The state’s 2015 motorcycle-related crash statistics don’t mention the serious injuries, pain, surgery and long rehabilitation experienced by Heather Jones of Ellensburg.
On Sept. 20, 2015, Jones’ motorcycle had nearly cleared the intersection of Maple Street and Fourth Avenue on Craig’s Hill in Ellensburg when a vehicle just entering the intersection on her right struck the rear half of her machine.
“I remember as I flew through the air thinking that I must have been hit by a vehicle. I hit my head first, coming to rest on my left side on the pavement,” Jones said. “Because of the adrenaline, I didn’t feel pain in the traditional sense, but I knew my right leg was in immense pain and I thought it was probably broken.”
It was one of 402 crashes that seriously injured motorcyclists in 2015, according to statistics from the state’s Department of Transportation and Traffic Safety Commission. Another 73 motorcyclists died that year.
In the months before, Jones had become a state-certified motorcycle safety and operation instructor. She wanted to join her husband, Les Jones, also an instructor, to improve safety for motorcyclists and vehicle drivers.
The collision at Maple and Fourth (an uncontrolled intersection with no stop signs) for Jones resulted in a smashed and broken right leg, right shoulder and left thumb, along with serious bruises. The two bones of her lower leg had compound fractures.
She said the vehicle driver immediately stopped, came to her side and apologized for hitting her. Heather told the driver to call an ambulance. She said police later told her that the vehicle driver was at fault.
Now, nearly two years later and despite the collision’s painful aftermath, Heather continues to enjoy riding her motorcycle. It’s also her continued goal to teach others about safety — for both…