York cycle commuter buried by snow drift lucky to be alive

Rear lights save cyclists' lives, so we're told, but not quite in the way York commuter Sarah Archdale might have expected it.

Mrs Archdale was cycling to work at 7am in the snow when she fell off her bike and was knocked unconscious. As she lay there, the blizzard quickly covered her body, and she was unable to breathe.

Luckily, passer-by Colin Dodds stopped when he spotted a red light winking from the top of what he assumed was just a pile of snow.

 “When I found her, she wasn’t breathing; she was getting covered by the snow,” 61-year-old Mr Dodds told The Press, York.

“If a car had come round the corner, it could have hit her and killed her. I pulled the bike away and I tapped her cheek but there was no response whatsoever. I flagged over a man in a van and he called the emergency services and they were telling us what to do.”

A van driver, John Pool, said he had seen Mrs Archdale riding only minutes before she was found.

“We were just in the right place at the right time,” said Mr Pool. He said Mrs Archdale had been unconscious for up to five minutes before they found her, and came round about seven minutes later.

The men were told to check she had not swallowed her tongue. When Mr Dodds moved her head, she began breathing again, eventually regaining consciousness.

“She let out a gasp and her eyes began moving,” he said.

Later, recovering at home with her husband, Mrs Archdale, a care worker in York, praised her two rescuers.

She said: “If they were not there, I was in so much snow that a car could have gone over me.

“I am lucky; I am not paralysed or anything – I have just missed out on 12 hours’ pay.

“I was on my bike and the front wheel went over, and I landed on my head.

“All I know if these guys came and apparently I was unconscious when they found me.

“They put an umbrella over me and called an ambulance.

“The paramedics said I just looked like a snowman. I have not broken anything. I’ve just hurt my neck.

“I must have been there a good 20 minutes,” she said.