Road System ‘in Ruins’

“The Icelandic road system is in ruins, and the safety factor of the roads has gone down considerably,” remarks Þórir Garðarsson, president of the board of Gray Line Iceland, in an interview with Morgunblaðið on Friday.

The country’s roads have been the subject of media discussion lately, partly due to recent accidents. One person was killed on the road in Mosfellsdalur valley last weekend.

Þórir believes that some roads meet safety standards while others do not, such as the road where the fatal accident took place. He notes that the shoulders of many roads are no good, and have simply caved in. “When large vehicles drive on those shoulders, they cave in. On such roads, it’s hard to pass cyclists, for example, which creates a lot of danger.”

According to a truck driver, interviewed by Morgunblaðið on Thursday, cyclists pose the largest danger in traffic these days.

Þórir reports that the number of cyclists in traffic has gone up considerably recently. “Passing cyclists presents a certain problem … oftentimes, they do not pay attention to the traffic behind them.”

Guðmundur Baldursson, a bus driver for Snæland Travel, believes that cyclists need to be better informed about traffic in Iceland. “For example, they need to wear high visibility clothing. Some of them are dressed in dark clothing, and it would make sense to have high visibility vests sold, for example, at Keflavík International Airport, and give them general guidelines there.” He stresses the importance of setting special limits for racing bicycles.

Guðmundur states that the job of a bus driver has changed much in the past three years. “The number of rental cars has increased dramatically and the stress on bus drivers accordingly. Many car renters have limited driving experience.” He notes that such drivers often make sudden stops, creating a hazard in traffic. He is happy with work being done on the road to the popular “Golden Circle,” but adds that much work remains to be done along the south coast, where traffic is heavy.

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