Montgomery County bill pushes for stiffer penalties for trash bins left on sidewalks

Montgomery County leaders are pushing for stiffer laws on trash and recycling bins left on public walkways after a 17-year-old was struck and killed while riding his bike back in the summer.

Jacob “Jake” Cassell was struck by a vehicle on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda when the teenager swerved to avoid hitting a garbage bin on July 31.

Some argue that Jake’s death was preventable.

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“We want to have our Department of Environmental Protection to look inward and figure out what our existing agreements are with trash and recycling pick-ups to make sure that we don’t allow trash bins and recycle bins to be left on sidewalks to create obstructions,” Montgomery County Council Member Andrew Friedson said.

Jake was a rising junior at Winston Churchill High School where he was also the school’s mascot.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Churchill HS mascot struck by vehicle in Bethesda succumbs to injuries, police say

FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis asked Friedson about bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road which currently does not have bike lanes.

“We do have a meeting set up with our state partners (about that),” Friedson answered.

Friedson said he will introduce a bill Tuesday focusing on pedestrian safety and obstructed sidewalks near construction zones.

“We have the ability not only through legislation but in a much faster, much more efficient way, to look at the agreements we currently have with our contractors and our partners that we have in these current efforts and say, ‘Hey we don’t accept this,” Friedson said.

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Meanwhile, the family of Jake has been heartbroken as they attempt to heal from the loss they never saw coming.

“Understandably they are distraught,” Friedson said. “They lost their beloved son and I think all of us can’t even begin to imagine the pain and suffering they are going through.”