The Green Cross Code is a road safety initiative that has been used in the UK since 1971 to teach children how to cross the road safely. It was created by RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a registered charity.
Here are the current steps of the code:
- Find the safest place to cross, then stop.
- Stand on the pavement near the kerb.
- Look all around for traffic, and listen.
- If traffic is coming, let it pass.
- When it's safe, walk straight across the road.
- Keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross.
The government has used a number of promotional characters to help publicise the code. The most famous of these is the Green Cross Code Man, played by Dave Prowse, who in TV ads would materialise in a green and white uniform and demonstrate the steps of the code to children crossing incorrectly. His slogan was "I won't be there when you cross the road, so always use the Green Cross Code." Kids' sitcom robot Metal Mickey was also used in conjunction with the Green Cross Code Man, and the current campaign, Arrive Alive, uses cartoon hedgehogs, who convey the code using a version of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive".
The Green Cross Code doesn't seem as prominent today as it used to be, though that could be because I watch less children's TV than I used to. But anyone who was a child in the 70s or 80s in the UK will be well aware of the Green Cross Code Man, even if they're not able to recite the full code. It's a masterful example of good marketing.
- Website for the current campaign.
- Information about the Green Cross Code Man.
Update: wertperch quite correctly mention The Tufty Club, a pre-Code RoSPA initiative featuring Tufty the Squirrel and his puppet friends, whose road-safety misadventures traumatised and earlier generation. For more on the Tufty Club, try http://www.scarysquirrel.org/tufty/.