Steamboat Springs A member of the Colorado State Patrol wants to give more high school students the means to become better drivers.
In June, he plans to put some muscle to his mettle.
Trooper Brad Keadle will participate in the "Ride the Rockies" bicycle tour to raise money for at least 100 students to enroll in a program that emphasizes defensive driving.
The tour takes more than 2,000 cyclists 489 miles through the Rocky Mountains.
The Alive at 25 program serves to provide early intervention to prevent traffic violations, collisions and fatalities among 15- to 24-year-old drivers.
Many high schools in the state have recently cut the program in response to tightening budgets.
But Keadle doesn't want the financial burden to prevent high schools from offering the course, said Leslie Bellinger, program coordinator for Alive at 25.
High schools in Hayden and Oak Creek sponsored the course and made it mandatory for all students until financial strains forced the districts to cut the program from its budget.
"He is very motivated by this," she said.
Bellinger applauded Keadle's efforts to raise money for youths to experience Alive at 25.
Although he will look first to funding the program in local schools, Keadle wants to extend the opportunity to high schools throughout the state.
The bicycle tour will pass through seven towns whose schools are no longer able to offer the Alive at 25 course free to students.
Keadle, a trooper with the Colorado State Patrol for eight years, sees firsthand the consequences of poor driving skills among youths.
The first fatal crash he encountered on the job involved a 17-year-old boy from Hayden.
The investigation revealed the crash was caused by the teen-ager's inattention to the road.
The avoidable death prompted Keadle to begin considering ways to curb death and injury among young drivers.
"I thought, 'There has got to be more to this than troopers just handing out tickets,'" he said.
Keadle serves on the Accident Reconstruction Team, which determines the cause of serious and fatal accidents.
He has worked as a driving course instructor with the Alive at 25 program for four years.
Older adults often choose to ignore the problem of driving fatalities among youths.
"A lot of time people my age have a tendency to think it's the way it's always been," he said.
Young drivers face many inherent dangers that can be countered with education and more experience behind the wheel, he said.
Statistics show 26 people between the ages of 16 and 24 die in traffic-related accidents every day.
If a major catastrophe caused 26 casualties, people would be incited to do something about the situation, he said.
"But the American people have accepted the fact that there's no really big push to do anything about it," Keadle said. "That's unacceptable."
Keadle was convinced to put something back into Alive at 25 when he learned that some high school students did not have the opportunity to participate because of financial concerns.
"Ride the Rockies" gave him a chance to do something physically challenging and still contribute to a cause he believes in, he said.
"I thought I could combine my decision to ride something big with this and create a tool to make people more aware of the inherent problem," he said.
The 489-mile trip begins and ends in Alamosa. The first leg of the seven-day tour sends cyclists on a 99-mile stretch that includes Wolf Creek Pass, one of five climbs of more than 10,000 feet.
Daily mileage for the rest of the week averages 65 miles and concludes with an 83-mile ride from Salida.
Anyone who would like to make a pledge of any amount to Keadle's effort should call the Colorado State Patrol at (303) 239-4536 or the Craig office at 824-4821.