Iceland is a very helmet-free society. They eschew guardrails, frivolous warning signs, and regulations.
You just will not get hit over the head with explicit, blaring signs warning of things that will kill you (like buckets, or hair dryers). Not here.
I was sitting at the edge of a 100 ft cliff, that I’d just walked up to after watching an arctic fox sprint across the flat land, getting high on the vertigo of the height and the beauty of the distant waves below me, and my brother walked up behind me and said “Oh, did you notice this sign?” It was basically a 4×4 inch pictorial suggestion that it was possible to fall off of the cliffs here. In case you didn’t figure it out for yourself. One sign for 100s of meters of cliff.
And that’s what I love. They expect you to figure out for yourself that if you step or slip off the edge into the waterfall almost the size of Niagara that’s thundering over the edge, right there, that you probably won’t make it. If you lean too far over to see the birds, you could die. You shouldn’t need a sign to tell you so.
If you’re stupid or careless enough to trip, slip, fall, or drop your camera or your kids over the edge, well, that’s your business.
Icelanders are not in the business of protecting anyone from themselves.
I. Love. This.
Our lives are in our own hands all the time, and you can get numb and forget that if you’re always walking paved paths surrounded by lines that tell you you’re safe within them. Stay safe, stay between the lines, behind the rail… not here. Iceland doesn’t play like that. It’s more “take care of your own damn self, you should be able to figure this out, you decide what’s safe for yourself.”
Complete story of my Iceland adventures