The Green Cross Code

Image Source: Typecast

As a child in the ‘70s, I remember being taught the Green Cross Code. It was a sequence of six simple but important steps to take to keep safe while crossing the road. I remember the Green Cross Code Man and I seem to recall being a member of the road safety ‘Tufty Club’ and proudly wearing the Tufty Club badge.

The Green Cross Code

All good and well. I can still recall each of these steps and as a one time, Tufty Club member, I can also recall Tufty’s Kerb Drill: 

‘Look right, look left, look right again, if all clear, quick march’

Image Source: Wikipaedia

Herein lies the problem though. I would still get a ‘well done’ from the Green Cross Code Man for remembering the six simple steps of the Green Cross Code but fifty years later, I’m not sure I would still qualify for my Tufty Club badge.

There are a number of symptoms of Parkinson’s that conspire to make crossing the road an altogether much more complicated sequence of events. Difficulty with spacial awareness, even in familiar environments, poor concentration and being very easily distracted are only some of the challenges. Add to this, a difficulty with the perception of speed and distance, along with thought processes and speed of movement that are both typically slower than normal and suddenly, Tufty’s Kerb Drill is very much more complex than it ever used to be.

My 1970’s Tufty’s Kerb Drill:

‘Look right, look left, look right again, if all clear, quick march’

My 2020’s Tufty’s Kerb Drill:

‘Look right, look left, look right again, all clear but I don’t move quickly enough. When my brain finally engages my legs to move, they too are in no rush but eventually start. It may only take a few seconds longer than it used to but a lot can happen in that time. So I check the road again. I look left again, look right again and look left again, where I see a number of cars travelling at different speeds and distances. Whilst trying to gauge how far away they are and how long it will be before they reach the stretch of the road I am trying to cross, I look right and see two more cars travelling towards me. Whilst trying to gauge how far away they are and how long I have before they reach the stretch of the road I am trying to cross, I forget how close the cars coming from my left are. I look left again and see a bus heading towards the stretch of road I am trying to cross. At the same time, I am distracted by a fellow commuter making polite conversation, the yells of a child in a pushchair and the siren of a passing police car. My slightly wonky brain struggles to cope with the sensory overload. I take a deep breath and relax. By this time, I have lost any perspective of how fast the vehicles from my right and my left are travelling and how far away they are likely to be now. So, I look right again. I see a large gap in the traffic a few cars back and I decide it’s probably safest to wait. Except, when the gap arrives, it doesn’t look like I have sufficient time to cross, so I wait. As it happens, I could have got myself and a small army to cross the road with plenty of time to spare during this gap but better this than being in danger. However, another few seconds have passed so back to the beginning………’Look left again, look right again’ and repeat…………

It might be another 50 years before I get across the road at this rate and if the Tufty Club still exists, I would like to think I might be rewarded with a medal rather than a badge in recognition of the effort involved!

PS Mum

Please don’t worry. I walked miles yesterday, crossing a number of roads and did so safely, so sleep well tonight. x

4 thoughts on “The Green Cross Code”

  1. Love your posts Alison. I’ve set up a fb group for women only who have PD. If you’re interested, please take a look. It’s called Iris has a dilemma … Parkinson’s x

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Alison, I tested you on the Tufty Club, Taught you the Green cross code, made sure you passed the cycling proficiency badge. In fact I was to blame for you being a cyclopath! X

    Liked by 1 person

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