Family of teen killed on Old Georgetown Road ‘thankful’ for increased focus on bicyclists

Family of teen killed on Old Georgetown Road ‘thankful’ for increased focus on bicyclists

State officials to install bike lane this spring

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Old Georgetown Road near its intersection with the Capital Beltway.

Via Google Maps

Following the death of a 17-year-old boy last year on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda, state officials agreed to increase their focus on bicyclists’ safety.

The Maryland State Department of Transportation State Highway Administration announced last week that it plans to add a bike lane and narrow driving lanes on Old Georgetown Road between Cedar Lane and the Capital Beltway.

The bike lane will be 5 feet wide with a 2-foot-wide buffer between the bike lane and the road. The changes will be installed this spring as part of a planned road resurfacing project.

On the afternoon of July 31, Jake Cassell was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk along Old Georgetown Road, near its intersection with Beech Avenue, when, his parents believe, he swerved to avoid trash cans. Cassell fell from his bike into the street and was struck by a passing SUV. He died the next day.

In November, a 13-year-old girl was seriously injured on Old Georgetown Road, near its intersection with the Beltway, a few blocks north of where Cassell was killed.

Currently, there is no shoulder on the roadway where the crash occurred, so bicyclists are forced to ride along a narrow sidewalk close to the road.

In a text message to Bethesda Beat, Jake Cassell’s father, Steve Cassell, wrote that his family is grateful for the changes and hopes there will be similar actions on other roadways throughout the county.

“The County Council and Executive’s primary responsibility is to protect the well being of its citizens and this is a good step toward safer streets,” Steve Cassell wrote. “We are thankful that Jake’s accident galvanized the authorities to take definitive action.”

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