World Day of Remembrance: Cleveland


Today, we are joining together with Families for Safe Streets, street safety organizations, community members, and elected officials from across the country to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims and to demand change. We all have the right to safe mobility, and we can prevent these tragic incidents. We are calling on our elected leaders to fix our streets. With the recent passage of the federal Infrastructure bill, we have an historic opportunity to direct billions of dollars towards fixing deadly roads and improving walking and biking conditions – particularly for communities that have been traditionally underserved. Below are personal stories from members of our community whose lives have been altered due to traffic violence, followed by statements from the City of Cleveland and Bike Cleveland.

Laura Wood, personal story of loss

My daughter Danielle Chronister was a teacher at MC2STEM High School. On November 3rd, 2021 Danielle was hit by a careless driver operating a truck while walking to school to begin the day with her beloved students. Danielle was crossing Chester Ave, in the crosswalk, with the walk signal, and not on her cell phone. Her death was preventable! 

Danielle left a lasting impact on every student who crossed her path. She was passionate about teaching chemistry and engineering, and helping students excel and achieve their goals in the classroom and in their personal lives. Only to become a tragedy in their lives.

Danielle’s death is a devastating loss to our entire family, including her husband Ben, her friends, and her students. It’s affected every part of my life. My daughter was killed walking to work to teach children. Without reason, or without any sense to it.

This accident and Danielle’s death was preventable! I don’t wish anyone to have to go through what we have gone through. We need city leaders to take traffic safety, and the need to protect all road users, seriously. Anything and everything that can be done to curb the pain and suffering people experience because of careless drivers or poor roadway designs should be done.

Kirsten Lakso, personal story of loss

My friend, colleague, and partner in crime, Danielle Chronister was more than a teacher at MC2STEM High School. She was a mentor to so many of her students. On November 3rd 2021, Danielle was hit by a careless driver operating a truck while walking to school to begin the day with her beloved students.

We met a few years earlier at JFK High School. Danielle was a long-term sub for chemistry. We bonded over a shared love of forensics and a passion for education. She is the one that recommended me for the teaching position at MC2STEM. It is ironic that the last conversation I had with Danielle and a student was about various methods of body disposal. On November 3rd, the course of her students and my life was forever altered. Gone was the familiar sound of her keys jangling as she ran around the building. No more sounds of BlackPink blaring from her Alexa speaker that started my day. Most importantly, her infectious energy pushed students and staff to seek out everything that life has to offer.

As I teach Danielle’s students this year, I see on their faces the lasting impact she made. She was passionate about teaching engineering. But more importantly, she cared deeply for each and every one of her students.

Many of her students have asked me, “Why?”. I have no answer for them other than this is a senseless tragedy. Teachers like Danielle, who are passionate about their subject and connect with students, are rare. The senseless loss of Danielle left a hole in the teaching community. This hole will never be filled for her students, her colleagues, or myself.

I do not wish anyone to have to go through what her students, her colleagues or myself have gone through. We need city leaders to take traffic safety and the need to protect all road users seriously. Anything and everything that can be done to curb the pain and suffering people experience because of careless drivers or poor roadway designs should be done.

Patty Knilans, personal story of loss

Today, November 20th 2022, we commemorate the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.  You likely have heard the Slogan this year:  Remember, Support, and Act, so I would like to share with you how I am Remembering, Supporting and Acting.

Remember:  I am remembering my late husband, Randy Knilans, who died while riding his bicycle on a beautiful June evening in 2019. He rode outside every day weather permitting as his preferred form of exercise. We met at age 16 and he was an avid cyclist even then. We became good friends, fell in love, married as we both were turning 21, raised a family and had a great life. Randy was an architect, a graduate of The Ohio state University with a masters degree in architecture. He was a competitive sailor, racing from the time he was in high school until his death. He volunteered in our community of Avon Lake, serving over 25 years on planning commission, zoning board and the historical preservation committee. He was a loyal and selfless friend to many. But more importantly Randy was a loving husband, a devoted father to our two children, Brad and Becky, and a joyful grandfather to Keegan, Liam, and Isla.

All of that was cut short on June 6,2019 because of the thoughtless criminal actions of Sharan Carr, a 64 year old woman who was driving drunk. She hit Randy from behind at an estimated speed of 50 mph in a 35 mph zone which had just increased from 25 mph only three houses prior. She never slowed down and never stopped. It was daylight, Randy was wearing bright colors, a helmet and had lights on the front and back of his bike. He was in the bike lane. He died several hours later from his injuries. There isn’t a day that goes by without my thinking of Randy We need to remember the 1360 Ohioans lost to road crashes in 2021 of which 28 were cyclists and an estimated 176 were pedestrians. 

The 2nd part of the slogan is Support:  Car manufacturers have done much to improve safety:  air bags, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automated braking systems to name a few. But a car still requires a driver to be attentive, knowledgeable, not distracted and not under the influence. In Ohio we lost 1230 individuals to road crashes in 2020 and that number increased to 1360 in 2021. 45% of those in 2021 were due to OVI. That’s 612 people!

In 2021 , as part of the Infrastructure Bill, Congress is requiring auto manufacturers to provide cars made starting in 2026 with advanced drunk and impaired driving technology which would shut a vehicle down or prevent it from starting. The American Civil Liberties Union is taking issue with this part of the bill concerned over potential privacy infractions. While I support the need for privacy laws, I take issue with the position of the ACLU.  Driving is not a constitutional right, at least not yet.  It is a privilege.  Once that requires our citizens to pass a written test, reflecting knowledge of the road signals and laws, and a driving test to provide evidence of being able to properly drive. According to the National Safety Council, the cost of auto crashes was approximately $473 billion dollars in 2020.  The figure for 2021 was not yet available.  Think of it:  $473 Billion dollars. The US Dept of Transportation has instituted the National Roadway Safety Strategy.  However, much of it is still in the planning / development stage.  We need to demand action and movement on this plan, utilizing information already available and coordinating with the many organizations in the country who are focused on vulnerable road users. We also know that the recommendations of Vision Zero can result in a huge reduction of pedestrian/cyclists injuries and deaths when designing or redesigning roadways. Families for Safe Streets is also focused on this issue and is growing strength. These organizations need our support if we are ever going to quell the injuries and death of vulnerable road users.

The Final piece of the Slogan is ACT. How do we ACT?  We can no longer be bystanders, the cost, the loss, the pain of all injured or killed in auto crashes continues to rise each year.  We have the tools to improve those statistics.  But we have to speak up!  We must request our community leaders (mayors, council persons, public health and transportation departments) to work together and lead our citizens to a better outcome.  We can volunteer our time, our money, our letter writing, our presence at hearings involving crashes or consideration of improvements for vulnerable road users.  Use our voices, our connections to drive home the need for better solutions.  Don’t accept status quo. 

Randy was a quiet humble man.  But the impact he had on his family, friends, associates, fellow sailors, and our community was profound.  He made that impact by example, by how he led his life.  Full of joy, committed to making his community better than how he found it.  I continue to honor his life by doing the same.  Living with joy and working to lessen the possibility of another death or injury to a vulnerable road user. 

Today is Randy’s birthday.  He would be 70 years old today.  Join me in singing Happy Birthday in his memory.  Better yet, join me in supporting the efforts to reduce road crashes in NE Ohio!

Jacob VanSickle, Executive Director – Bike Cleveland

Traffic deaths are the leading cause of death of youth in the U.S. And seniors, people walking and biking, and communities of color and low-income communities are all disproportionately harmed by traffic violence.

And the problem is worsening: In 2021, 42,915 people died in traffic crashes in the U.S. – a 10% increase over 2020. Locally in Cuyahoga County this year there have been 502 serious injury crashes and 62 fatal crashes. In Cleveland there have been 212 serious injury crashes and 41 fatal crashes. These numbers represent members of our community, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and friends.

Locally, every day someone in Cleveland suffers a life-altering injury or is killed from a traffic crash. 74 people died on Cleveland’s streets last year and as of today 41 people have lost their lives so far in 2022. Building a safer transportation system impacts all of us, whether you walk, bike, take transit, or drive. While we know that people on foot, bike, and motorcycle are the most vulnerable to serious injury or death from crashes, over 2/3 of Cleveland crashes where someone was killed or suffered a life-altering injury involved only people in cars. These members of our community are parents, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers. We stand with the victims of traffic crashes and commit to working together to eliminate this deadly trend in the City of Cleveland.

Mayor Justin M. Bibb, Mayor, City of Cleveland

In 2022 so far, 41 people have been killed in traffic crashes on Cleveland’s streets. Every person leaves gaps in our community and in the lives of their loved ones. The cost of traffic crashes–in terms of lives impacted, loved ones affected, families changed forever–is enormous. Today we mourn with those from our community whose lives are altered forever by traffic crashes, and invite you to join us in supporting their loved ones and taking action to prevent this from happening in the future.

This September, motivated by these tragedies, the City adopted a Vision Zero Action Plan and committed to eliminating serious injuries and fatalities from our roadways by 2032. Our Action Plan lays out a strategic and transparent path to safer roadways across Cleveland, and my administration is working to leverage funding through programs like the new federal Safe Streets and Roads for All grant as well as state and local resources to make the plan a reality. To reach our goal of zero traffic deaths by 2032, we also need help from residents and organizations across Cleveland. Visit and sign up for the mailing list to learn ways to get involved and take action. 


Traffic crash survivors and victim families are part of a growing movement demanding safety for all on our roads, sidewalks and bikeways. We know that local, state and federal elected officials across the country have the capacity to prevent these tragedies and to prioritize safe mobility.  This year, we urge Cleveland residents to join a Vision Zero Cleveland working group and get involved with making local streets safer. You can also submit stories of personal impact to be part of an online virtual memorial mural on Lastly, if you’ve been impacted by traffic violence you can get engaged with a developing local chapter of Families for Safe Streets with Bike Cleveland. These, combined with the recent policy improvements in the City of Cleveland, are all critical steps in forever changing the deadly culture of roadway violence in our city.

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