The Silver Marketing Association campaign to end Road Sign Discrimination
Introduced back in 1981 the ‘Elderly Crossing’ road sign has never been popular with anyone over 60. Designed by children in a competition all those years ago, it is time for a rethink.
The sign first came to my attention when an American friend on a UK visit recoiled in horror when she spotted it outside a retirement home. Back then I was in my forties, and not tuned into discrimination of the elderly, but as you get older you suddenly become aware of how ‘seniors’, as they are called in the USA, are referred to and portrayed in the UK.
There have been campaigns in the past to get the sign changed, most noticeably by Baroness Altmann, former Pensions Minister, in 2015. Sadly, without sufficient support the sign has remained the same.
Baroness Altmann summed up her feelings on this discriminatory sign:
“It is not clear why we need a special road sign warning about ‘elderly’ people as if they are some kind of menace! It just feeds into the negative social stereotypes that suggest old people are frail and disabled – or should perhaps be steered clear of -which contributes to some of the age discrimination that we know exists in society. We have got an ageing population in this country. The vast majority are fit and healthy and in no way like that picture of people being stooped over and needing a walking stick”.
When Boris Johnson spoke of protecting the ‘elderly, frail and vulnerable’ from Covid he implied he was referring to anyone over 60. I am 67 and certainly don’t think of myself in any of those terms. Nor do I want to be depicted on a road sign bent over a walking stick hanging onto my equally frail partner.
Elderly people should not be stigmatised as being impaired or inevitably disabled. The time has come for change, and the Silver Marketing Association is taking up the baton to change or abolish this discriminatory road sign once and for all!
How can you take part?
Please sign our petition
And read and share our Press Release
Together we can make a difference!
Contributor: Sally Dowling