In honor of Asif, around 75 people came out on July 27, 2008 to join Transportation Alternatives and Councilmember Jim Gennaro, elected officials and community advocates from across Queens to call for safer bicycling and walking on Queens Boulevard. We need your help to bring a protected bike lane and pedestrian safety improvements to this perennially dangerous street.
The rally was reported on in the Daily News and AM-NY
Since then, the Queens Committee of Transportation Alternatives has ridden Queens Boulevard together monthly in support of a bike lane.
On February 28, 2008, Asif Rahman, was doing what he loved to do -- riding his bike on his way back home from work -- when he was crushed to death by a reckless truck driver on Queens Boulevard. He died instantly from internal injuries. The truck driver was not charged or ticketed. Asif's mother said:
Asif was on his way home after a hard day of work. I was waiting for him to come home. He will never come home. I still wait everyday to hear his voice. But he doesn't come home and say 'hi mom'. He will not say it anymore. He was brutally killed by a reckless truck driver.
Asif was a very talented young man. He was a poet, a rapper, an artist, a loving friend to many and a loving brother and son. He was full of life and loved to do beat boxing. His family is going to publish a book of his poems some time soon.
Two days before his death, Asif was hired as a para-professional at PS 58 on Grand Avenue. He was a student of Queens College and wanted to become a music teacher. Asif recorded many songs and was planning to release his music CD on his birthday on June 20th. His family will carry on this wish and release his music CD at his memorial on June 21st, 2008. His mother is also going to publish Asif’s unpublished poems soon.
There are many videos of Asif's various performances and a documentary on him which can be viewed on MySpace at www.myspace.com/asifrahman and U-Tube under the name "metaphysical lyrical wizard" and/or "asifalicious".
Asif was an experienced biker- he used to ride his bike from Jamaica to downtown Manhattan to his second job at Trader Joe's all the time. His bikes would get stolen, but he would just buy another one because he loved to ride. Every time, his mother expressed her concerns about his safety. Asif laughed in response and said:
“Mom, Don’t worry, there are bike lanes everywhere and I carry a bike lane map all the time.”
Unfortunately, there is no bike lane on Queens Boulevard. Now, Asif’s mother Lizi Rahman is working hard to get a bike lane on Queens Boulevard in honor of Asif. Asif's death has highlighted the unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists on this avenue, which has consistently earned its nickname Boulevard of Death.
In his short life Asif touched many lives. People of all races and ages are mourning for him. Asif had many dreams and all his dreams are shattered by a careless truck driver. His family is devastated by his tragic and untimely death.
He is very much missed by his family and many friends, MySpace account into a memorial.
When we installed Asif's ghost bike, his mother, Lizi brought Asif's rap music and played it on the car stereo while we installed the bike and decorated it with flowers. She talked about him and his friends and all of the projects she wants to work on to remember him. At one point, a woman from the neighborhood - a mother who had not witnessed the crash but who had seen the aftermath came by and introduced herself. Mothers embraced in tears.
Family Of Biker Calls For Queens Blvd. Bike Lane
by Jillian Abbott, Chronicle Reporter
At a memorial service for Asif Rahman, 22, who was killed while riding his bike on Queens Boulevard last February, his family called for a bike lane to be built on the dangerous thoroughfare.
They were joined by members of ghost bikes.org and volunteers with the New York City Street Memorial Project at the scene of the accident that left Rahman dead.
The contingent of cyclist had met up on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge and rode in a convoy to the tribute.
A white bike was chained to a parking sign post at the scene as a permanent memorial to Rahman, who was hit by a truck just after 3 p.m. on Feb. 28.
This ceremony is part of a series being held at the site of every fatal accident in the city involving a cyclist. Since 2005, 42 white bikes have been placed around the city, where, according to ghostbikes.org, one pedestrian a week is killed. Each speaker expressed the hope that they wouldn’t need to hold another event like this one.
Ghostbikes.org members also called for a bike lane on Queens Boulevard, saying that safety was paramount to cyclists which brought many benefits to their riders, such as saving money and providing physical exercise. Bikes also benefit the city through less motor vehicle congestion, and help the environment by not generating air and noise pollution.
Family and friends took turns paying tribute to Rahman, who they referred to as the metaphysical lyrical wizard because he was a poet and hip hop artist.
One mourner, Daniel Nanasi, who had made a documentary about Rahman before he died, traveled from Texas to be at the memorial.
Other speakers included Rahman’s mother Lizi Rahman, his younger brother, Nafees and several friends from Queens College.
Ghostbikes.org creates the white bike memorial ceremonies so that those who die in bike accidents will be remembered as real people, not just statistics.
Each speaker joined Rahman’s mother in calling for a bike lane to be added to the busy thoroughfare, known locally as the Boulevard of Death because of the high number of fatal accidents occurring there.
The Queens Chronicle is interested in hearing readers’ views on the question: Should the city build a bicycle lane on Queens Boulevard?