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Lightning

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by Zealt, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. A friend of mine asked me today about how i ride in the rain, I explained about having "Wets" for the rain and not getting wet at all. Then he asked me
    "What about lightning" and I thought "Fark, I dunno" In a car your fairly safe, I have seen clips of cars in faraday cages or just a safety chamber being tested for lightning strikes but get the feeling if you were riding and hit your wouldn't survive (either from the shock or from falling off after).

    Anyone heard of someone being struck by lightning while riding?


     
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  2. Apparently you are not safe
    http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm

    This bit is relevant
    Motorcyclist/Bicyclist: So has anyone been hit riding a bike? Here are just a few real examples from the last few years.

    * Virginia Beach, VA: Motorcyclist killed while traveling on Route 58.
    * Altoona, PA: One motorcycle rider killed and three riders injured when they took shelter in a woods from a thunderstorm.
    * Wyoming: Motorcyclist injured while driving home on I-90 from Sturgis.
    * Taylor Park, CO: Dirt biker injured while heading down mountain pass.

    Protect Yourself when on a bicycle, motorcycle or dirt bike.

    * Carry a portable Weather Radio or listen to commercial radio.
    * If you see threatening skies in the distance and you are passing a safe location, pull over and wait 30 minutes after the last thunder crack.
    * If you can turn around and get away from the storm, do so!
    * DO NOT ride into a lighting storm!

    If you absolutely cannot get to a safe building or vehicle, here are some last resort choices:

    * Wait out the storm below an overpass. DO NOT touch steel girders. Move away from your bike. Remain on dry surfaces if possible. Overpasses are engineered structures and are likely to be properly grounded. Although an overpass is likely to be higher than the surrounding landscape, if it is struck by lightning, the electrical current will likely be channeled safely into the ground.
    * Look for a bridge. Stay away from water. Stay away from any metal surfaces. Be alert for rapidly rising water if under a bridge.
    * High tension wires: If high voltage electrical tension wires cross the road, you may want to seek shelter directly underneath these wires. Do not get too close to the large metal towers which hold up these wires. Stay at least 50 feet away. Electric companies design these high tension wires for lightning strikes. If lighting should strike the wires or towers, the current is designed to safely go deep into the ground.
    * If you are caught in the open and lightning is occurring within 5 miles, STOP riding, get off of your motorcycle/bicycle, find a ditch or other low spot and sit down.
    * Motorcyclists should move at least 50 feet away from their bike. Bicyclist should lay their bikes on the ground.

    IMPORTANT: These recommendations are a last resort. You are NOT safe in these places just marginally safer than in the open.
    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pub/ltg/ltg_24aug03_parkcnty_biker_fatal.php
     
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  3. Lightning is a real threat which should not be ignored.

    While rubber tyres provide some insulation in theory, they should not be relied on for insulation since lightning is frequently acompanied by precipitation wetting you and the bike and providing an alternative path to earth. Ideally you should ride in a Farraday cage whenever lightning threatens however as this is generally impractical, you should at least have a lightning rod attached to the highest point on you/your bike (probably your helmet) and this should be grounded by heavy duty cooper strapping to a suitable earth, e.g. a water pipe.

    As a side issue, Melbourne trams are a lot more susceptible to lighning damage since they abolished condutors.
     
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  4. Common sense again.

    If you're the highest point or represent the best path to ground and there is an active lightning storm, take measures to reduce the risk. It's the same as if you were out walking in an exposed area.

    And then panic. That always helps as well.
     
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  5. Counter steer to avoid the lightning...:LOL:

    On a serious note, I'd suggest looking at weather forecasts before venturing outside. I have never really thought about getting struck by lightning while on a bike...

    phong =P~
     
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  6. play golf?
     
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  7. What an awesome way to die. Very cool :D
     
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  8. I guess this bunch didn't learn much at school lol. At school they taught us not to hide underneath tree or trees when there is lightning :LOL:
     
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  9. I was going to say ride faster so the lightning can't catch you....

    But I've been known to go windsurfing (tall wet mast) in lightning storms so my advice is probably worthless. Even still, unless it looks really shitty, there's a far greater chance of aquaplaning the bike into a tree than being struck my lightning. :)
     
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  10. Nice one.... :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
     
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  11. Having two contact points to the ground creates a potential difference which greatly increases the chance of a lightning strike - it's the reason cows are more vulnerable to lightning than people (and why it's not recommended to lie down in a thunderstorm).

    So in the event of a thunderstorm remember to wheelie as often as possible, it may save your life :).
     
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  12. Officer: Why where you doing wheelies all along the road?

    Rider: Well you see <insert text from above>, I am all about safety

    Officer: Uh ha, well it's safer in the back on the divy car. Since your all about safety I don't think you would have an issue getting in the back of it.
     
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  13. Rider: But officer the back of the divy van is a plastic shell supported by a metal base - it therefore does not provide the faraday cage-like protection of a conventional car body.

    Officer: [Takes out baton and beats rider repeatedly, runs over bike with divy van and writes it up as a "speed related" crash].
     
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  14. ROFL!
    That's good
     
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  15. Of course by raising his baton, the officer places himself at greater risk of lightning strike. And if the officer is holding on to you at the time, then to the lighning you are effectively a four legged earth, much like a cow (albeit 50% pork).

    This may increase the risk of lightning strike.

    I think the message is clear, noobs. Only do wheelies when there are no police around.

    Alright seriously, I guess lightening is a risk but a risk which is small, probably no greater than ... oh I don't know...say the risk of getting struck by lightning. Relative to the other dangers we face while riding lightning isn't something I will worry too much about. Otherwise what do you stop worrying about. Should we also worry about the risk of tsunami when we ride the GOR. And what about rogue asteroids?

    If you do get caught out in a lightning storm, use some common sense - don't fly a kite and try to take shelter where it is safe (not under the tallest tree you can find). Other than that forget about it and enjoy the ride.
     
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  16. Just 'Ride the Lightning':p
    Sorry, I'll just get back under my rock
     
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  17. Don't bother.... It's clearly too light anyway. We've decided to pass the hat around and get you a bigger one. :p
     
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  18. A few weeks ago, we got caught in a storm on the way home, and the lightening was thankfully a far way off in the distance - but it really got me thinking - and yep I figured it wasn't safe. I meant to do a search about it when I got home but after the hot shower forgot - glad you brought this topic up.
     
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  19. lol if ur gonna die ur gonna die. i'd rather get struck by lightning while riding, than just struck by lightning.

    fark the world is paranoid these days.

    i had a ball riding up Mt Donna Buang the other year. i'd never ridden it before, so i though i'd go have a poke. heading out the warby hwy, and all i could see was big black mofo clouds engulfing the ranges. it was absolutely pissing down, bit of lightning too. i had a blast :p

    dont think i ended up climbing the tower at the time though :LOL:
     
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  20. here where ya coming from :grin: one of my all time favourite albums :wink:
     
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