Motorcyclists mourn passing of local advocate

As an older sibling, Kyle resident Bud Allen understood the gravity his actions have on his immediate family.

From the moment he was bitten by the motorcycle riding bug at a young age, Bud knew it was a “natural evolution” for his sister, Kim, to get involved in the culture, too.

And so Kim did, making not only a name for herself in the male-oriented motorcycle community, but also one of a caring and upbeat person who ensured everyone was safe while on the road.

It was that demeanor many remember about Kim Bennett, who passed away earlier this month after succumbing to injuries suffered during a freak May motorcycle accident on FM 1626 in Buda.

One of those was Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell, who supervised Bennett while she was employed at Mitchell Motor Sports, which his family owns.

Mitchell said Bennett was upbeat, but was also passionate about her work. He recalled how Bennett always took motorcycle safety seriously, going so far as to scolding him once when he failed to properly gear-up for a short errand he ran on a bike.

“Her favorite thing was to educate new riders on motorcycle safety,” Mitchell said. “She’d spend lots of time talking about the importance of proper riding gear.”

But he also remembered someone who loved to crack jokes and make people smile – how Bennett always loved to give gifts and celebrate birthdays with fellow employees.

It was her passion for motorcycle riding that Mitchell remembered most. It was enough that Bennett was beloved by the entire community and regularly interacted with fellow riders across the area.

“She was so loved by the entire motorcycle community,” Mitchell said. “If you put together an event, she could find 100 riders just by inviting her friends. That’s why the community took it so hard.”

Kyle resident Kim Bennett (right) poses with Buddy, her brother, at the Railhouse in Kyle. Area residents honored Bennett, who passed away earlier this month following a May motorcycle accident in the Buda area. (Photo Courtesy of Bud Allen)

Allen said Bennett’s passion for motorcycle riding was initially forged when she was 16 years old. Allen recalled how his sister always had a thirst for knowledge of all things motorcycle related, from gear to how the machine worked.

Over time, Bennett began to slowly immerse herself in the riding community. She did so based on her motorcycle savvy and skill on the road.

“She knew more about bikes than most guys do,” Allen said. “She didn’t use herself as a female to gain traction. She felt like she lost it if she did.”

The independence of riding a motorcycle is what drew Bennett into the world of motorcycles, Allen said. That feeling helped Bennett to encourage other women to take up motorcycle riding as well.

Allen said riding a motorcycle allows the operator to briefly escape from the realities of the world. It forces a rider to completely devote their entire energy and focus into the ride because “you don’t have time to think about your problems.”

“If you’re having trouble with your job, kids or spouse, when you ride motorcycle, you don’t get to think about that stuff,” Allen said. “With both hands and feet it takes to drive this machine, your eyes have to be on a swivel.”

Area resident Tara Hanson said Bennett was the driving force behind her learning how to ride a motorcycle four years ago. Before then, Hanson had always been a passenger on a motorcycle, but yearned to be able to operate one.

Through Bennett’s tutelage, Hanson spent numerous weekends and free time learning the rules of the road on a bike, no matter if it was a dirt or street machine.

Hanson said Bennett fit so well into the culture, and everyone gravitated toward her, since she had such a bubbly, happy-go-lucky personality.

“She was encouraging women to get out in the industry and learn how to ride. She was encouraging women to get out,” Hanson said.

For Allen, the support shown by the local community was a “humbling experience.” Hundreds came out to a support concert for Bennett during her fight in intensive care following the accident.

“We support each other and I think that’s the most appealing thing of it,” Allen said.

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