Cyclist hit and killed on Lee Road

Terry Ryan

Longtime Cleveland Heights resident and cyclist Terry Ryan, 71, collided with a motorist on Lee Road, near the Heights library, on the morning of Dec. 28. He died on Dec. 31. Ryan had been riding his bike from a convenience store to his home on Queenston Road. 

Ryan was a retired house painter and handyman, an avid reader and a puzzle aficionado. He grew up in the family home on Lee Road and graduated from Heights High. He was preceded in death by his brother Dan and his mother, Anne. His four surviving siblings are Pat, Jim, Tom (also of Cleveland Heights) and Mary. They do not blame the driver of the car for the accident.

When we lose a member of the cycling community, we wonder: Is it inevitable that bikes and cars will collide? Should we accept that as a normal occurrence? No.

Our governments and culture could adhere to the aspirational Vision Zero strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all road users, and to ensure safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, many U.S. cities are working on similar initiatives. Cleveland is among them.

Vision Zero starts with the ethical belief that everyone has the right to move safely in their communities, and that designers and policymakers share the responsibility to ensure safe systems of travel for all people.

The Vision Zero approach recognizes that people will sometimes make mistakes, so the road system and policies should be designed to ensure that mistakes do not result in severe injuries or fatalities. 

This is a lofty goal, and the Heights Bicycle Coalition, a chapter of Bike Cleveland, applauds and encourages this work. 

In the meantime, and until we reach this goal, if we are driving a car, let us commit to watch out for cyclists and walkers. Let us give them the state-mandated three feet of leeway, and slow down to allow for mistakes on everyone’s part.

We offer condolences to Ryan’s siblings, friends and neighbors. A white Ghost Bike memorial will be placed near the crash site. Friends of the family created a GoFundMe site to help the family pay burial and other expenses:

For more information about Vision Zero, go to

[Editor's note: This article was updated on Jan. 20 to clarify that the driver of the car is not considered responsible for the accident. Indications are that Ryan swerved and, in doing so, collided with the car. He was not wearing a helmet.]

Heights Bicycle Coalition

Heights Bicycle Coalition is dedicated to educating and encouraging Heights community members to use bicycles as a sustainable and healthy form of transportation and recreation. This article was written by Joy Henderson and members of the coalition's communications committee.

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 3:26 PM, 01.18.2021