This podcast was recorded in December of 2017 with Martin Krieg from the national nonprofit National Bicycle Greenway and Shaana Rahman of Rahman Law PC.
It is part of the Mountain Movers Podcast Series. The series focuses on people who are taking giant steps for the betterment of cyclists and the planet itself. Mr. Krieg recorded from Indianapolis. Shaana Rahman of Rahman Law PC discusses her life riding bicycles, working as a bicycle accident attorney, advocating for bicyclist safety, riding in San Francisco, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Click below to visit the National Bicycle Greenway website with the original podcast, or listen here:
Krieg: Shaana, before we get into bikes and law, where did you grow up at?
Shaana: I grew up in Long Island, New York.
Krieg: Is there city out there you grew up in?
Shaana: Sure, Massapequa, Nassau County.
Krieg: Massapequa, huh, ok?
Krieg: Did you ride a bike there much?
Shaana: I did. I had my first red Schwinn when I was a kid. With some big city money I think. It wasn’t my first bike, but it was the first bike I bought myself.
Krieg: Really, was it like a Schwinn Varsity or something like that?
Shaana: It was a baby bike. So it wasn’t even a ten-speed. The Varsity was the second one. But it was like a thick Schwinn with no hand brakes. Like an —
Krieg: So it was a coaster brake. You stepped on the back pedal.
Shaana: It was bright red
Krieg: Where’d you get the money for it, did you have a paper route?
Krieg: Oh you did? You had a paper route?
Shaana: Yeah, my brother and I did. I would help him, we’d split it. We were industrious kids because we grew up kinda poor. We’d do our jobs and make money.
Krieg: Wow. I can’t tell you how many bikes and things I bought with a paper route money. Kids don’t have that luxury any more. God bless paper money.
Shaana: Yep, no more paper route.
Kreig: Yeah, geez, isn’t that wild. I guess probably I’m going to skip a few years. You were a kid in Long Island, was there a lot of riding around there, did you ride much?
Shaana: A lot of riding, we used to ride our bikes; that was our freedom you know.
Kreig: Yeah, really?
Shaana: Every day, yeah. It was a time when you’d just get on your bike, at like, you know 6/7/8, and our parents didn’t care and we’d ride in a group. We’d go all through the neighborhood. You know, back then no helmets, no nothing – but big wide streets, and it was safe and it was the thing that our parents would let us do.
Kreig: Did you ever go on long rides in Long Island?
Shaana: Yeah, we used to do our long ride during summer. We used to ride out to Jones Beach.
Kreig: Jones Beach?
Shaana: 10 or 15 miles, yeah, Jones Beach.
Kreig: Did you ever make it up to Port Jefferson?
Shaana: No, we couldn’t ride that far.
Kreig: That’s too far, huh!
Shaana: After I moved up to San Francisco I didn’t ride for a while because it was kind of terrifying to me and I didn’t have a lot of time because I was in Law School and starting my first Law job so I was working probably 60, 70, 90 hours a week. When I got my first Plaintiffs job working for a firm representing injured people I started doing a lot of bicycle and motorcycle cases representing the rights of bicyclists and motorcyclist and that’s when I started getting back into getting back on the bike in San Francisco.
Kreig: Were you a member of the SFBC [San Francisco Bicycle Coalition] back then?
Shaana: I became a member of the SFBC when I opened my firm about 10 years ago.
Kreig: That would have been 2004/2007 or so?
Shaana: 2007, yeah.
Kreig: Were you active with the SFBC?
Shaana: I have been active with them for the last 10 years. I’ve had the pleasure of sponsoring a number of their programs over the years and attending all of their great events. The most recent thing I’ve been doing with them is sponsoring a fairly new program with them, it’s their Women Who Ride program and it’s basically a social and educational program for women riders. They do group rides and put on presentations about things that might be relevant to riders.
Kreig: Aweseome. Wow. So how do you feel about riding in San Franicsco now? Have you gotten over your fear?
Shaana: I have gotten over my fear. It took some time but I would force myself to you know, 8/9 years ago, ride up and down Market Street. And that’s the way, back then, to get over your fear.
Kreig: No kidding
Shaana: Just riding. Now riding on Market Street is almost pleasurable. Not totally, but there have been so many great improvements.
Shaana: It took a lot there but SFBC was really helpful there because it gave me a community of people who could share stories and, you know, tell you what the best route is, or just gives you that kind of help, I think.
Shaana: City riding has been very different from what I was used to. It’s not big, wide open streets with very few cars. It’s the very opposite of that, so it was really learning how to navigate urban riding.
Kreig: As well as the railroad tracks.
Shaana: Right, 90 degrees, 90 degrees!