Off-Third: NYU Safe Ride adds skateboard service

Students need reliability when it comes to their safety. Who’s more cautious than New York Skaters?


Kevin Wu and Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Kevin Wu for WSN, Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Lily Ritterman-Peña, Contributing Writer

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

It’s almost the end of the semester, which means that everyone’s money is running out, and they’re all going out as much as they can. And while staying out all hours of the night is fun, especially compared to studying for finals, the trip back home might not be. The limited number of available Safe Ride drivers and a flawed interface have left students frustrated and, at times, hopeless. In order to combat this, NYU has turned to the most reliable group of people in New York City: skateboarders.

 NYU has partnered with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in order to recruit skaters from different parks around the city. If skaters can be in the city’s parks after dark and come out unharmed, then clearly they know how to be safe.

 “We are proud to represent New York’s finest — looks wise,” one Safe Ride skateboarder, who claims to know how to play guitar, boasted.

Adding skaters, people who are used to the streets, just made sense. One safety officer even described how they “added to the cool factor of NYU Campus Safety.” 

 Once the city’s parks are closed, the skaters are offered free stick-and-poke tattoos and hand-rolled cigarettes in exchange for escorting NYU students to their dorms late at night. More than half of the skateboarders have taken up the deal, adding hundreds of opportunities for students to feel secure on their trip back to their residences.

 These skaters are then given a harness, which connects them to a small crate that goes behind them. Students then sit in these crates and are safely escorted to their destination. Unfortunately, only one student may ride in these carts at a time.

The long wait times and faulty applications of the old Safe Ride system are only exacerbated by bad weather. Last weekend, as the rain poured down on the streets of New York City, the wait time for pickup was nearly four hours long.

 One sophomore described that she got to the location where she was set to be picked up, but the pick-up time changed so many times that she was the victim of 47 pickpocket attempts before the car arrived. Another student described how they booked a ride that was said to be 15 minutes away, but when they tracked the car on the app an hour later, they saw that it was dropping people off at Newark.

 Many are praising NYU for promoting environmentally friendly modes of transportation, but others are left a little concerned. They are worried that the smoke from the skateboarders’ cigarettes might harm those with preexisting lung conditions.

 To accommodate, Safe Ride is attempting to phase in various other modes of transportation, including roller skaters, hoverboarders and people that do parkour on Citi Bikes.

 The new program is not a perfect solution. Car accidents are always an inherent risk when skateboarding, especially if you’re attached to a skateboarder by a rope. There have even been a few reports of Safe Ride vehicles colliding with Safe Ride skateboarders, with students attached. Thankfully, only about three dozen accidents have occurred since the implementation of the program, which took place last night.

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Lily Ritterman-Peña at [email protected].