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.

Fatal Collision Between Electric Scooter and Moped

A fatal accident occurred at the intersection of Kringlumýrarbraut and Sæbraut streets in Reykjavík yesterday morning when an electric scooter and a moped collided. The electric scooter operator died in the accident while the moped driver is in hospital with serious injuries. This is the first fatal accident involving an electric scooter in Iceland.

Both of the victims of the accident were wearing helmets when the collision occurred. One was in their 50s while the other was in their 40s. Detective superintendent Guðbrandur Sigurðsson told RÚV it has not been confirmed whether the vehicles were on a cycling path or sidewalk when they collided. It has also not been confirmed at which what speed the vehicles were operating when they collided.

Mopeds can reach speeds of up to 45km per hour. At that speed, however, they are required to use the road, and not sidewalks or cycling paths. “Electric scooters should have a limiter at 25km per hour and are not permitted to go faster, but we have stories and examples and police reports that electric scooters, according to the manufacturers, can reach speeds of up to 80km per hour when the limiter is removed,” Guðbrandur explained, adding that operating a scooter at speeds above 25km per hour is “incredibly dangerous.”

Electric scooters have grown in popularity over the past year or two in Iceland, with several scooter rideshare apps springing up in Reykjavík recently. While Guðbrandur says accidents and injuries involving electric scooters have previously been reported, this is the first fatal accident involving an electric scooter in Iceland.

Rise in Scooter Accidents With Increased Scooter Traffic

A person riding an electric scooter by the Reykjavík city centre pond.

From June to August this year, electric scooter accident rates have increased compared to the same period last year. Still, the increase is relatively smaller than the increase in scooter traffic, according to a National Hospital’s emergency ward report. The increase in accidents mainly consists of adults. The high accident rates on Friday and Saturday nights suggest that more education is needed on the dangers of riding scooters under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Senior Physician at the National University Hospital’s emergency ward Hjalti Már Björnsson has issued data on scooter accidents. This summer, June, July, and August, 245 individuals sought visited the emergency ward with injuries from scooter accidents. During the same period last year, 149 scooter accidents resulted in an emergency ward visit, so the average incident rate increased from 1.6 to 2.7 per day.

Seventy-two children were injured compared to 68 last year, while the number of adults (18 years or older) rose from 81 to 173. Most of the accidents resulted in minor injuries, but four individuals were acutely admitted to the hospital. “In the majority of cases, it’s minor cuts, scrapes or sprains. We’ve had a few broken bones and some facial injuries,” Hjalti Már told Vísir.

The report notes that the increase in accidents is minor, considering the increase in scooter traffic. According to city officials and scooter rental companies, registered trips with rental scooters were just under 700,000 in the city centre during the summer of 2021. In addition, the country imported about 20,000 electric scooters over the last few years for private use. It can be assumed that about a million electric scooter trips were taken this summer. “So it seems that the number of accidents isn’t great considering the number of trips and the increase in accidents is likely relatively smaller than the increase in scooter travel,” the emergency ward report stated.

While the increase in accidents is relatively small, the data indicates more accidents over the weekends. There’s an average of 2.2 accidents per day during weekdays, but during the weekend, that rate shoots up to 3.7. Half of the accidents over the weekends occur during the night, from 11 pm to 5 am. Last year, 40% of adults who were injured on electric scooters had consumed alcohol. No such data was collected this year, but the increase in accidents on weekend nights gives cause to assume that alcohol or other substance consumption is a factor.

The report points out that electric scooters are a cheap and environmentally friendly mode of transport and that capital area infrastructure needs to be strengthened to ensure passenger safety. It also urges a campaign to educate people that alcohol and electric scooters aren’t a good mix. Finally, they suggest that improved public transport during weekends might lead to a decrease in accidents.

The public is encouraged to keep a few things in mind when using the electric scooters:

  • Riding an electric scooter takes practice, just like riding a bike. Caution is advised when getting used to this mode of transport.
  • There should never be more than one passenger on a scooter.
  • Slow down when making a turn or crossing uneven surfaces.
  • Under no circumstances should you use an electric scooter under the influence of alcohol or other substances.