Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wallace To Showcase Safety Initiative at Chicagoland

Mike Wallace
On August 17, 2012, Justin Griffin was riding his bicycle, a 15th birthday present from his mom, Susan Griffin-Ray, in his hometown of Grove City, Penn.  

At 6’3” and 160 pounds, Justin was easy to spot on foot. However, someone driving a pick-up truck didn’t see him. The All-Star baseball pitcher, MVP quarterback, church youth group member and mentor was struck by the speeding truck, sustaining injuries that claimed his life in the emergency room of Grove City Medical Center later that morning. 

Griffin was not wearing a helmet.  

Today, his family is using their tragic loss to increase bicycle safety awareness. As part of that effort, Mike Wallace and the No. 01 G&K Services Chevrolet team of JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller will carry a decal on their car this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway to help Griffin-Ray promote bicycle safety awareness.  

 “Justin lived his life to the fullest every day,” said Griffin-Ray. “He was energetic, approachable, well-mannered and very giving. I have spent a lot of time since his death wondering why he was taken from us. I’ve also spent a lot of time wondering what could have been done differently, and what can now be done, to help avoid this happening to other bicycle riders with the same devastating outcome. 

Justin Griffin
“Speaking with teenagers, I have found they don’t wear helmets because, ‘it doesn’t look cool’ and there are no laws saying they have to wear one. Then I ask them how cool they’d be lying in a casket with their parents, family and loved ones crying over them.”

Griffin-Ray’s research shows there is no Federal law requiring helmet use by bicycle riders. Only 22 states require helmets for bicycle riders, and some of those states require use only until age 18. Griffin-Ray’s home state of Pennsylvania requires helmets for riders age 12 and under.  

“Having a team like JD Motorsports and driver Mike Wallace involved with raising awareness like this is beyond words,” Griffin-Ray said. “I was shocked when they called and said they wanted to help. Justin was a huge NASCAR fan and he would love the fact Mike’s car is carrying his decal to help take bicycle safety awareness to a national level.”

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