Zebra Misc

Alexandria Bicyclist Killed in Car Crash Remembered at Memorial Bike Ride June 6 

Bicyclists set off from Smithsonian Metro Station, headed to Old Town for outdoor memorial. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

Alexandria, VA – Shortly before 6:00 pm on Thursday June 6, a bicyclist rolled onto the National Mall, stopping at the Smithsonian Metro Station. And then another bicyclist. And then another. Soon a steady stream of cyclists, forming a somber cavalcade, arrived at the meeting spot. 75 bicyclists from all over the DC area came to take part in a memorial bike ride to eulogize one of their own – 64-year-old Scott Cornell Binde of Alexandria, an avid cyclist, who was killed in a crash on June 1, north of Frederick, Maryland.  

Scott Binde on the Haines Point Loop in 2021. Photo: courtesy Lee Mitchell

According to police, a Toyota 4Runner collided with Binde around 3:30 pm on U.S. Route 15, killing Binde as he crossed Catoctin Furnace Road. Binde was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver remained at the site and the cause of the crash is still under investigation. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the collision.   

Binde was bicycling with two friends when the crash occurred. It happened two weeks after Bike to Work Day May 17, a national day to promote bicycling as an alternate means of transportation, and biking safety. Binde’s death has rocked the DMV bicycling community. 

Lee Mitchell told Zebra his close friend of nearly 30 years “died doing what he loved.” Mitchell co-founded OutRiders with Binde in 2013, a bicycling organization for the LBGTQ+ community. The group runs a regular Thursday night ride from DC to Alexandria but on this night, Mitchell turned it into a memorial ride stretching from the Smithsonian Metro to Queen Street in Old Town Alexandria, where a remembrance was held in front of Binde’s house.  

About 30 friends and family members began gathering on Queen Street well before the long line of riders appeared. Binde’s two brothers and sister traveled to Alexandria for the memorial.  

Bicycle procession heading from the National Mall to Alexandria. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

One of those waiting for the bicycling brigade was Randy Cole. He is education chair for Alexandria Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). Cole told Zebra he first met Scott Binde during “the battle of King Street” in 2014 when the two advocated for bike lanes at City Council hearings. One marathon session began at 10:00 am and did not end until after 8 pm. Cole was impressed with Binde’s strong testimony. 

Bicycle cavalcade headed towards the 14th Street Bridge, en route to Old Town Alexandria. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

And then the long line of bicyclists turned from West Street onto Queen. Mitchell later told Zebra that he had reached out to DC and Arlington police but did not hear back. Alexandria police, however, met the procession at the city line and escorted the cyclists all the way to the memorial. Officers also cordoned off Queen Street to allow space for the bicyclists and speakers. 

Lee Mitchell welcomed the crowd. He shared that he met Binde in the 1990s when Mitchell was coming out. Binde was already organizing bicycle rides for the gay and lesbian community. The two men developed a close friendship over the years and went on to found OutRiders. 

Randy Cole, education chair for Alexandria Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, waiting for the memorial riders. Photo: Judith Fogel/The Zebra Press

“Scott had a vision by which OutRiders could bring together a community and bring a sense of companionship to the LGBT community,” Mitchell told the gathered audience. Fighting back tears, Mitchell called Binde “quite a leader,” and praised “Scott’s welcoming demeanor and love for cycling.” 

Mitchell continued, “Saturday’s event was a shock for everybody. When an experienced rider like Scott is killed on a highway, that means there’s a lot more work that we need to do.” He urged the crowd to work for better bicycling infrastructure.  

“If there had been a pedestrian or bicycle crossing signal at that spot, Scott would be alive today.” 

Lee Mitchell, far right, OutRiders co-founder, opening the memorial proceedings on Queen Street outside Binde’s house. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

Infrastructure and bicycling safety were on the minds of several of the speakers who rose to remember their friend and mentor. Kate (KJ) Phillips is women’s representative for the Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association. She said Binde brought her into OutRiders.  

“I was one of those riders who struggled to keep up. Scott still encouraged me and kept me going. He encouraged me to come back again and again. He saw something in me and he kept pushing me, he kept asking, hey, I want to see you go try this.” 

Phillips concluded, “Scott means so much to me and I was very stunned to hear of his passing.” 

Over a hundred fellow bicyclists, family, and friends gather outside Scott Binde’s home on Queen Street for an outdoor memorial. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

Phillips is turning her grief into action. The shock of the crash has renewed her fight for increased bicycle safety. She began working her contacts, began working on a ghost bike to be erected as a permanent memorial at the site where Scott was struck and killed. She said she plans to push for a tunnel or bridge named for Binde at the crash site. Phillips said she’s contacted Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, whom she described as a colleague and a friend.  

“This is a down-home, reaching out, using the contacts, and doing things the way Scott would want them done,” Phillips emphasized. “I miss Scott so much right now.” 

Speaker after speaker described Binde as a passionate bicyclist who spent hours each day riding and who loved organizing group rides and encouraging hesitant riders. He was also remembered as a loyal friend. 

Bicyclists listening to speeches of Binde’s legacy on Queen Street in Old Town, outside Scott Binde’s home. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

Bruce Cabarle, who goes by the nickname Boomer, told of meeting Binde during Freezing Saddles, a winter region-wide bicycling competition. “Scott and I a few years ago, found each other neck and neck on the leader board. This is like some serious obsessive compulsive behavior,” Boomer joked. “It happens in the deep of winter that compels people to get off the couch, go outside and ride their bikes in the hardest weather imaginable.” 

Bicyclists who knew Binde well, consoling each other. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

Boomer and Binde became fast friends. “Scott and I would leapfrog each other on the leader board, wake up every morning before your cup of coffee, I’d log onto the internet and be like, damn! That guy went out and rode 60 miles last night after the sun went down!” 

“I loved listening to his stories,” Jerry Cowden told the participants. “How Scott grew up on a farm in the northwest corner of North Dakota, which for me, a DC suburbanite, was about as exotic as Zanzibar or Borneo!”  Cowden added, “always fascinating to hear him talk, whether it was Lutherans or the sons of Norway or serving in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. He was a diverse man. He was a force of nature and I’ll always remember him.” 

Scott Binde with friends Marjorie Rudinsky and OutRiders co-founder Lee Mitchell. Photo: courtesy Lee Mitchell

Several parishioners from Binde’s church in DC also attended the memorial. Craig recalled hosting an eight-week Bible course at his house. Binde showed up every week. 

Friends who knew Scott Binde share memories of their bicycling leader. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

“It usually ended about 9:00 at night. One session was in the middle of winter. My wife and I realized Scott doesn’t have a car and he’s biking home to Alexandria! It just blew our minds.” 

After the street memorial, a smaller group bicycled over to one of Binde’s favorite restaurants, Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap to share more stories of their friend, mentor, and brother.     

Bicyclists wait for the ride to begin at Smithsonian Metro Station. Photo: John Canery/The Zebra Press

If you missed this ride, you get a second chance. Old Town Roll is running a Scott Binde memorial ride this Saturday June 15 at 8:30 am, starting at Conte’s Bike Shop on King Street.  

Neighbors of Scott Binde came out to pay their respects to their good friend. Left to right: Matt and Mary Tracy, Leslie Zupan, Jocelyn and Heath Wells. Photo: Judith Fogel/The Zebra Press


OutRiders is sponsoring a Scott Binde memorial fund with Washington Area Bicyclist Association. You can donate in Scott Binde’s memory here. 

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