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Alayna Vallejo's Story

"A helmet saved my life."

Bismarck resident Alayna Vallejo is a typical high school junior who loves hanging out with her friends and spending her free time outdoors with her family.

We hike, we bike, we go on walks. We like spending time outside,” explains Alayna.

A lot of our family vacations focus on the outdoors. We do a lot of state parks and national parks,” adds Alayna’s mom, Jill.

One item the family always packs no matter where the adventure takes them: bicycle helmets.

My kids have always worn their helmets. I remember buying the little, tiny helmets and upgrading. I have pictures of them sitting on skateboards at two years old, wearing their helmets,” said Jill.

As a student, Alayna loves challenges. She completed high school math as a sophomore and now takes pre-calculus and advanced placement environmental sciences. As a cyclist, she says you “can make it as hard as you want.” In June of 2022, Alayna encountered a challenge she never expected while on the road. 

There was a car at the intersection, and he looked both ways. I thought he would have seen me, but he turned right while looking left and that’s when I got run over,” said Alayna.

Thankfully, like so many other bike rides before, Alayna was wearing her helmet. After getting hit, Alayna’s head was the only thing not underneath the vehicle’s front bumper. Her two bike tires were pinned underneath the vehicle’s front tires, breaking the bike.

Alayna suffered significant road rash over many parts of her body. “My pants were just shredded,” she said. It could have been much worse if her head had to absorb the impact of the road when she landed. The road cracked her helmet instead.   

I’ve thought about that a lot. I do think (my helmet) protected me from so many things, possibly death,” said Alayna.

Alayna can now get back to the challenges of pre-calculous and AP environmental sciences, thanks to her helmet.

It saved my life,” she said.

It took Alayna a while to get back on a bike again – a family trip to Glacier National Park that included a 25-mile bike trip straight up a mountain. Even though the bike ride was nowhere near passing vehicles, Alayna and her family were sure to wear their helmets.