How to stay safe while having fun

Laura Bucklin

There is a constant drone of people talking, singing and yelling. The line at Jimmy Johns and Super Dog is too long to bear, and everywhere people are texting. A tall, skinny girl runs to greet a friend and clumsily trips over her high heels. A boy in the distance starts arguing with a bouncer. A couple of freshman wearing backpacks make their way to Cyclone Plaza.

One girl answers a phone call and says, “I’m right here,” as she waves at a car on Welch Avenue and gets in. This is a typical scenario in Campustown on a weekend. One can only hope this driver was sober.

Everyone has had the lecture on how to be safe at a bar. We’ve all been told to never leave our drink unattended, never take drinks from strangers, etc. What about when you’re leaving?

It is important to always have a safe route home after a night out. It is great when people have their designated drivers, but too often people don’t.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2008, drunk driving caused 22 percent of the fatal car accidents in Iowa.

There are many other alternatives within Ames when finding a ride home.

CyRide is a great form of transportation at night. CyRide has a route called the Moonlight Express. It operates from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. throughout the normal school year.

“Moonlight express provides a safe ride home from whatever activities students are doing at night,” said Barb Neal, CyRide’s operation supervisor.

The Moonlight Express runs to Campustown, downtown, west Ames and southeast Ames. They also provide door-to-door buses operating in the areas of Ames not covered by the shuttle routes.

To schedule a ride on the Moonlight, call 515.292.1100 after 10:15 p.m. The dispatcher will then tell you if there is a shuttle near. If there isn’t, then a minibus will be sent to your location.

Safety escort is another option for those who can’t find a safe ride home. The Department of Public Safety operates the service. It runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The number for this service is 515.294.4444.

Sergeant Elliott Florer said the escort is good for anyone who is concerned with his or her safety. The safety escort will transfer anyone on campus to another spot on campus including sororities and fraternities.

“Some people are afraid to call, because they don’t know if their situation is an emergency,” Florer said. “If you had had too much to drink and don’t know where you’re at please call the police or escort service and we’ll be there to help.”

If the safety escort is not for you, then you can always take a taxi. Ames Taxi is in service 24/7/365. This service can be reached at 515.232.1343. A taxi is also a guaranteed designated driver, so it’s definitely worth the small fair.

Finally, it is always important to remember to always utilize the buddy system.

“The buddy method is fantastic as far as safety goes,” Florer said. “It’s when people get left behind that bad stuff could happen.”

Ames is an easy town to get around in at night, but you just have to be smart about it. Utilizing the various transportation options is an easy way to stay safe, and the people involved with these all the services truly want to help.

“I have a lot of love and passion for the university,” Florer said. “It’s my primary mission to keep people safe.”

With services like CyRide, safety escort and Ames Taxi there is no reason why we can’t guarantee our fun nights will turn into good mornings.