Snowplough driver finds unconscious cyclist buried under snow after stopping to move bike

Rider in Norway can't remember how he came to be there, but police officer suspects drink played at part

by Simon_MacMichael   December 11, 2013  

Snowplough in Norway (image cropped, CC licensed by Kabelleger on Flickr)

A cyclist in Norway who had fallen unconscious and been buried under snow on a cycle path owes his life to a snowplough driver who had spotted his bike’s handelbars sticking out of the snow on Sunday morning.

The driver, who stopped to remove the bicycle from his vehicle’s path on the island of Nøtterøy, around 60km south of Oslo, spoke of his surprise at discovering the frozen cyclist.

"I saw some handlebars poking out of the snow," he said, quoted on, which cited an Aftenposten report.

"When I got closer, I saw that there was a man on a bike completely covered by snow. I also noticed that the man was wearing a reflective vest."

The man, aged 26 and from the island of Tjøme was said to be frozen and unconscious when an ambulance summoned by the driver arrived, but he regained consciousness on the way to hospital in Vestfold.

The cyclist had no recollection of how he had come to be lying on the path.

Police officer Knut Henning Bjune speculated that drink may have played a role, telling Aftenposten: "He said that the last thing he remembered was riding home from a friend's house.

"He had probably been out on a piss-up, which may have contributed to the ride ending the way it did."

While it’s not clear whether or not alcohol was involved, drink can be a factor in cases of people freezing to death.

In an article on, Professor Colin Drummond, head of the Section of Alcohol Research at King’s College London, explains:

When you drink, it dilates the peripheral blood vessels near your skin, which means more blood – and heat – flows to these vessels.

That takes blood and heat away from the core of your body. So while it feels like you’re warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs aren’t as warm as you might think they are.

If you then go out in the cold after drinking, because you’ve got a lot of heat on the periphery of your body, you can lose heat very easily and quickly. And that can be dangerous.

Drinking too much leads to bad decisions. If you drunkenly decide to walk home across a snowy field instead of getting a taxi, you’re putting yourself at risk. Hypothermia can take hold quickly and can even lead to death.

11 user comments

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Dangerous situation and glad the guy is ok...of course...but what a story he has now got to tell his mates! It's one thing to drukenly fall asleep in a phone box, or someone's garden - but in a snowdrift is impressive.

I also like the quote from the Norwegian Police Officer, "he had probably been out on a piss up...".

ragtimecyclist's picture

posted by ragtimecyclist [131 posts]
11th December 2013 - 13:23


If it had been in the UK, he'd have been given a ticket for riding on a path… he was very lucky though, anyone remember the James Bond baddie going through a snowplough (can't remember which film, but suspect Roger Moore was involved). - Muddy bikes, Road bikes and Family rides in Malmesbury and the South West

posted by Mombee [56 posts]
11th December 2013 - 15:09


Sounds like drink is pure speculation. There are other possible reasons, and if something medical then the police would not be aware.

Still, good that he survived. It almost sounded like it could have been a resuscitation, though there are ideas around that cold can help chances in that case. The warning about alcohol is valid. Alcohol does kill in cold weather.

posted by m0rjc [36 posts]
11th December 2013 - 15:36


"I also noticed that the man was wearing a reflective vest."

Hey, can we have that hi-viz discussion again? That's one of my favourites.

posted by Mat Brett [1927 posts]
11th December 2013 - 15:49


Very much channeling Yehuda Moon from December 2009.

posted by drfabulous0 [403 posts]
11th December 2013 - 16:28


Mat Brett wrote:
"I also noticed that the man was wearing a reflective vest."

Hey, can we have that hi-viz discussion again? That's one of my favourites.


It woz the helmut wot saved im.

posted by farrell [1563 posts]
11th December 2013 - 16:45


Surely it was the width of his handlebars?

He must have had really wide bars on his bike if that's what the driver saw sticking out of the snow. Narrow bars wouldn't have been as visible therefore wider bars are safer.

How about a HighViz really wide bar?

posted by Bagpuss [102 posts]
11th December 2013 - 17:58


at least he was on the cycle path...and they plough them too - brill!

posted by Pipsicle [2 posts]
12th December 2013 - 0:01


Booze and bicycles, snow joke as I highlight in just 1,100 words on my latest blog! Shameless plug ahoy: Puking and pedalling, a tale of alcohol and cycling

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

sm's picture

posted by sm [355 posts]
12th December 2013 - 7:54


Or of course he might have been suddenly buried in snow by a previous snow plough passing him with a less attentive driver.

jmferros's picture

posted by jmferros [9 posts]
12th December 2013 - 10:31


I wonder if he woke up with a stiffie?


posted by griggers [14 posts]
14th December 2013 - 17:22