Police Commissioner Bill Evans defended Mayor Marty Walsh’s controversial remarks urging pedestrians and bicyclists to exercise caution while using Boston roadways, which sparked citywide protests and complaints from road safety advocates.

“I think the mayor is trying his hardest,” Evans said during an interview with Boston Public Radio Tuesday. “Boston roads have been notoriously tough well before Mayor Walsh came on board … I think what he meant is that we all — those who are driving, those who are biking, those who are crossing the street — we’re all in this together to make sure we increase everybody’s safety.”

Shortly after the fatal hit-and-run accident that killed cyclist Rick Archer, Walsh told Boston Public Radio that cyclists and pedestrians share the blame when crashes occur. “There’s a lot of talk about what the city is doing to make everything safer — pedestrians need to be safer,” Walsh said. “Pedestrians need to put their head up when they’re walking down the street, take your headphones off … you’ve got to understand, cars are going to hit you.”

Walsh’s comments caused a flurry of blowback from bicycle safety advocates, including Andrew McFarland, the community engagement manager of Livable Streets Alliance, one of the advocacy organizations within Walsh’s own Vision Zero Coalition. “They're victim-blaming,” McFarland wrote in an email to WGBH News, “and completely fly in the face [of] his administration's own policy, Vision Zero.”

To protest Walsh’s remarks, Vision Zero organized a silent vigil on the steps of City Hall on Friday “to stand in solidarity with the victims of traffic violence” and publicly object to Walsh’s comments, which suggested “safety on our streets is the responsibility of the most vulnerable — people walking and biking,” according to the Facebook event.

According to Evans, Walsh’s comments weren’t explicitly directed at bicyclists and pedestrians. "He wasn’t singling out those two, he means everybody,” Evans said. “Everybody has to be more careful: the motorist who is driving the vehicle, the pedestrian, and the bicyclist. Everybody has to be more alert to what’s going on.”

As warm weather approaches, Evans says one of the top priorities of the Boston Police is "Operation Crosswalk" — an effort that will place officers beside crosswalks to make sure cars slow down for pedestrians. “We do it around playgrounds, we do it around recreational centers, we do it anywhere where we see a lot of young mothers pushing baby carriages,” Evans said. “We want people to stop for people in the crosswalk. Both the drivers, who sometimes are distracted, as well as what the Mayor said … we all can do a better job.”

To hear Police Commissioner Evans’ full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.