Accidents involving pedestrians and cars on rise despite Orlando safety campaign



ORLANDO, Fla. - Despite an Orlando campaign to prevent pedestrians from being hit by cars, Channel 9 has learned that there been more injuries this year.

The Orlando metro area is ranked as the worst in the nation for pedestrian deaths and injuries, so the city launched the Best Foot Forward campaign last year.

Harry Williams has lived in the Parramore area of Orlando all of his life.

"It's hard to get around down here," said Williams.

Channel 9's Racquel Asa told Williams something he didn't know about his neighborhood.

"Did you know 33 people were hit by cars here last year?" Asa asked Williams, referring to the Parramore area.

"No, I didn't know that at all," said Williams.

That number is higher than last year and is not the direction the Best Foot Forward campaign was hoping for.

The campaign was launched in May 2012. The hope was to cut in half the number of people hit and killed by cars.    

But a 60-page review of the program shows that crashes involving pedestrians jumped nearly 16 percent in the first year of the campaign, even though more drivers were ticketed for not yielding at crosswalks.

A campaign representative said it took 30 years for Orlando to become the worst place for pedestrians and it's going to take more than one year to change it.

The next step in the campaign, according to Best Foot Forward project manager Amanda Day, is to target the walkers.   

"That's one thing we are looking at going into 2014 is ticketing the pedestrians. Specifically what we're looking at is in the city of Orlando around the SunRail station," said Day.

Some improvements aimed at reducing the number of accidents are in the works on Church Street. The city is in the middle of a multimilllion dollar project that will, among other things, widen the sidewalks and improve street lighting.

One area in which the campaign did report some success was in the number of people yielding at crosswalks.    The report said compliance jumped from 12 percent to 40 percent.