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  1. #1
    Drumming Bicyclist igloomaster's Avatar
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    Thunder, Lightening, and Commuting

    I was going to commute by bicycle today, but the weather forecast said thunder and lightening by mid-afternoon. Sure I've biked in the rain before, but never during a thunder/lightening storm. Anybody get caught in one of these? What do you do? Stop somewhere, or pedal on and pray you don't get hit by bolt?

  2. #2
    SpecOps-27 Emerson's Avatar
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    Unless you are pedaling alone in a large open field, I imagine it quite unlikely you would be hit. In most urban or suburban areas there are much larger, more lightning attractive targets than you and you bike. I'm sure it could happen, but I bet it would an unusual situation. I could be wrong of course...
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    My 2005 Surly Cross-check & some thoughts on riding

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  3. #3
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
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    According to my wife, I'm not allowed to ride during lightning storms. That's ok, because I really don't want to anyway.

  4. #4
    Commuter First newbojeff's Avatar
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    See [weather related] what would you have done? for a current, similar thread.

    I have ridden in thunderstorms before and they're forcast for this afternoon. Because my departure times are flexible, I keep an eye on weather.com and try to beat or wait out passing thunderstorms.

    As for how dangerous it is, while I wouldn't want to be riding through an open plain during an electrical storm, isn't this sort of a funny question coming from a group of idiots who risk life and limb just so we can ride our bikes to and from work?

    This also begs the question: while bike commuting, are you more likely to be hit by a car or hit by lightning?

  5. #5
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    When I started commuting by bike fulltime, my wife and I worked out exactly when I wouldn't ride. Lightning within a mile was one of the reasons. Sometimes I just stop and wait in a transit station or store for the storm to pass, other times I'll call and let her come get me. The few times it happens makes her happier than me just out riding in a thunderstorm.

    Good link:
    http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/head...d18jun99_1.htm
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  6. #6
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbojeff
    This also begs the question: while bike commuting, are you more likely to be hit by a car or hit by lightning?
    Oh, definitely a car. By a huge margin.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

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  7. #7
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbojeff
    This also begs the question: while bike commuting, are you more likely to be hit by a car or hit by lightning?
    Quick, someone get on this one. Finding this out would be an interesting factoid to throw at people.

  8. #8
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-o
    Oh, definitely a car. By a huge margin.
    Ok, but what about getting struck by lightning in general to getting hit by a car?

  9. #9
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    What about hit by a car that was hit by lightning?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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    Would strapping a lightning pole to your back and riding the wrong way in traffic increase your chances of being hurt?

  11. #11
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
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    What are the chances of being hit by a car and by lightning at the same time?

    Jumpin' Jiggawatts!?

  12. #12
    Senior Member CigTech's Avatar
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    Now lets see, your on a metal bike in water with lightning comming down. I don't think the lightning pole is needed at all. Wait you do have rubber tires so if you just drag a chain then you would not need the lightning pole.
    May your feet keep move'n with the wind to your back.

    CigTech

  13. #13
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Your chances of getting hit by a car far outweigh the chance of being struck my lightning, even when it's raining. By a factor of thousands, I would say...
    www.rebel-cycles.com

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  14. #14
    Senior Member O-Town's Avatar
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    Happy first day of huricane season everyone!
    Geee that would be nice.

  15. #15
    Easily distracted...
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    I've often ridden out storms at a local pub.
    Safe, efficient, and comfortable transportation.

  16. #16
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    Getting hit by lightning is right up there with winning the lotto - 1:10,000,000 lifetime. Getting hit by a car is more like 1:100. I've been hit 4 times, so three of you are off the hook. You can thank me later...

    Worst case scenario - getting hit by a car and lightning at the same time. Yeah, that would really suck.
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  17. #17
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Happy first day of huricane season everyone!
    yay
    But back on topic, ive ridden in bad thunderstorms, by accident. When your riding a bike thats fenderless, and your riding with your eyes closed because you dont have glasses on, you pretty much forget about the lighting

  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    Getting hit by lightning is right up there with winning the lotto - 1:10,000,000 lifetime.
    But this is for average lifetime exposure of an average person. For folks who put themselves at greater exposure (i.e. like golfers or cyclist who stay outside when there is lightning) the odds increase significantly.

    Al

  19. #19
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't consider a lightening storm to be a significant enough risk to prevent me from riding. On the other hand, I've often wondered what it would be like to get caught halfway between work and home in a hail storm. Now that would really suck. I've rode in some pretty bad storms, where I thought that it just might hail, but I've never personaly been direclty hit by hail, but I can't imagine that it is pleasant. Big hail could seriously injure you. I've often wondered this because most of my commute is away from buildings or any sort of convenient cover in which I could duck into.

  20. #20
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach
    Big hail could seriously injure you. .
    Thats what the helmet is for.

  21. #21
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    But this is for average lifetime exposure of an average person. For folks who put themselves at greater exposure (i.e. like golfers or cyclist who stay outside when there is lightning) the odds increase significantly.
    Still not anywhere near as high as getting hit by a car. Especially for cyclists riding through urban areas (you're 5 times less likely to be struck by lightning in a built-up area than in an open field). I dunno: there are about 100 lightning-related deaths in the U.S. per year (most of which happen in open areas) and about 1000 non-trivial injuries. Compare this with 1000 bike deaths and many many more serious injuries. And being caught cycling and being caught in a rainstorm seems about equally unlikely to happen to the average American.

  22. #22
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I've kind of been hoping for a thunderstorm to ride home in, but they keep being over before I'm done with work. So far just drizzle. I love thunderstorms.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  23. #23
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    Left early to beat thunderstorms home. Murphy granted me a nice flat on the way but I still made it. I suspect that high cross winds would be more dangerous than lightning.

  24. #24
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy
    Still not anywhere near as high as getting hit by a car. Especially for cyclists riding through urban areas (you're 5 times less likely to be struck by lightning in a built-up area than in an open field). I dunno: there are about 100 lightning-related deaths in the U.S. per year (most of which happen in open areas) and about 1000 non-trivial injuries. Compare this with 1000 bike deaths and many many more serious injuries. And being caught cycling and being caught in a rainstorm seems about equally unlikely to happen to the average American.
    Eggzactly. I tend not to ride in thunderstorms, nor do I play golf, but I'm playing in traffic about 10 times a week, 48 weeks/year. The odds of getting hit by a car are thousands, if not millions of times more likely than getting hit by lightning.
    Proud Member of the HHCMF
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  25. #25
    Senior Member acroy's Avatar
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    dam the weather reports, get out and ride! the more extreme the weather, the better. it's a total ball to ride through a rain & thunderstorm, splashing, getting soaked, the sweet taste of used Michelin and Pirelli in the mouth
    i do wonder: has anyone ever been hit by lightning while on a bike?? anyone care to do some googling?
    beer-bottle target

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