Painful Loss Spurs Motorcycle Safety Crusade

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 12, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 6:07 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A Fort Wayne motorcycle enthusiast is trumpeting a message of "safety first" on the heels of a terrible loss.

Tim Peffley wants to turn a painful tragedy into a teaching moment for the local driving public.

" It's a very dangerous activity, I'd like to emphasize that, and you have to be on guard at all times," says Peffley, who feels like that truth was branded into his soul.

September 13th, 2011 his 25-year old son Justin Peffley was riding a motorcycle on Coldwater Road, when he ran into the back of a car and was thrown into a barrier wall.

He died of blunt force trauma to the head.

He wasn't wearing a helmet.

Tim Peffley says the most important pieces of advice he has for people driving cars and motorcycles alike is double check your surroundings when popping over a hill or approaching an intersection, and don't drive with an attitude of impatience or aggression.

" I had two boys and you know, it's kind of like losing half the family. It was just a real heartache to lose him. To emphasize safety for other people's children and their friends, it's something that you go through, because you want to put some meaning into your loss," Peffley said.

Tim Peffley has been riding bikes for 38 years. He always wears his helmet. But he doesn't support the idea of people being forced, by law, to wear a helmet.

" If a guy is a law abiding citizen and he is old enough to go fight for his country, we have enough government intrusion on the decisions that we make," Peffley said.

For the record, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation says you should dress for safety and wear a quality helmet and eye protection.

It also advocates that bikers should pretend they're invisible and ride extra defensively.

Peffley is helping organize a safety awareness ride Thursday afternoon, hoping to curtail the chances that other families have to endure the nightmare his family was put through.

The safety awareness ride launches from Early Birds nightclub on Wells Street at 5:30 Thursday evening.

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