The June 5 letter “Bicycle safety steps are common sense” brought up pedestrian safety concerns.

It says that pedestrians should “walk single file against the traffic on the edge of the road so they can see and move onto the shoulder out of the way of oncoming vehicles.” Years ago, this was taught in schools; there were films and posters teaching us how to walk and take responsibility for our own safety.

Today, people of all ages walk with traffic as if they were driving, side by side, even with children and pets. Black or dark clothing is stylish; hoodies and headphones obscure their senses. Their only safety measure is to sometimes turn around and glare angrily at the cars that come up behind.

In late 2015, the Press Herald reported “Police stumped by large number of pedestrian deaths in Maine,” and in January, the Maine Sunday Telegram “Leg Work” column noted that “2015 had most pedestrian fatalities in Maine in 20 years.” The column mentions the Maine Safe Routes to School program, whose “Be a Safe Walker” poster is pretty good. But we need a renewed education program for all ages.

Section 2056 of Title 29-A of Maine statutes has several rules for pedestrians and drivers. It requires pedestrians to use sidewalks, adding that “where sidewalks are not provided, a pedestrian shall walk facing approaching traffic on the left side of the public way or the way’s shoulder when practicable.” So it’s not just common sense – it’s the law.

Another lesson to learn is in the letter’s accompanying photo. Bikes are passing a storm drain with long wide slots in the direction of travel. Until we replace these with safer designs, please require the road crews to set the slots perpendicular to travel so bike tires don’t fall in them.

David H. Brown