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CROSSING THE ROAD IN BRITAIN, 1931–1976

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2006

JOE MORAN
Affiliation:
Liverpool John Moores University

Abstract

This article explores the history of crossing the road in Britain from the traffic acts of the early 1930s to the introduction of the Green Cross Code in the early 1970s. It reconstructs this history through the examination of government documents, press releases, newspaper articles, newsreels, public information films, and other road safety materials. Since the interwar period, British governments have become progressively more involved in policing the activity of crossing the road, and there have been two main planks of policy. The first has been to design progressively more sophisticated crossings; the second has been road safety education, including advice about how to use the crossings, disseminated through school crossing patrols, children's clubs, and public information films. Governments have generally relied on appeals to good sense and civic duty rather than legally enforceable rules about crossing the road, and have sought to follow as well as lead public opinion in determining how much to coerce both pedestrians and motorists. The formulation of policy in relation to public attitudes and media responses means that crossing the road during this period has interesting implications for both political and cultural history.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2006 Cambridge University Press

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