Fatal Collision in Downtown Reykjavík Under Investigation

police lögreglan

A man in his thirties was killed in a Reykjavík traffic accident involving a delivery van and a telescopic handler, Vísir reports. The accident has prompted an investigation by local police and the Icelandic Research Committee for Transportation Accidents.

Front fork in a lowered position

A male in his thirties was fatally injured in a vehicular accident at the intersection of Lækjargata and Vonarstræti in downtown Reykjavík on Wednesday afternoon.

The collision, involving a delivery van and a telescopic handler, was reported to police at 1:23 PM. The van’s driver was declared dead at the scene.

An eyewitness account from a Vísir reporter noted that the telescopic handler’s front fork was in a lowered position and penetrated the front section of the delivery van. Students at the MR Junior College also witnessed the collision.

Both the Capital Area Police and the Icelandic Research Committee for Transportation Accidents are currently investigating the incident to determine its cause.

Teen Dies in Þrengslavegur Car Crash

Small boat fishermen crowd the Arnarstapi harbour each summer for the coastal fishing season

An 18-year-old motorist has died after an accident on Þrengslavegur in South Iceland yesterday morning.

Vehicle veered off the road

The South Iceland Police was notified of a car accident at 8:38 AM yesterday on Þrengslavegur, which links the Ring Road to southern coastal towns. The vehicle veered off the road and rolled multiple times. Authorities temporarily closed Þrengslavegur for on-site operations.

The driver of the vehicle, who was 18 years old, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the National University Hospital. The identity of the driver has yet to be revealed.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the South Iceland Police and the Accident Investigation Board.

Fatality in Bus and Scooter Collision

fatal accident Iceland

A man on an electric scooter died this weekend after colliding with a bus, RÚV reports. The victim, who was a foreign national living in Iceland, was in his twenties.

This is the second fatal accident involving an electric scooter in Iceland. The first occurred almost a year ago exactly, in November of 2021, when a man in his 50s collided with a motorcycle.

According to police spokesperson Guðmundur Páll Jónsson, the man seems to have driven his scooter into the side of a group coach about the size of a bus, when it was travelling at low speed. The collision took place at the corner of Barónstígur and Grettisgata around 9:00 pm on Saturday night. Police are still investigating the circumstances of the accident.

The The Red Cross offered trauma support and counseling to seventeen of the passengers, as well as three more witnesses on Sunday. Sunday also happened to be a day of memorial for victims of traffic accidents. Eight people have died in traffic-related accidents in Iceland in 2022.

This article has been updated.

Possible Changes to Car Rentals, Including Limits on Mileage and Age

winter tires reykjavík

Minister of Culture and Trade Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir stated in an interview yesterday with RÚV that changes may be coming for the rental car industry in Iceland.

The statement came in response to the Ministry of Tourism’s efforts to improve education for foreign drivers on Icelandic roads following the tragic 2018 accident by Núpsvötn, in which three British citizens died.

Iceland’s unique landscape is of course a major driver of the tourism industry, but many foreign tourists may not be prepared for the road conditions in Iceland.

Read more: Núpsvötn Car Accident Among Worst in Icelandic History

The car in involved in the Núpsvötn accident had been driven some 340,00km and was 12 years old. Now, politicians and members of the tourism industry are reconsidering what regulations should apply to rental cars to prevent future accidents.

“We will refer this to a working group within the ministry that has been working to promote increased security for tourists in this country. We will use this terrible incident to improve regulations and possible legislation to ensure further safety in this country,” Lilja stated to RÚV.

Hendrik Berndsen, chairman of Hertz in Iceland and chairman of the Tourism Association’s Car Rental Committee, also expressed the need for better regulation in the rental car industry.

The Tourism Association is responsible for 90% of Iceland’s 24,000 rental cars.

Speaking to RÚV, he called for a limit of 200,000km for rental cars, and a possible limit of 6-8 years.

“It may not be possible to directly blame the car,” he said,  “but is very important that there are the latest cars for drivers who come to the country.”

Tragic Accident in Westfjords

fatal accident Iceland

A woman in her twenties has died and her husband and young child are in hospital in Reykjavík following a car accident in the Westfjords. The three were returning to their home in Flateyri after a trip abroad when their car went off the road and ended up in the ocean. Passers-by rescued the trio and administered first aid before rescue crews arrived. The woman later died in hospital.

Last Saturday morning, Kamila Majewska, her husband, and their young child were on their way to quarantine in Flateyri after returning to the country from Poland when the accident occurred. Its cause is still being investigated, but roads were icy and slippery at the time. Passers-by saw the accident and pulled the family from their car. They were transported to the National Hospital in Reykjavík by helicopter. Kamila died on Saturday evening despite doctors’ efforts. Her husband and child remain in hospital.

Since the family was in travel quarantine at the time of the accident, rescue crews who attended to them were also required to quarantine, but have since been released.

Poor Phone Service in Area

The accident occurred in Skötufjörður fjord, some 70 kilometres from Ísafjörður. According to RÚV, the travellers who spotted the accident could not reach emergency services at the location because there was no phone service. They had to drive further along the road until their phone connected to the network. In response to the accident, Þorleifur Jónasson of Post and Telecom Administration in Iceland stated it would be both costly and difficult to ensure perfect phone service across the Westfjords, primarily due to its mountainous topography.

Vesturlandsvegur Closed After Car Accident on Kjalarnes

iceland ambulance

Ambulances transported two individuals to the emergency room following a car accident on Vesturlandsvegur just before noon today, RÚV reports. Segments of the road have subsequently been closed.

According to the police, a container fell off a lorry and collided with two vehicles driving on Vesturlandsvegur, north of Mosfellsbær. The Public Roads Administration’s website states that the road has been closed indefinitely, from Þingvallavegur to Grundarhverfi. Responding parties are currently working to clear the road. Travellers can monitor the closure on Safetravel.is.

The Public Roads Administration warns of strong gusts on Kjalarnes from 1 pm until night. A yellow weather alert will be in effect until 7 pm tonight.

[/media-credit] Safetravel.is

Male Drivers More Likely to Cause Serious Traffic Accidents

traffic accident Iceland

Men are significantly more likely to engage in risky behaviour while driving and have been at fault in 14 of 15 serious traffic accidents that took place in Iceland last year. The data comes from the Icelandic Transport Authority’s annual accident report, which also shows a record high number of tourist deaths in driving-related accidents in 2018. RÚV reported first.

Dramatic gender divide in 2018 accidents

According to Gunnar Geir Gunnarsson, the Transport Authority’s Head of Safety and Promotion division, the gender divide in traffic accidents is not usually so dramatic. As a rule, men make up two-thirds of drivers, and there’s usually a similar proportion of men involved in minor traffic accidents and incidents.

“But when we examine serious accidents, then we can see that men are the drivers in the vast majority of them,” explained Gunnar. “Generally, there’s either risky behavior or some kind of recklessness that they haven’t thought all the way through. Especially with fatal accidents, there is often drunk driving, speeding. Drug use in some instances,” he concluded.

Young victims, private vehicles

There were 15 fatal traffic accidents in Iceland in 2018, which led to 18 total deaths. Of these, 12 victims were men and six were women or girls. Eleven of the victims were 36 years old or younger. Nine of the victims were Icelanders, six were foreign tourists, and three were foreign nationals living in Iceland. One fatality was related to a drunk driving incident. Twelve of the victims were driving in passenger cars, four in delivery trucks, one on a tour bus, and one on an ATV.

Young drivers are often involved in traffic accidents, mostly due to their inexperience, Gunnar explained. There has been the most dramatic increase in traffic accidents among this demographic of late. Fatal traffic accidents have also been on the rise among tourists, which Gunnar credits, at least in part, to unfamiliar driving conditions in Iceland.

“…Six people died in traffic incidents last year—there have never been more in a single year. But the trouble they get into is more about a lack of knowledge about Icelandic conditions. It’s not many of them who are under the influence of alcohol, rather that they drive too fast on icy or gravel roads—something like that.”

Fewer accidents in 2019

While driving-related deaths spiked in 2018, the first three months of 2019 showed no fatal traffic accidents at all in the country. Experts say better driver education and higher rates of seatbelt use are among the factors working together to reduce accident mortality in Iceland.

City to Introduce ‘Computer-Aided Crosswalks’ For Pedestrian Safety

New technology aimed at making pedestrians more visible to oncoming traffic when crossing the street will be put into operation in five places around Reykjavík this fall. RÚV reports that the pilot project was introduced by the Independence Party and unanimously approved at a City Council meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

The technology in question involves a sensor that detects pedestrians approaching a crosswalk. When this happens, LED lights illuminate the crossing and draw attention to the person walking. Warning lights on the way to the crossing will also illuminate.

Ólafus Kr. Guðmundsson, a substitute city councilman for the Independence Party, told Vísir that these “computer-aided crosswalks” will play an important role in preventing serious accidents in the future, recalling, for instance, an incident that took place on Hringbraut in January when a young person was hit by a car while walking to school.

Each new crossing system will cost ISK 2 million [$16,379: €14,621]. The specific intersections that will be selected for the pilot have yet to be chosen.

Right of Way Signage on One-Way Bridges Confusing for Drivers

Traffic signs showing what driving direction has the right of way are not clear enough for use on Iceland’s one-way bridges. Vísir reports that the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration is considering whether they should change look of the sign in order to ensure that there is no doubt about whether drivers should wait for oncoming traffic or proceed first across a one-way bridge.

In its review of the traffic code, the Road Administration also presented other ideas on things like the unified speed limit for all vehicles. According to some who participated in the review, Iceland’s road system can’t support heavy transport travelling at that speed. Road shoulders in poor condition along the Ring Road were pointed to as evidence of some of the inherent risks of vehicles carrying heavy loads travelling at such high speeds.

Other ideas under consideration include dividing bidirectional lanes on Route 1. Such a partition may well have prevented a serious accident that occurred in South Iceland only recently when the driver of a car lost control on an icy patch of road and collided with one traveling in the opposite direction. The vehicles crashed at high speed, flipping one of them. Three of the four passengers in the accident then had to be airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries.

Following a traffic accident which ended in the deaths of two adults and one child ost their lives when their vehicle went through the railing on a single-lane bridge, the Road Administration elected to reduce the speed limit to 50 kph [31 mph] on all single-lane bridges throughout the country. The country’s 75 single-lane bridges are highly trafficked: it’s estimated that more than 300 cars cross single-lane bridges every day in Iceland.

At the same time that the speed limit was reduced, the Road Administration also planned to change signage to indicate which traffic direction had the right of way. These signs show a red arrow and a black arrow to represent the two different traffic directions. The black arrow is supposed to indicate the direction that has the right-of-way, however, when the arrows are the same size, it often confuses drivers. The Road Administration is then considering a change that New Zealand made to their own signage in which the red arrow is made significantly smaller in order to eliminate any doubt as to what direction has priority.

Three Airlifted to Hospital After Car Accident on South Coast

A collision involving two vehicles on Sudurlandsvegur in South Iceland ended with three people being transported to the hospital by helicopter and a fourth sustaining less serious injuries, RÚV reports.

All four of the accident victims are foreign citizens, although their nationalities were not disclosed by police. There were two passengers in each vehicle. According to the Suðurland police, the driver of one of the cars lost control on an icy patch of road at around 6 pm on Thursday night, and the cars collided. The vehicles crashed at high speed, flipping one of them. One of them was so damaged that two of the passengers had to be cut from wreckage.

Police closed the road between Vík and Kirkjubæjarklaustur just after 7 pm while an initial investigation was made, and it was not reopened to traffic until almost 10 pm.

Serious traffic accidents have become unfortunately common in Iceland of late, and many such incidents occur in heavily trafficked South Iceland. In early January, three British citizens lost their lives when a car when a car drove off the bridge over Núpsvötn on the south coast. In terms of fatalities, this was one of the worst car accidents in Icelandic history.

In the middle of the month, a thirteen-year-old was hit by a car when walking to school. The victim did not sustain any serious injuries, but parents and concerned locals took up informal crossing guard duty after the event.

Then, at the end of January, a rental car collided with a school bus on a single-lane bridge on the road between the two popular tourist attractions, Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir. Luckily, no people were injured in the crash, but both vehicles were totaled.

At time of writing, there was no report on the condition of Thursday’s accident victims.