After reading Zoe Miller’s May 2 column (“Maine Voices: To boost pedestrian safety, redesign Portland streets and hold drivers accountable”), I came away with many questions that lead me to an entirely different perspective.

Her premise is that all pedestrian-vehicular accidents are the cause of the driver and road design and that our law enforcement officers do not pursue pedestrian accident investigations.

She supports a “pedestrian-friendly” city, a concept often cited by many Portland groups. While it is certainly a worthwhile goal to pursue, it should be balanced with the needs of all citizens.

Maine is a rural state, and motorized transportation is a necessity for most residents. Not all of us are fortunate enough to work and live in the same place, and this is the case for all larger Maine towns and their suburbs.

As a health care practitioner, I would advocate for a balance of motorist and pedestrian accountability. Perhaps “looking both ways” will make a comeback!

I moved to Portland in 1979 and have seen numerous city transitions, and I have one relevant observation: I have witnessed a rise in what I consider pedestrian apathy or sometimes arrogance.

Any motorist who drives the peninsula will tell you that many pedestrians disregard walk/don’t walk signals and crosswalks. Some of them do it accidentally, which is excusable, but many others willfully defy the signals and will sometimes taunt drivers to react.

As a multi-modal citizen (cyclist, motorist, pedestrian), I respect the rules of each mode of transportation. Regarding all users of Portland’s streets and walkways, I believe that each shares responsibility for safe travel, whatever their type of transport.

The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, in a February fact sheet, “Traffic Safety Facts: 2013 Data,” reports that there were 145 instances of pedestrian-vehicular accidents in Maine in 2013, with 11 resulting in death.

Sadly, the reason that most drivers are not prosecuted or held accountable in the majority of these cases is that the pedestrian was not following pedestrian traffic rules or practicing prudent pedestrian conduct. That being the case, prevention would save more lives and perhaps reduce related injuries.

After listing statistics of these incidents, the NHTSA suggests what pedestrians and drivers can do to prevent accidents.

The agency recommends that pedestrians use crosswalks, obey traffic signals, wear light-colored or reflective clothing (most pedestrian accidents occur in dawn or dusk and dark periods) and have no electronic distractions or headphones.

For drivers, the agency advises staying alert, avoiding distractions of any kind and paying attention to crosswalks and signaled intersections.

Not surprisingly, alcohol use for the driver and pedestrian was discouraged. According to the NHTSA, 34 percent of pedestrians involved in accidents in 2013 had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 mg/dl., in contrast to only 15 percent of drivers.

Although this information was interesting, my point with all of this information is that it’s everyone’s responsibility for preventing these occurrences, since each contributes to the outcomes.

My review of L.D. 1301, “An Act To Improve the Safety of Vulnerable Users in Traffic and To Clarify the Responsibilities of Bicyclists and Pedestrians,” was disappointing.

The bill is clear about everyone’s responsibilities for use of Maine’s roadways and sidewalks. Much of it is not new, with a few exceptions:

 All driver education programs must contain 30 minutes of pedestrian safety content.

 New fines are imposed for cyclists’ infractions.

 New fines and suspensions are imposed for driver infractions.

I take no issue with these recommendations, although I will note that the bill lacks accountability or fines for pedestrian infractions. This legislation does not promote collaboration, nor does it attempt primary prevention (the holy grail in public health practice).

Public safety strategy may include this legislation if it becomes more comprehensive, but there are other effective public health tools like education campaigns and public service announcements that address prevention of these unfortunate occurrences.

Let’s promote a more well-rounded approach. Let everyone contribute to creating a pedestrian-friendly city!