• April 18, 2022

Motorcyclist Killed in Crash on US-290 in Travis County, TX

Travis County, TX -- April 15, 2022, a motorcyclist was killed in a collision with another vehicle on West U.S. Highway 290 in west Travis County.

Authorities say the incident happened just before 1:45 a.m. along the 8600-8841 block of US-290 West near Circle Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests a Kawasaki motorcycle was traveling east on the highway at alleged high speeds when it approached an International dump truck that had just turned onto the road fro a private drive.

Investigators believe the motorcyclist wasn't paying attention and failed to reduce speed. Just before hitting the truck the rider allegedly took faulty evasive action and steered away, hitting a nearby construction barrier. It rebounded and hit the right side of the dump truck.

The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Motorcycle Accident on US-290 in Travis County

Accidents like this are often more complex than folks may realize. Motorcyclists have to endure a lot of harmful misconceptions about them and their choice of vehicle, which can often put them at a disadvantage from the outset. Even investigators can succumb to that bias, which can lead them to say a rider was drinking or speeding. Both as well as inattention were suggested here, which I have a feeling would be enough for most to conclude the rider is wholly to blame. That's almost certainly premature until someone else takes a closer look.

Motorcyclist Killed in Crash on US-290 in Travis County, TX

One detail that stands out to me in reports is that the dump truck turned onto the roadway in front of the motorcycle. While I suppose the truck driver must have assumed he had adequate time and space to do that, would it really have hurt to wait for the bike to go by before making the turn? Is that area well-lit? Police say the rider was distracted, but is it possible he just couldn't see the truck very well until he was almost on top of it? This wouldn't be the first time a dark-colored or dirty truck made an almost-invisible roadblock that triggered a late-night crash.

I'm not saying motorcyclists can't make mistakes, but the truth is most are quite responsible in the saddle. Some are even overly cautious because they know other drivers don't always keep a proper lookout for them. Moreover, motorcycles don't have the benefit of seatbelts or airbags, so riders know their safety generally depends on prevention. The news never talks about all the responsible riders that don't crash, however, so people end up with the impression that they're all reckless daredevils. That point of view can be pretty harmful after a motorcycle accident because those biases keep people from giving the rider the benefit of the doubt.

Hard evidence could still confirm the rider messed up. Motorcyclists aren't exempt from causing accidents, even when they're the ones hurt. The problem lies in deciding fault right away, then refusing to budge. Many riders are cheated out of the help they deserve by that kind of thinking. Maybe authorities are giving this incident the careful attention it deserves, but in my experience it often takes more thorough independent investigations to ensure a motorcyclist's family gets the answers they need. Closer examination by a trained expert might just confirm a simple explanation, but only after the job is done right can anyone say for sure.

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