Cyclists? Head over to reveal all you need to know here today

How to teach your child the Green Cross Code

As the Green Cross Code Man said, he won’t be there when you cross the road. But you will be there when your children are young.

There are some ways you can teach your child the Green Cross Code.

Lead by example

When you are out and about with your child, follow the Green Cross Code yourself. It can be easy to forget and fall back into bad habits when you are with your child. Tell them what you are doing and why you are choosing to cross at a certain place, why you are waiting and how many times you are looking across the road and tell them why it is safe to cross.

The more you do this, the more they will consider it the norm and, when the time comes for them to cross the road themselves, then they will follow the Green Cross Code like you taught them.

parent holding childs hand whilst crossing the road

Make sure that others are following the Green Cross Code

If your child is looked after by a babysitter, an older sibling or family member, then make sure that they too are following the Green Cross Code. This is especially the case if the babysitter or family member is fairly young, and your child looks up at this person. They are more likely to copy them and if they have bad road safety habits, then they could end up copying them.

Make sure they also follow the Green Cross Code.

Ask them to help you cross the road

When you are out and about, and after you have practiced the Green Cross Code for a while, then ask your child to get you over the road safely.

Ask them why they are making the decisions they are making and when it is okay to cross. Do this as many times as you can, until they are old enough to cross the road themselves. Then, when the time comes for them to cross the road on their own they will have enough practice to get themselves over the road safely.

In conclusion, the Green Cross Code was a promotional campaign in the 1970 that was to teach children how to cross the road safely and I think it’s safe to say that it is still hugely successful. Hopefully this has cleared a few things up about the Green Cross Code, how it works and the history of the Green Cross Code.

Mum and

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

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