Road Rad: A benefit for a friend on the mend
Soapbox Laundro Lounge
255 N. Front Street • $8-$10
Friday, 8/5, 10 p.m.
Wilmington is a wonderful city, and I absolutely adore living downtown. Yet, there is one looming problem almost every time I walk, ride a bike or even drive: Someone isn’t paying attention or caution to stop signs, signals or others who share the road–especially bikers or moped riders. The end result is often a little scare, fender bender or sometimes much worse.
As readers may or may not know, local and much-beloved resident Sarah Nilson was involved in an accident July 1st. While riding her moped along with several friends following, an SUV turned directly into Nilson, seemingly sending her flying off her bike and breaking her leg (tibia and fibula). Nilson had 30-plus staples, in addition to a rod and pins added to her anatomy. Luckily, she is well on her way to recovery due to a positive spirit and active lifestyle.
Friend Kelly Sweitzer believes recovery isn’t enough. For this reason, Sweitzer, along with countless friends and acquaintances of Sarah, have pulled together to put on what they’ve deemed “Road Rad: A benefit for a friend on the mend.”
“Everybody immediately wanted to help,” she says, “with a call to arms coming together within two days of the accident. Everyone really cares for Sarah. She’s a ray of sunshine and positive person.”
Road Rad will feature popular local bands like Unholy Tongues, monkeyknifefight, Mortal Man and No Tomorrow, all connected somehow to Nilson and touched by her friendship. The benefit will also include a raffle, with prizes donated from the family of local businesses like Doublewide Skate and Surf, Chop’s Deli, Wilmington Tattoo, Flaming Amy’s, Mellow Mushroom, The Soapbox and more. The event’s Facebook page is already flooded with supportive comments and attendance confirmations.
What started as reaching a helping hand to a friend has become very much about awareness of cars and bikes sharing the road. “It’s not a new thing we’re trying to do,” Sweitzer says, “because it’s not a new problem.” Awareness events are already in place, like Wilmington’s Critical Mass, which takes place on the last Friday of every month. It draws attention to using bikes as transportation and sharing the road. “We’re already talking about making this a yearly event, too,” Sweitzer adds.
Nilson, who has bartended for the Soapbox for almost eight years, as well as at Satellite, couldn’t be more touched by her friends’ actions and support. “I don’t even know how to show my gratitude because it’s super overwhelming,” she says. But she insists that Road Rad should be more about people learning what it means to be safe and supportive of all drivers on Wilmington’s roadways more than her specific recovery.
“I love to ride [mopeds and bikes] because I’ve never had a license,” Nilson admits. “I’m definitely scared now, [but] I don’t think I would ever not ride.”
Steve Hart of the band No Tomorrow was one of the first to jump in for his friend and the cause. As Hart sees it, riding is more than a hobby or transportation; it’s a lifestyle—a needlessly dangerous one at times.
“I’ve been hit on my bike,” he reveals, “and I’ve known a lot of people who’ve been hit. I think it is something drivers don’t think about. I feel like there are a lot of new people using bikes as transportation that probably don’t pay attention.”
Safety on the roads is a shared responsibility, a collaboration between drivers, bikers, mopeders and pedestrians. There’s no room for blame, just acceptance of one another—a tune the Soapbox will be singing until everyone is safe on the road.
To show support for a good cause and help out a community friend of downtown, the Soapbox Laundro-Lounge hosts a bevy of local bands and prizes from favorite restaurants and businesses. Road Rad will be held Friday, August 5th, at 10 p.m.-ish, with doors opening earlier and tickets selling for $8 or $10 for people under 21.