• May 02, 2022

Chance Niles Killed in Motorcycle Accident on US-30 in Denison, IA

Denison, IA -- April 28, 2022, 37-year-old Chance Niles was killed when his motorcycle collided with a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 30 in Denison.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:00 a.m. on the 1300 block of US-30 near South Main Street. Preliminary investigation suggests Niles was riding a Yamaha motorcycle west at speeds alleged to be higher than the posted limit when he approached a Kenworth 18-wheeler, also headed west.

According to reports the truck driver changed lanes into the path of the fast-moving motorcycle. Niles was unable to slow down and lost control, hitting a cutout curb. He was partially ejected from the bike after hitting the curb and landed in the roadway, where he went underneath the semi-trailer.

Niles was transported to a Denison hospital where he was later pronounced dead. No other injuries were reported.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Chance Niles Accident on Hwy 30 in Denison

When I read the news about this accident, I see mentions of the motorcycle rider's alleged speed. That's not unusual based on what I've seen over the years, as the public and sometimes even investigators seem to fixate a lot on motorcyclists' behavior instead of looking at the greater context of a crash.

For instance, so far I don't see much attention paid to the idea that a truck driver cut off approaching traffic. Just about any driver should know better than to change lanes if they see someone coming up fast in their mirror. Did the trucker check his mirrors and blind spots before merging, or did he just switch over without taking precautions? That's not an accusation, just a real question that needs answering--one of many--before anyone should feel comfortable saying who's to blame for the victim's fatal injuries.

Chance Niles Killed in Motorcycle Accident on US-30 in Denison, IA

Whether they realize it or not, may people fall prey to certain notions about motorcyclists being reckless daredevils. It's true riders can make mistakes like anyone else, but they're not as careless as they're often depicted. In fact many of them are extremely cautious because they know other folks don't always keep a proper lookout for them (which as I mentioned is a potential concern in the Denison crash). Moreover, motorcycles don't have the benefit of seatbelts or airbags, so many riders realize safety is more a matter of prevention for them.

Of course the news rarely talks about well-behaved riders who don't crash, so people who see reports about motorcycle wrecks start to think every rider is reckless. That point of view can be pretty harmful after a crash like the one in Denison because those cultivated biases keep people from giving the rider the benefit of the doubt.

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 deserve.

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