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Aussie council sued for $170,000 over bike lane feature: ‘They were really rude’

A woman is suing a major city council for $170,000 after she tripped and fell on a bike lane divider near a pedestrian crossing, with the accident leaving her with two broken elbows and forcing her to take months off work.

Tracey Schwass, 60, was crossing in a group of people at Elizabeth Street in Brisbane in February, 2021, when she veered right and tripped on the small “council bikeway curb” which sits only centimeters off the ground.

“I mean you’re not looking down at your feet if you’re crossing on a busy crossing, I didn’t see the curb there so it just caught me and I went down,” she told Yahoo News. “I put my arms out to take the brunt of it, to stop me banging my face, and obviously the force went up and to my elbows and broke the bones. “I had some quite nasty ligament damage in my left wrist.”

Tracey Schwass is suing Brisbane City Council after she fell over a bike lane divider and broke both her elbows. Source: Facebook

She claims there was no warning of the hazard and, after calling the council to inform an employee of what happened, she was told a QR code was put up on the side of the road.

“Who’s going to read a QR code while they’re waiting to cross the road?” she asked.

The Brisbane woman was left with broken elbows and ligament damage in her wrist after the fall in Elizabeth Street in February, 2021. Source: Courier Mail

Initially she only wanted her expenses paid after she spent upwards of $20,000 on medical bills and recovery costs, but she was later motivated to file a lawsuit after the council was allegedly dismissive of her.

“They were just really rude. It was like if they were paying out of their own pocket… I’m not usually the sort to go down the legal route,” she said, explaining she had to use up all of her annual leave and take months off work.

Schwass is suing Brisbane City Council for $171,210 for damages, loss of income and future expenses but the council is reportedly defending the lawsuit, filing a notice saying the incident was not caused by council negligence and subsequently, it did not owe Schwass a duty of care .

The claim states the bike divider was observable to pedestrians as it was painted bright yellow, the Courier Mail reports. Since Schwass’ accident tall markers have reportedly been installed on the divider at the site.

It is unknown how long legal proceedings will take but Schwass hopes the outcome will come “sooner rather than later.”

Yahoo News reached out to Brisbane City Council who denied comment.

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