AUSTIN (KXAN) — Friends and family members of a motorcyclist who fell to her death on a US 183 and MoPac Expressway flyover are calling for a change.
In a plea to Mayor Steve Adler’s office, city councilors and TxDOT, a petition posted on Change.org asks for a review of the flyovers across Austin to examine the safety.
Brandy Eileen Allatt, who knew the victim, 28-year-old Megan Brennan, is behind the movement.
“I was on Facebook after Meg died, talking to friends and somebody said, ‘Why don’t you start a petition?’ and I said, ‘OK, but I need your help, it can’t just be me. It needs to be all of us,'” Allatt said.
Allatt met Brennan through Elysium — a nightclub in downtown Austin. A group of their friends would gather there weekly.
“It was a shock, it was a shock to all of us,” Allatt said. “Everybody loved her, it was very easy to like Meg.”
Allatt said after Brennan’s death, she noticed a trend — one she wanted to put a stop to. “This has affected so many people. Six people on motorcycles have died on flyovers [in Austin] in the last decade that I’ve found from my own research.” In February, a woman riding a motorcycle fell off the US 290 flyover onto Koenig Lane. Another woman died in a similar incident in 2014, also at MoPac and US 183.
In the first 12 hours after creating the petition, more than 250 people signed their name. And the number continues to grow.
“I don’t think anybody in Austin wants to see another senseless death of somebody falling over a flyover rail that is only up their hips,” Allatt says.
Allatt points to some potential solutions she hopes TxDOT will consider. “There are other cities that have high chain link fencing on their flyovers — nets. There a number of ways they could choose to address this.”
In a statement released to KXAN, TxDOT says:
It’s a tragedy anytime someone dies on a Texas roadway. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not have enough details about the incident to make a recommendation on barriers or other safety solutions; therefore, we respectfully decline the opportunity to perform an on-camera interview.”
TxDOT’s number one priority is safety and we strive to ensure our roadways are safe for travelers in every way practical. The rail on the flyover ramp at US 183 and MoPac is 32” tall. It is a T501 rail, which is a concrete safety shaped parapet that meets the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350, Test Level 4.The barrier is set in accordance with the current Federal Highway Administration design standards and is based on crash testing.”
While we will continue to do everything we can to keep motorists safe on and along our roadways, it’s important to note that safety is a two-part solution. Motorists must also make responsible decisions and drive safely every time they’re in the driver’s seat.
Allatt says she will continue to push for a change.
“We can’t bring Meg back, but we can maybe save another child from having to grow up without their mother and save another parent from having to bury their child.”
Brennan’s family has set up a GoFundMe account with the money going towards helping take care of her 6-year-old son.