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 Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

 06-10-04, 08:53 PM #1 Panoramic Jazzman Thread Starter     Join Date: May 2004 Bikes: Posts: 222 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) Being struck by lightning Two questions: 1) Whati s the probability of it happening? and 2) Is this reasoning correct - death is proportional to current of electricity running through you. Rubber tires, though an insulator (and hence produces low current), won't help you because in the first 0.0001ms, the lightning travels through your body at its initial speed before it hits the rubber (aka the transient stage for those electricians out there). Thanks
 06-10-04, 09:09 PM #2 J-McKech What?     Join Date: Oct 2003 Location: N. Tx Bikes: Bianchi Brava(retired), Surly Instigator(retired) Posts: 1,650 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 1 Post(s) Well since your a moving object i would think (or atleast hope!) that it reduces your risk because isnt lightning looking for a place to strike and i would its a stationary project...am i right?
 06-10-04, 09:10 PM #3 uciflylow Look Ma, NO hands!   Join Date: Oct 2002 Location: UC Tennessee Bikes: Posts: 988 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) 1) Whati s the probability of it happening? My first cousin was killed by a lightning strike between her car and her front door, 15 feet or so. Wrong place at the wrong time? death is proportional to current of electricity running through you I assisted in an atopsy of a person who was struck and killed. One leg of the blue jeans she had on looked like it had been thrown under a lawn mower! The electricty actually super heats the fluids etc. that it passes through. This happens in an instant and usually causes the most damage. But if the electrons pass over your heart, it can cause your heart to go into a state of fluttering, and you may die. Bottom line, the only truly safe place in a thunder storm is under roof! You may be in the wrong place at the right time!
 06-10-04, 09:38 PM #4 Red Baron Senior Member     Join Date: Aug 2003 Location: On a Road in Central Bluegrass KY Bikes: Not enough Posts: 1,251 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) Ya got it all wrong. Cars are safe (if you are in them ) because the rubber tires do not give you a ground path. Bike I'm unsure, but wouldn't chance it. Depends on the terrain and if its raining (provides a good ground path even with tires. Actually learned this in the military, 1/4 amp can kill under the right circumstances. 9 amps is what is used to 'fry ' death row inmates. (sorry for being morbid). Awesome considering most homes are wired for 15 amps. Bottom line don't chance it, its how good a ground path you provide that attracts lightening. Tha's why if you get caught, stay away from tall trees, high points, lay in a ditch if need be and stay away from storms.
 06-10-04, 09:47 PM #5 Trek Rider Senior Member     Join Date: Nov 2002 Location: On my bike Bikes: Posts: 318 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 1 Post(s) Even a 9 volt battery could kill you, if you're smart/dumb enough to figure a way to do it, like this guy apparently did. http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1999-50.html
 06-10-04, 10:25 PM #6 DnvrFox Banned.     Join Date: Aug 2001 Bikes: Posts: 20,917 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) WRONG, WRONG, WRONG Rubber tires do NOT protect you from the lightning. If the lightning can jump several thousand feet through air (a good insulator), it will have absolutely no problem jumping four inches from a steel rim to the ground. Also, most modern tires contain steel. It is the steel in the car surrounding you that protects you. Therefore, a convertible offers no protection. Please see: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/hanford/wxmy...wx1/svrwx1.htm Also, lightning is NOt "looking for" a place to strike. It will strike where the best environment is for it to go to ground. If you happen to be there, whammo! Going fast or going slow or stopping will make no difference. In fact, the faster you go the more opportunity you have of being where the lightning might strike, while conversely you also have more of an opportunity of not being where the lightning strikes. It makes no difference, unless you stand still in a safe place. About 200 folks are killed each year by lightning. About 43,000 are killed by car accidents. Anyone here not driving or biking on roads? Which presents the greatest danger? Last weekend a person was killed by a lightning strike in the Denver metro aea. There was a great big deal made out of it. Six folks were killed in car crashes. Not a bit on the TV about that. Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-10-04 at 10:39 PM.
 06-10-04, 11:12 PM #7 J-McKech What?     Join Date: Oct 2003 Location: N. Tx Bikes: Bianchi Brava(retired), Surly Instigator(retired) Posts: 1,650 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 1 Post(s) So how do these people get struck and still live?
06-11-04, 05:59 AM   #8
DnvrFox
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 Originally Posted by HammerTheHill So how do these people get struck and still live?
I guess the same way someone gets struck by a car and lives. Darned lucky. Helps to have others around!

http://www.torontohiking.com/Tutoria...lightning.html

Quote:
 If a member of your party gets hit by lightning start emergency treatment immediately. A person is not electrified after being hit by lighting and a full 80% of people that are hit by lightning recover. If a person has no pulse or heartbeat start performing CPR. Treat electrical burns as you would any other. Neurological and internal injuries are possible. It is also possible for someone to be hit by lightning and be practically uninjured.

06-11-04, 06:10 AM   #9
Red Baron
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 Originally Posted by HammerTheHill So how do these people get struck and still live?
DNVR- I stand corrected on my rubber tire story, I explained it wrong. The electricity does travel through the steel, I assumed one was smart enought not to touch same, as well as the outer shell of the body.

We studied lightening quite a bit in a some class - can't remember what - prof's theory (and I've read more since that class) is that 'the initial charge' actually travels in the ground and when conditions are right it travels from ground to air. This does not forget that lightning also jumps from cloud to cloud.

His thoughts also that lighting cares little fro theory and strikes were it wants.

06-11-04, 06:17 AM   #10
DnvrFox
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 Originally Posted by Red Baron DNVR- I stand corrected on my rubber tire story, I explained it wrong. The electricity does travel through the steel, I assumed one was smart enought not to touch same, as well as the outer shell of the body. We studied lightening quite a bit in a some class - can't remember what - prof's theory (and I've read more since that class) is that 'the initial charge' actually travels in the ground and when conditions are right it travels from ground to air. This does not forget that lightning also jumps from cloud to cloud. His thoughts also that lighting cares little fro theory and strikes were it wants.
The issue of ground to cloud vs. cloud to ground has been much debated. Back in the 1940's, my grandfather was a lookout on a high mountain. Even then, professors asked him to see if he could tell whether or not the bolt came down or went up!

According to NASA, it is cloud to ground! Who knows?

Quote:
 Lightning is a sudden discharge of electricity between charged regions of thunderclouds and the ground. Only about 25 percent of lightning strikes are cloud-to-ground. The rest are either cloud-to-cloud or intracloud.
Also see:

http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/edu/ltg/

Quote:
 What causes lightning? Lightning originates around 15,000 to 25,000 feet above sea level when raindrops are carried upward until some of them convert to ice. For reasons that are not widely agreed upon, a cloud-to-ground lightning flash originates in this mixed water and ice region. The charge then moves downward in 50-yard sections called step leaders. It keeps moving toward the ground in these steps and produces a channel along which charge is deposited. Eventually, it encounters something on the ground that is a good connection. The circuit is complete at that time, and the charge is lowered from cloud to ground. The return stroke is a flow of charge (current) which produces a luminosity much brighter than the part that came down. This entire event usually takes less than half a second.
Seems like it goes both ways!

Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-11-04 at 06:23 AM.

 06-11-04, 07:39 AM #11 a2psyklnut NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!     Join Date: Mar 2000 Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts! Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame Posts: 7,964 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) Pray first, Then ride. If you get struck, it was God bringing you home. ******This recommendation is not for everyone.******** L8R __________________ "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger
06-11-04, 08:07 AM   #12
Pat
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by DnvrFox WRONG, WRONG, WRONG Rubber tires do NOT protect you from the lightning. If the lightning can jump several thousand feet through air (a good insulator), it will have absolutely no problem jumping four inches from a steel rim to the ground. Also, most modern tires contain steel. It is the steel in the car surrounding you that protects you. Therefore, a convertible offers no protection. Please see: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/hanford/wxmy...wx1/svrwx1.htm Also, lightning is NOt "looking for" a place to strike. It will strike where the best environment is for it to go to ground. If you happen to be there, whammo! Going fast or going slow or stopping will make no difference. In fact, the faster you go the more opportunity you have of being where the lightning might strike, while conversely you also have more of an opportunity of not being where the lightning strikes. It makes no difference, unless you stand still in a safe place. About 200 folks are killed each year by lightning. About 43,000 are killed by car accidents. Anyone here not driving or biking on roads? Which presents the greatest danger? Last weekend a person was killed by a lightning strike in the Denver metro aea. There was a great big deal made out of it. Six folks were killed in car crashes. Not a bit on the TV about that.

Well Fox, I looked up lighting fatalities and found them for the USA for 1990-2003 and they averaged 58 per year. Hmmm. There is a pretty big difference between 58 and 200. I don't dispute you 43,000 motor vehicle fatalities but we are talking bicycles here. Bicycle fatalities are about 800 per year.

I have never even heard of a cyclist killed by lightning but I suppose it can happen. I did notice that about 4 times as many men as women were killed by lightning. That could mean that men are much more into outdoor activities then women or that many men are too stupid to come in from the rain or both. Aren't statistics fun!

I noticed that lighting risk varied considerably by state. The risk in California was vanishingly small. I guess it rains so seldom in California and that they have so few thunderstorms that almost no one is killed. The risk was quite high in mountain states. I was at Rocky Mountain National Park and they have thunderstorms nearly every afternoon in the summer and it is not real smart to be running around above the tree line in a lightning storm. Florida has a big lighting risk too. I think that is the guy running around on the golf course waving his golf club around in a thunderstorm effect (fishing rods work pretty well). Most of our thunderstorms in FL are afternoon or evening situations and most people ride during the morning before it gets hotter n blazes.

I would think that if a cyclist generally rides in the mornings (electrical storms are usually afternoon affairs) and takes cover when an electrical storm is in the area that their risk to getting killed by lightning would be mighty small.

06-11-04, 08:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Pat I did notice that about 4 times as many men as women were killed by lightning. That could mean that men are much more into outdoor activities then women or that many men are too stupid to come in from the rain or both. Aren't statistics fun!
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 06-11-04, 08:27 AM #14 DnvrFox Banned.     Join Date: Aug 2001 Bikes: Posts: 20,917 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) Okay - you got me there!! I was "remembering" - but I fail to see a huge amount of difference between 200 and 58 average when compared with either 800 or 43,000. My point being - you have a much greater chance of death while driving an automobile than of being hit by lightning, yet we all talk about the dangers of lightning while auto deaths are treated as routine. Have a great day! Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-11-04 at 09:22 AM.
06-11-04, 11:06 AM   #15
hollow
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 Originally Posted by HammerTheHill So how do these people get struck and still live?
I was struck by lightning about 5 years ago during a freak January thunderstorm. Fortunately, the lightning bounced off of a building before hitting me, so it just knocked me to the ground and I was okay. I wish I had a HR monitor on, I'd love to know what mine was at that point. Do they go to 300?

I've had two other strikes within around 50-100 feet from me. One time playing tennis at an outdoor court it hit the metal fence surrounding the court and another time I was canoeing on a river and it struck fairly close.

Now I am terrified of thunderstorms and won't even go outside at all during them.

 06-11-04, 05:46 PM #16 Avalanche325 Senior Member     Join Date: Apr 2003 Location: Pasadena, CA Bikes: Litespeed Firenze / GT Avalanche Posts: 3,162 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) One thing about cycling, as opposed to golf, is that your time being out in the open and being the highest object around is small. There is usually trees, telephone poles, signs, etc., that are higher than you and "more likely" to take a strike. Well, maybe not some of you mid-west riders. There have been some fairly new discoveries about how lightning travels. It actually builds up a charge, travels to a point (node) and builds up charge again, this is where it sometimes forks off. The interesting thing is that when is gets close to the ground, or you, a "feeder" bolt travels up from the ground, or top of your head. IF this feeder connects with the bolt coming down, all of those stored up nodes discharge. That is what determines where it strikes. So if you are ever in a storm and suddenly feel your hair stand up, drop down into a ball. Yes, a car protects you because you are in a metal box (ie Faraday Cage). The charge travels through the body of the car, not you.
 06-11-04, 06:03 PM #17 Panoramic Jazzman Thread Starter     Join Date: May 2004 Bikes: Posts: 222 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) Although the theory works, A more general law is that you can't predict lightning by theory... and I don't think many people who value their lives will argue with that.
06-11-04, 09:16 PM   #18
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 Originally Posted by Panoramic Two questions: 1) Whati s the probability of it happening? and 2) Is this reasoning correct - death is proportional to current of electricity running through you. Rubber tires, though an insulator (and hence produces low current), won't help you because in the first 0.0001ms, the lightning travels through your body at its initial speed before it hits the rubber (aka the transient stage for those electricians out there). Thanks
Your chances of getting struck by lightening are a little better than your chances of being delcared King of the British Empire.

As to being fatal, life is fatal. No one gets out alive, so stop worrying. When its your time to go, you're gone.

Many years ago, there was a game show on TV called I've Got a Secret. One guest was a forrest ranger who had been struck by lightening more than 15 times. One time, the works of a pocket watch in his pants pocket was fused. Another time, the metal button on his pants melted and burned him, but he had no other injuries.

Pro golfer Lee Trevino was struck at least once.

There was also a guest on another episode that let one million volts flow through his body. He held a wooden stick in one hand with aluminum foil wrapped around it. The foil smoldered and the wood started smoking, but he wasn't hurt. Reason? Almost zero amperage.

Lightening has very little amperage on average. But, I believe there are more living people who have been struck by lightening than people killed by it.

06-11-04, 11:24 PM   #19
hollow
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 Originally Posted by Avalanche325 So if you are ever in a storm and suddenly feel your hair stand up, drop down into a ball.
When I was struck I could tell it was coming. I don't think that my hair stood up, but I could sense something and the air around me seemed very strange and almost greenish. I started running at full speed to get into the building, but the lightning hit before I could get there.

 06-12-04, 07:08 AM #20 Hunter NOT a weight weenie     Join Date: Dec 2000 Bikes: Posts: 1,762 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) The effect of electric shock on the human body is determined by three main factors: 1) how much current is flowing through the body (measured in amperes and determined by voltage and resistance) 2) the path of current through the body 3) how long the body is in the circuit. http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/carlson37.html From my years in the building trades it is common knowledge that amperage combined with volts is what kills you. Something to think about it only takes 0.07 amps to stop a human heart.
 05-21-17, 11:30 PM #23 FBinNY  Senior Member   Join Date: Apr 2009 Location: New Rochelle, NY Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter Posts: 34,665 Mentioned: 93 Post(s) Tagged: 1 Thread(s) Quoted: 3165 Post(s) Having enjoyed a few close lightning strikes (one within 10' or so), I can tell you that what you describe is more like a near strike rather than an actual hit. I don't believe you can be struck by lightning and not know, but this field isn't one about black and white, yes or no. When the charge is building up prior to a strike, it involves an area, so just being close you'll feel the effects, even if the main body of the discharge doesn't run through you (which is good). The changes in the electrical field might be enough to overwhelm the low power circuits in a computer, which may be why there's missing data. __________________ FB Chain-L site An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure. “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
 05-22-17, 12:08 AM #24 Machka  In Real Life     Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Down under down under Bikes: Lots Posts: 48,786 Mentioned: 55 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 1537 Post(s) Yes @tmp1207, I agree with @FBinNY that what you experienced sounds like a near strike not an actual strike. I too have been close to lightening strikes. In one instance, I was standing in the doorway of a semi-enclosed patio, with my hand on the metal door frame, watching the storm. Everything was black and wild, trees nearly bent double with the wind, thunder and lightning all around. All of a sudden everything went super-still and at that moment, I thought it best to let go of the metal door frame and take a step back. Then one tree in the yard stirred and at the same time, my hair stood on end and there was that tingling feeling like pins and needles all over ... and then the bolt. And yes, lightning does have a sound ... it hisses. It also has neat little mini bolts coming off the main bolt.
05-22-17, 04:20 AM   #25
Succhia Ruota
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 Originally Posted by tmp1207 i apologize in advance for resurfacing an ancient thread...
You don't have to apologize if you acknowledge the resurrection.

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 Originally Posted by tmp1207 ... There was a second thunder/lightning combo which sounded closer than the first. This is when (someone mentioned early in this thread) "I felt a weird vibe about where I was and the "air" around me. It was as if o felt something bad was about to happen...
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Machka Then one tree in the yard stirred and at the same time, my hair stood on end and there was that tingling feeling like pins and needles all over ... and then the bolt.
I'll just add that if you're ever anywhere near a storm and you suddenly feel a tingling sensation, or any other weird feeling, drop to the ground, in a ball, posthaste.

Yes, you generally have a greater chance of winning the lottery, but being in or near a storm increases your chances akin to spending 6 month's salary on tickets. And if you're on a bike, you can make that a year's.

In the summer in GA, riding can get dangerous in the afternoon with our daily pop-ups. It will be totally clear when you start a ride, but then an hour later and 20 miles out, you can find yourself in a veritable monsoon without warning (nothing on radar until it literally condenses right over your head). I've been way too close, way too many times to lightning strikes that I generally avoid afternoon rides in July & August if the storm forecast is >= ~25-35%.

Last edited by Succhia Ruota; 05-22-17 at 04:28 AM.