My first speeding ticket

On Monday afternoon, coming into Ísafjörður, I was pulled over for speeding — my first time ever, surprisingly. Naturally, I decided to contest it.

The way to Ísafjörður from Hellnar is a gnarly three hour gravel road. Before hitting town, you’ll drive through a long (~10 km) tunnel with a 60 km/h speed limit. After the tunnel, the speed limit goes back up to 90 km/h. And then, kilometers before you enter the city proper, it drops back down to 60 km/h. But I missed that sign (crying baby and all). Most of Iceland is 90 km/h unless you’re within a city’s limits.

We took a pit stop between the tunnel and town at Bonus to pick up groceries for the week. Within a couple of minutes out of the parking lot, a police car passed us, pulled a U-turn, and flashed its lights. Busted!

The police asked me to get in the back seat of the police car because they video record the interaction. They explained the 60 km/h speed limit and showed me their clocked speed, which I didn’t disagree with. I was going 82 km/h because I thought the speed limit was still 90 km/h. I explained I wanted to contest the ticket.

In the US, my understanding of the game is this: get a speeding ticket, contest it in front of a judge, get anywhere between 0-100% off. Typically it’s at least 50% off. And that’s if you formally get a ticket — if you have a cute baby in the back seat, the police will just let you off with a warning. I’d grade my argument a B-, worth 40% off.

In Iceland, contesting a speeding ticket is mostly unheard of, and confuses the police. First, you’ll have to go with them to the station. There you’ll need to explain for at least an hour why you’re wanting to submit an appeal. Once you get them to agree,  you’ll need to go back each morning to ask whether your appeal paperwork has been submitted yet. But don’t worry, it hasn’t.

I also learned:

  • Foreigners have the same rights as Icelanders to an appeal process (Article 30 of Act On Foreigners No. 96 /2002).
  • Your actual rights to an appeal process are pretty obtuse to understand (Section 7 of Administrative Procedure Act).
  • The police say you can be detained in the country during your appeal, which I didn’t ever see in writing. This was largely their argument for why I should pay the fee in a prompt manner.
  • Electronic speed limit signs, which show your current speed and flash if you’re over, are 1.5 million ISK (~$13k USD).
  • Ísafjörður has one of the aforementioned signs on the lesser used road into town. I’d be curious as to why it’s there, and not on the main road.
  • Iceland does have a legal process for requesting anonymized data from the government. I’d hypothesize speeding tickets during the summer months are a cash cow.

Unless you’re me, it’s probably easier for you to just pay the ticket via credit card while in the back seat of the police car. I wanted to get my money’s worth in the form of a better understanding of Iceland’s legal system.

And remember, if you don’t exercise your legal rights, you might find you no longer have them.

Bobo of the Snaelfellsnes Peninsula

Enjoying the scene and a Swiss mocha after the hike from Hellnar to Arnarstapi and back. Bobo is quite the happy traveler.

We’re staying at Hotel Hellnar, near the end of the Snaelfellsnes Peninsula, for three nights before taking the ferry to Flatey and driving on to Ísafjörður. Our hiking is dependent on the weather. It was clear enough this morning to get one in, but started pouring as soon as we returned. This afternoon we decided to drive up to Stykkisholmur and check out the town. Tomorrow? Either hiking in Snaefellsjokull National Park, or watching movies in our room.

Bobo of the Blue Lagoon

Classic "all’s well that ends well story."

Last night, Bobo took, oh, about five hours to be put to sleep. For this reason and that, she just would not go down. And, to make matters worse, she knew she was tired — so she cried and cried and cried. Putting her in the Ergo finally calmed her down enough to feed and fall asleep.

Eleven hours later, you know "noon", the Bachhuber family is waking up for the day. Leah is exhausted because Bobo slept in her arms all night, and I’m two hours late to pick up our rental car. I get that sorted, pick up a scone for Leah, and we’re eventually off for the day’s trip to the Blue Lagoon.

All of the reading Leah did before the trip seemed to imply kids would do just fine in the geothermal pool. I had assumed the waters were 80-90 degrees, and we would have a grand time as a family. As it turns out… the waters were 98-102 degrees, and the official recommendation is no kids under two.

YOVIO (You Only Visit Iceland Once)! It took some serious effort to convince Leah, but I snuck Bobo into the water on my shift. She loved it — and her skin is now as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Oh little town of Reyjavik

Old Reykjavik towards the harbor from the tower of Hallgrimskirkja church. Doing a bit of sightseeing after sleeping in until 10 am. Bobo took the flights over like a champ; for Leah, it was a bit more rough but last night was a good ketchup.

Dong, dong, dong… church bells in the tower strike one. Time to bounce Bobo back to sleep.

Off to Iceland

Leah, Ava and I are off on a grand adventure to Iceland tomorrow for 14 days. Put particular emphasis on adventure, because I’m writing this as Ava is screaming in her Ergo and won’t take a nap. We’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

After we arrive Monday morning, we spend three nights in Reykjavik. Wednesday we plan to take a day trip to the Blue Lagoon. Apparently little bobos are encouraged — a water wing should fit nicely around her belly. From Reykjavik, we’ll take our rented car to Hellnar for three days of hiking. Then, to get to Ísafjörður where we’re spending the second week, we take a ferry that stops for the day on Flatey Island.

I’ll be offline the first week, and working a half week the second. Looking forward to the opportunity to relax, spend time with my family, and reflect.