City urges pedestrian safety on Halloween

Jax has had 607 traffic accidents this year involving pedestrians, cyclists

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city is reminding people to be careful Friday with an increase of people roaming the streets trick-or-treating for Halloween.

So far this year Jacksonville has had 607 traffic accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the country for those groups of travelers.

That's why local leaders announced a multi-agency coalition and a six-month campaign to address safety.

The campaign reminds drivers and pedestrians to use caution on Halloween night and throughout Daylight Saving Time, the deadliest time for pedestrians nationwide.

The reason: More people are driving home from work in the dark.

"Oh it's terrible, it's one of the worst things our emergency personnel has to deal with every day," said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Dylan Bryan.

Last year there were more than 800 accidents in Jacksonville involving pedestrians or cyclists.

The city's effort to decrease the number of accidents includes the recently announced crosswalk initiative to specifically address pedestrian safety.

One teenager at the announcement Thursday at City Hall knows firsthand what it's like to lose a loved one to a pedestrian accident.

In September 2013, a driver hit and killed a woman and injured her teenage daughter, Orly Ohayon, while they attempted to cross San Jose Boulevard at Haley Road.

She is still in therapy but is moving forward. She said she's happy to hear that the city will receive money from the Federal Highway Administration to make changes, because Jacksonville has the most pedestrian accidents in the country.

"I thank God. It's still a long road to go, but I think I'm really doing as much as I can this time," Ohayon said. "I definitely feel safe. I obviously -- that memory is just going to hit me every time I walk across that street, but I thank God that I feel a lot safer."