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Man biking cross county to raise awareness of distracted driving

As part of his journey, he is raising money for TextLess Live More, a nonprofit started by the parents of an 18-year-old killed on a bike trip.

BOULDER, Colorado — A cyclist from Connecticut is biking cross-country to raise awareness about distracted driving.

Ben Grannis embarked on his journey on September 21 from the East Coast. The total trip will be 10,000 miles. On Sunday, he took a rest day in Boulder after almost two weeks on his bike.

"There are challenges every day, but there is always something to look forward to," said Grannis, who is originally from Connecticut. 

As part of his journey, he is raising money for TextLess Live More, a nonprofit started by the parents of Merritt Levitan. The 18-year-old was killed in 2013 while on a bike trip with Grannis' former company Overland Summers, an outfitter that takes kids on hiking and biking trips. 

While he was not with the company at the time, Grannis felt a connection with the nonprofit and is using this bike trip to promote greater awareness for distracted driving. 

"It is an incredible mix of sensations and emotions. I am really happy to be able to spread this message," Grannis said. "The message of ending distracted driving became more important as I had more miles on the road and realized how important it’s been to have distraction-free driving." 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 800 cyclists are killed every year by cars.

"I think it comes back to awareness and knowing that a text that you get while you are on the road means nothing in the scheme of things if it results in the loss of life," Grannis said. 

So far, Grannis has ridden about 3,000 miles. His route will take him to Seattle, then south toward San Diego and east to Florida. 

The goal is to raise $50,000 by the end of the route. Grannis is currently at $16,000. 

If you'd like to give, you can do so here.

RELATED: 'It just takes a second': Distracted driving causes 15,000 crashes a year

RELATED: As SUVs and trucks get bigger, more cyclists and pedestrians die on Colorado roads


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