Riding through electrical storms


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brettchallenger
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Riding through electrical storms

Postby brettchallenger » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:49 am



I have raised this topic before but as part of another thread, I think it deserves its own.

This is the season for big thunder storms (at least in the Northern hemisphere) and I wondered what the advice is when you encounter one whilst riding. I am always aware that I am sat on a big lump of wet metal and I think of the golf players who quickly seek the shelter and safety of the the clubhouse when a storm breaks - and for good reason. Should I stop and seek shelter, carry on regardless and trust to the Almightly, or what?


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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby rono24 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:24 am

I have had the s.... Scared out of me by lighting while rideing. Struck in a field right beside me and could feel the heat off the strike ,I find a place to hide when I see lightning.

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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby NKYWinger » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:32 am

+1
I'd think the insulating properties of a soaked motorcycle and rider are nill..... I also would seek shelter...
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby themainviking » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:13 am

Although a long long time ago, in a land far far away, (New Mexico) I rode through a lava field at the North East corner of White Sands Missile Range, during a thunderstorm, once, drunk as a lord, with lightning striking the lava bed (which is mostly iron ore) to the right and left, when I sobered up, I realized that was not a common sense act.

I seek shelter now. Inside buildings is good, but even under an overpass is fine. Any cloverleaf will provide adequate shelter from lightning. As silly as it might sound, even under the canopy of a gas station. They are very well lightning rod protected. Stands to reason, right? I have never found a gas station convenience store that would not let me wait out a T-storm inside.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby redial » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:43 am

When there is thunder with lightning, then it is time for a kidney break, and a hot drink that lasts as long as the storm. It is much safer to be out of lightning range while the bright lights are outside. Joggers often get caught by hiding under trees in a thunderstorm. The tree is the highest point around, and attracts the lightning, so look for little trees :P . With a GW, make it a 'big' little tree, but much better to lurk in a coffee/tea shop until it is quieter.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby bustedwing » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:52 am

Even riding in the rain at night is not a good idea, but hard headed Bud did that, and was sober too. But electrical storms, no way. I don't care if it lasts three days. I have been close to a few lightning strikes and to me that was TOO close. When you have your eyes closed and you can see the veins in your eyelids that's too close.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby dingdong » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:11 am

So what do you do when you are caught in a storm in the middle of (again) New Mexico at night and there is no place to hide? One of the worst electrical storms I have ever seen but typical of NM. I had no choice but to continue riding. Very enlightening! :lol:
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby NKYWinger » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:15 am

dingdong wrote: Very enlightening! :lol:


punny.......very punny......
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby brettchallenger » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:19 am

NKYWinger wrote:
dingdong wrote: Very enlightening! :lol:


punny.......very punny......


Deserves thunderous applause!
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby NKYWinger » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:32 am

brettchallenger wrote:
Deserves thunderous applause!


holy CRAP! the comics are coming out of the woodwork! ROFL......
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby bustedwing » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:48 am

Alright, check your med list, you missed something.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby tom84std » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:14 am

Just a couple nights ago I was faced with that decision. New Mexico, just west of Raton we turned west on 87 to head back to Texas. Topped a hill and I saw it about three miles ahead. A wall of water and a very active lightening storm we were headed for. I pulled over. I said " What do we do, put on rain gear and carry on or turn around?" She said "It's not the rain that worries me! You see all that lightening?"
It was late evening, we'd already been a lotta miles. We got a motel room.

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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby Seoladh » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:25 pm

I have been sailing almost all my life and during lighting storms there is simply no place to hide. I have felt my skin crawl to the closeness of lightening just before it strikes along side of the boat.
I live if Florida, the lightening capitol of the world and there is all kinds of lightening all the time. I know this my sound ridiculous but I do not run from lightening at least when I am riding. Riding thru storms here is normal and lightening flashing is a daily occurrence. I don’t temp it, but I don’t hide either. Ride Safe and Ride On.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby redial » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:43 pm

And they say that Australia is dangerous! More lightning strikes in Florida to go with the alligators, Burmese pythons, mellaleuca trees, sharks, cyclones/typhoons, and retirement villages - it must be a crazy place to live and die :twisted:
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby dingdong » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:49 am

Ah yes Florida. The only time I have stopped for a storm was crossing the Everglades. Rain so hard we couldn't see 20 ft in front of us. And lightening everywhere. We managed to find a restaurant / airboat business to pull into to wait it out. The rain was the real reason we stopped though. Just couldn't see.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:59 am

Lightning is nothing to fool with - motorcycle riders are hit (and usually killed) by lightning many times every year. Unlike a car, which has a highly conductive metal cage around you to protect you from the strike, on a bike the rider is the highest point, so the lightning strike usually hits the rider's helmet. When I start seeing lightning getting close, I get to shelter. Lightning is nothing to fool with...




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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby dingdong » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:13 am

Tom

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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby brettchallenger » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:31 pm

Thanks everyone, I have definitely got the message now. It is a bit strange that operator handbooks and governments don't seem to give any advice on this aspect or riding, after all, thunderstorms aren't exactly rare phenomena.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:58 pm

dingdong wrote:So what do you do when you are caught in a storm in the middle of (again) New Mexico at night and there is no place to hide? One of the worst electrical storms I have ever seen but typical of NM. I had no choice but to continue riding. Very enlightening! :lol:


Set your bike up on the center stand, then lay down flat a good ways away from it. Let it be the sacrificial lightning rod.

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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby Dogsled » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:12 pm

If you aren't grounded, what is the different effect of something that is grounded. I always thought, and read here how close lightning has hit and blinded the rider it was so close. But there was no electrocution. I never heard of a biker being hit by lightning (not denying it, just never heard of it) Somehow I always thought that you may have rubber on the road seperating you, but if you're moving there's a steady stream of water hitting up on your bike to carry a charge. Hence, 'so much for not being grounded with rubber tires'. I hope I can read some interesting 'facts' not fears about this.......interesting post.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby Andy Cote » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:58 pm

Very interesting story as just the other day I was caught in a thunderstorm. I thought I was going to be able to go around but ended up traveling a couple miles in the downpour and strikes fairly close. I should have pulled into a store or fast food place but I could see the sunshine ahead and pushed on. Although all was well in the end, in hindsight, not a good plan.

A couple days later, local tv news ran a story and their expert said that, if caught in the open, do not lie down. Bend at the knees and cover your ears, get wet and shake it off when it's over. For tornados, yes lie as flat as possible, preferably in a ditch or low spot, but just lightning, fetal ball with feet flat on the ground. And the noise pressure can be damaging so covering the ears was suggested.

In the car, the tires do not have enough resistance/insulation to keep from being struck by 30,000 amps. The safety in the car comes from the metal skin forming a Faraday cage around the occupants. As we all say, riders are cageless. Next time, I'll dismount rather than ride on.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby redial » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:24 pm

Bend at the knees and cover your ears, get wet and shake it off when it's over. For tornados, yes lie as flat as possible, preferably in a ditch or low spot, but just lightning, fetal ball with feet flat on the ground.


But what if it is a 'dry' storm. These types of storms start a lot of bushfires (aka wild fires) in Oz, where there is lightning but no rain! The dynamics of thunderstorms are very interesting, with hot ground air forcing clouds up until they get enough power, then "Hello, still feeling good?"

I tell the dogs, (which always seem to get nervous when there is a thunderstorm), that it is only doG moving the kennels around while Mrs Claus does her housekeeping. Like the dogs, I try to avoid thunderstorms and would rather stay home than risk it.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby themainviking » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:04 pm

tom84std wrote:New Mexico, just west of Raton Topped a hill and I saw it about three miles ahead. A wall of water and a very active lightening storm we were headed for.
It was late evening, we'd already been a lotta miles. We got a motel room.


I lived in New Mexico for three years, and saw some of the most incredible lightning displays I have seen in all my days. We would sit in the Garage with the door open and watch the storm come across the desert, and about when it hit us, we would roll the door shut and use the back door to the covered patio to go in the house. Some amazing rainstorms too - with the flash floods, and six inch deep hail when they had gone by. I lived in interesting times, then.
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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:33 pm

Dogsled wrote:If you aren't grounded, what is the different effect of something that is grounded. I always thought, and read here how close lightning has hit and blinded the rider it was so close. But there was no electrocution. I never heard of a biker being hit by lightning (not denying it, just never heard of it) Somehow I always thought that you may have rubber on the road seperating you, but if you're moving there's a steady stream of water hitting up on your bike to carry a charge. Hence, 'so much for not being grounded with rubber tires'. I hope I can read some interesting 'facts' not fears about this.......interesting post.


Rubber tires have steel belts inside them, and when it comes to the magnitude of voltages found in lightning, they make excellent conductors. So don't expect rubber tires to provide any insulation whatsoever, dry or wet.

And...just because you haven't heard of it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen...many times every year. A quick Google search results in:

Motorcyclist hit by lightning dies, donates organs

Motorcyclist Dies After Lightning Strike

Motorcyclist Killed by Lightning While Riding Back From Charity Event

Motorcyclist dies after hit by lightning

Motorcyclist killed by lightning had big heart

Man on motorcycle struck by lightning in Henderson, Ky.

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Re: Riding through electrical storms

Postby Oldbear » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:38 pm

I make a point of pulling over when I see a biker hiding out a storm ... We live on the bald prairies and our storms get mean. Last time we had let some poor guy hide in the back of the minivan as car seats are hard to move past in wet leathers... I've hide under an over-pass and crawled into lilac brush in the past...


My wife is the greatest - she won't let me sell my bike - I'm less grumpy when I ride...


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