27 Injured in Bus Accident

Icelandic coast guard

A bus with 27 people in it crashed in the south of Iceland yesterday. All 26 passengers and the driver were injured, Mbl.is reports, with some injuries considered “major” by police.

All transported to hospitals

The bus rolled over on Rangárvallavegur in the vicinity of Stokkalækur shortly before 5 PM yesterday. All aboard were transported to hospitals, some to Landspítali in Reykjavík, but others to Hella or Selfoss.

The Icelandic Coast Guard dispatched two helicopters to the scene to transport 7 people to Reykjavík. A large number of ambulances arrived on the scene as well.

Cause to be determined

Everyone aboard the bus was an Icelandic citizen. “We’re going over their injuries,” said Jón Gunnar Þórhallsson, chief superintendent with the South coast police. “It ranges from minor to major injuries.”

The bus was operated by GTS buses. The cause of the accident has yet to be determined.

Plans to Tighten Rules for E-Scooter

Hopp scooters in front of Mount Esja in Reykjavík

Riders of e-scooters could soon be subjected to age restrictions, speed limits, and sobriety tests. Minister of Infrastructure Svandís Svavarsdóttir has submitted a bill to Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament, that would severely tighten the rules on such vehicles if it becomes law, RÚV reports.

Injuries common

E-scooters have become commonplace in Iceland in recent years and have grown in popularity on scooter-sharing apps in urban areas. The bill would subject such vehicles to a 30 kilometre per hour speed limit. It would also become punishable to ride an e-scooter when inebriated. Over 40% of serious traffic injuries in 2o21 were sustained by pedestrians, cyclists, and rider of e-scooters late at night on Friday and Saturday nights when intoxication is prevalent, the bill states.

Furthermore, children were 45% of those seeking emergency treatment after e-scooter accidents in 2021, and a third of them were under 10 years old. “People are worried about these micro-mobility vehicles and we want to create the framework where people can use this mode of transportation in a safe way, because the accident rate is too high and is only climbing higher,” said Ingibjörg Isaksen, member of parliament for the Progressive Party.

Bill criticised

The bill would introduce a ban on children under 13 years old using e-scooters. The bill does not address the problem of shared scooters cluttering sidewalks and cycling lanes. “Municipalities can address this by making agreements with the scooter-sharing companies about their use in certain spaces and designate the areas where they are permitted,” Ingibjörg added.

In Alþingi’s consultation process with the public, the bill has been criticised for being excessive. The importance of education on the dangers of e-scooters has been stressed, along with the argument that square curbs, cracked sidewalks, and other surface issues could be the cause of many accidents, rather than user error.

“Shocking” Rise in Fatal Car Accidents

driving in reykjavík

In the mere 17 days that have passed in 2024 so far, five people have died in traffic accidents. This rate of fatal accident has not been seen since recording began some 50 years ago, Vísir reports.

Two died in an accident on Grindavíkurvegur, two near Skaftafell and one in Hvalfjörður. Þórhildur Elínardóttir, communications director of the Icelandic Transport Authority, told Vísir that the number of traffic deaths this year is “shocking” and that she hadn’t seen such trends in recent years. “This is among the worst we’ve seen,” said Þórhildur. “We hope this isn’t a taste of what’s to come.”

New traffic risks

Eight people died in traffic in Iceland last year in total and nine in 2022. The numbers had been similar in the years before. Five deaths in only 17 days is the deadliest start of the year, surpassing 1977, the worst year on record. 37 people died in traffic that year.

The Icelandic Transport Authority keeps track of accident statistics and spearheads prevention methods. Þórhildur said that authorities have set the goal of decreasing serious injuries and deaths in traffic by 5 percent year on year and for Iceland to be among the five European nations with the fewest traffic deaths per capita.

Þórhildur said that it’s important to spread awareness about road safety. “We need to face the various challenges that have come up through the years,” she said. “In the last ten years, they have included phone use while driving, increase in tourism, electric scooters, and more.”

Nine Flown to Reykjavík Following Accident

TF-GRÓ Icelandic Coast Guard Helicopter

Following an accident on Suðurlandsvegur yesterday, January 3, nine individuals were flown to Reykjavík for medical care. The accident in question occurred shortly before 2:00. According to initial reports, the individuals are in stable condition.

The accident occurred east of Fagurhólmsýrar on the South Coast.

An SUV and a smaller vehicle were involved in the incident. In total, nine passengers were aboard the vehicles.

In total, two coast guard helicopters and one coast guard surveillance plane were dispatched. The two helicopters were sent directly to the scene of the accident, taking the first six individuals. The coast guard plane landed in the town of Höfn, taking the final three.

The accident was attributed to the weather, which has left much ice on the roads in the past days. Following the crash, a stretch of Suðurlandsvegur was closed to traffic, but has since been re-opened.

Both vehicles are reported as badly damaged. The individuals are reported to have suffered serious injuries as well, but are in stable condition.

 

 

 

 

 

Pedestrian Killed in Traffic Accident

fatal accident Iceland

A pedestrian was killed in a traffic collision in Höfðabakki on the east side of Reykjavík on Friday evening, Vísir reports. The cause of the accident is currently being investigated.

See Also: Fatality in Bus and Scooter Collision

The collision was reported around 12:30 AM on Saturday morning and occurred not far from the Ábæjarsafn open air museum.

The victim was a man in his forties. He was transported to the hospital after being hit by the car but died later that morning.

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.

Over a Dozen Car Accidents in Reykjavík Capital Area

extreme weather snowstorm

Heavy snowfall slowed down morning traffic in the capital area today, causing a four-car pileup and more than a dozen other minor traffic accidents. No serious injuries have been reported. Snow and gale conditions are expected across South and East Iceland this evening and throughout the day tomorrow.

A yellow weather alert is in effect in the Reykjavík capital area and West Iceland. While weather will improve in both areas early tomorrow morning, the storm will move east across the country throughout Friday, affecting South and East Iceland as well as the Highland. The worst conditions will be in Southwest Iceland tonight, where an orange alert has been issued from 6.00pm this evening until midnight. Blowing snow, limited visibility, and gale or severe gale conditions can be expected in these areas.

Travellers are advised to check road and travel conditions before setting out.

Deadly Accident on Reykjanesbraut

fatal accident Iceland

A man in his forties was killed last night in a collision between a passenger vehicle and a snow ploughing vehicle on Reykjanesbraut (Route 41) in Southwest Iceland, RÚV reports. Police were notified of the accident at 9.22pm. The vehicles were driving in opposite directions when they collided by the Straumsvík aluminium smelter just outside of Hafnarfjörður.

The man who was killed in the crash was driving the passenger vehicle. Authorities have not yet released his name. The Capital Area Police and the Icelandic Transport Authority are investigating the accident. Heavy snow and strong winds made for poor visibility in Southwest Iceland yesterday. A section of Route 41 was closed due to the weather.

Oil Spill Could Take Weeks to Clean Up

Öxnadalsheiði oil spill

A fuel truck transporting 30,000 litres of oil rolled over around noon yesterday on Öxnadalsheiði heath in North Iceland, Vísir reports. Despite quick work from response crews that minimised the spread of oil, the resulting spill could take weeks to clean up.

Crews called out from across the country

The accident occurred yesterday around noon when the tank truck, belonging to company Olíudreifing, rolled over. Firefighters from Akureyri, police, and representatives from the South Iceland Public Health Authority were called to the scene. The driver was transported by ambulance to Akureyri with serious injuries, but is expected to make a full recovery. The Ring Road was closed for around six hours yesterday while crews were at work.

Dammed creek to stop oil spreading

Some 13,000 litres spilled into the surrounding environment as a result of the accident. The other 17,000 litres contained in the truck were pumped out by response crews yesterday. Hörður Gunnarsson, CEO of Olíudreifing, says clean-up efforts, mostly aimed at a creek at the site of the accident, are going well.

“We’ve dammed this creek, that was done right at the start, which saved us from more contamination,” says Hörður. While he says there is still “considerable fuel” in the creek, it is being filtered out using floating pens. Other devices will be brought to the scene today to collect oil from the surface of the creek and pump it away. Hörður adds that the soil in the area is rough and does not absorb much of the oil, which instead has mostly dripped down to the water below.

Cause of accident unknown

The cause of the accident remains unknown. According to Northwest Iceland Police, the vehicle and driver fulfilled all requirements, and the driver’s working hours were within legal limits.