He was hit by a van at a junction while riding in Austin, Texas, on Saturday night - and his female passenger was killed instantly.
Benson, 36, was reportedly conscious and responsive when emergency crews arrived, but died shortly afterwards.
"Very sad day with the passing of Longhorn Legend Cedric Benson," the University of Texas football team tweeted. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and our community of lettermen. He will be missed."
Benson had posted an image of a motorcycle to his Instagram account just hours before the crash, with the caption: "My Saturday evening"surrounded by hearts.
He was the 9th-leading rusher in college football history, with 5,540 yards. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons as a Texas Longhorn, scoring 64 career rushing touchdowns.
He won the Doak Walker Award - given to the nation's top running back - after he rushed for 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns.
His three seasons in Chicago were considered a disappointment, but he found success with Bengals, where he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in three of his four seasons with the team.
He was forced into retirement by a foot injury in 2012.
Benson had multiple run-ins with the law. His lawyer said that while his client was “imperfect in some respects”, “once Cedric was your friend, you understood how kind, sensitive and loyal he was as a man.”