The purpose of Road Sense, the Ladybird book published in 1977, was to keep us safe on the road. The book gives the following advice: use the Green Cross Code, use Zebra Crossings, obey signals at Pelican Crossings and do not play in roads.
Things have changed since 1977 and we have become slack when it comes to road safety. As pedestrians and cyclists, we sometimes believe we have priority and durability: stepping out into busy roads and expecting vehicles to slow down or stop; having a chinwag and giggle on the mobile whilst swerving around vehicles, and blocking-out traffic-noise by plugging ears with loud music; all of these habits are a tad dangerous.
In order to reduce danger, I am advising a few updates to the 1977 book:
Update No.1: Find a safe place to cross. To be absolutely clear, avoid crossing near to a vehicle occupied by a driver who seems to be under the influence of illegal substances. Strong smell of weed, glazed-eyes or looking like they are on another planet? Find somewhere else to cross.
Update No.2: The 1977 book describes a Subway as being safe because it goes under the road; the updated version would state do not enter late at night, especially if you are alone. Subways will keep you safe from traffic, but they may not keep you safe from loonies hiding in them.
Update No.3: This is a reiteration – even though the image of the red man at a Pelican Crossing looks like a man searching for coins in his pockets, it actually means to wait and to not cross! Also, the flashing green man does not mean you have an extra 20-seconds to get across the road, it means do not start to cross!
Update No 4: The book uses the example of Roy and Shirley going to a policeman who is directing traffic; the policeman then helps them safely across the road. If you decide to look for a policeman to help you safely across the road, good luck with your search – if he didn’t turn-up to investigate your smashed-in car window, then the chances finding him to help you cross the road are zero!
Update No 5: The final update is about cycling. Helmets are now needed: Road Sense talks about safe cycling, but the pictures show cyclists with no helmets! A few more additions required are: do not ride your bike like a maniac on the pavement, and, even though you’re a cyclist, red lights at traffic lights still means stop!
With these five updates added, Road Sense will be more adequate for the 2020 pedestrian and cyclist. I do have a strange feeling that the updates may be ignored by many, and already I can imagine furious people yelling “Don’t you tell me how to cross a road!” and “I’m still a safe driver, even whilst smoking a bit-a-weed!” I’m not here to argue, just doing a few simple updates – but I understand from experience, by doing a few simple updates on my smartphone, a whole heap of chaos, frustration and anger can be caused.
Watch the Green Cross Code advert by clicking the image below
Want more of the Green Cross Code Man? Catch-up with him in the Section N Underpass: the retro book with enough clout to send you flying back to the 80s and 70s. Get your copy by clicking any of the images below: