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Thunder and lightning

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Thunder and lightning

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Old 07-27-08, 10:30 PM
  #1  
FreddyV
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Thunder and lightning

Who lets that stand in their commuting way?

I know I do. Yesterday I thought it would be great weather for bike commuting. Nice and warm, sunny. So I'd pack up the panniers and head to work by bike.

Not...

It's raining quite hard right now. That doesn't bother me too much. There's also a thunderstorm hanging around here, that just won't blow over. I have to ride in a bunch of totally open roads, which doesn't really make me feel comfortable.

Anyone know of any commuters getting hit by lightning?
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Old 07-27-08, 10:43 PM
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ShadowGray
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For a 3.5 mile ride (each way), I'm not too afraid of thunder/lightning. And the rain only makes it more fun!

Then again, I live in the middle of a big city where there are nice tall buildings to take away the lightning.
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Old 07-27-08, 11:07 PM
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I just rode home with the possibility, and it turned out, the fact of some lightning. Wasn't terribly concerned, the odds are pretty good. BUT, thunderstorms include the possibility of hail, hail hurts!
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Old 07-27-08, 11:27 PM
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Nope. Rain, thunder and lightning don't bother me. I haven't commuted in the wintertime yet. I figure ice and snow would stop my commuting for awhile.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
I just rode home with the possibility, and it turned out, the fact of some lightning. Wasn't terribly concerned, the odds are pretty good. BUT, thunderstorms include the possibility of hail, hail hurts!
hail really really hurts, hurts even more when it's coming in sideways, I've seen it make grown men cry.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Big_e View Post
Nope. Rain, thunder and lightning don't bother me. I haven't commuted in the wintertime yet. I figure ice and snow would stop my commuting for awhile.
Ernest
Shouldn't let it stop you. I use some Nokian studded tires when the cycles paths are covered in ice. It's fun fun fun!

Especially fun working your way past piles of mangled cars, it makes you feel so superior. Until you fall off yourself, then you just jump up in a I meant to do that kind of way.
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Old 07-28-08, 03:06 AM
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Rather hail than a stiff head wind ... I HATE head wind!! Often hails in summer here in Sydney ... came home a few times looking like that cat in that kids book "Put me in the zoo" (Dr Seuss - you remember .. the one who could change his spots) ... red welts all over ... kind of funny really.

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Old 07-28-08, 03:21 AM
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I don't really like riding when there is a lot of lightning but have found it is good for my sprint
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Old 07-28-08, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 12bar View Post
I don't really like riding when there is a lot of lightning but have found it is good for my sprint
You know what will *really* help your sprint times?

Dark, wooded trail with bats diving all around. That was fun last night.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Underbridge View Post
You know what will *really* help your sprint times?

Dark, wooded trail with bats diving all around. That was fun last night.
Or when you are heading down a dark narrow trail with no room to turn around and there are multiple sets of glowing eyes ahead of you that seem almost to eye level.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:49 AM
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Really gusty, high winds are the only thing I worry about. I've ridden in hail and lightning, I'm not worried about that.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:12 AM
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Thunder and lightning is

....very very frightening me-
Galileo,galileo,
Galileo galileo
Galileo figaro-magnifico-






Could these guys look anything less like Queen I really love "Brian" at the back


Apologies if this has been done before
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Old 07-28-08, 07:16 AM
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Usually thunderstorms pass by fairly quickly, so I will leave work early or wait them out. I keep a close eye on the radar in the afternoons. I also have a few backup options -- namely other people in my office who live near me. So, on the rare ocassions when a bad thunderstorm pops up when it's time to head home, I will catch a ride with someone else.

I won't ride in a bad thunderstorm if I can help it, although I have been caught in a few while on longer rides. Usually we'll try to duck for cover somewhere after a few lightning strikes get uncomfortably close. One of my fastest solo rides ever was when I was trying to outrun a storm -- unsuccessfully, I might add. It is pretty hard to outrace a storm.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:29 AM
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Teehee remember Bohemian Rhapsody in Waynes World?

I'll stop now
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Old 07-28-08, 08:22 AM
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Here in South Florida this is a daily occurrence. What bothers me the most is the reduced visibility in these situations. If you are "in" the thunderstorm, you are likely in a heavy rain and the other traffic most likely cannot see you, even if you have adequate lighting/reflectiveness.
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Old 07-28-08, 09:14 AM
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I always tell people, "If it rains, you get wet. If there's lightening, ride faster."
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Old 07-28-08, 09:25 AM
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I will wait out a bad storm if it is passing fast, but I have only opted to drive in once when it was raining out, and that was because I was running late as well. I had 4 rides in the rain and thunder/lightning last week alone! My bike was a mess....
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Old 07-28-08, 09:23 PM
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So far, I have been fairly lucky with thunderstorms. I usually ride through them, but always got them in town or on roads that are riddled with electrical lines. I would really worry about riding on an isolated road in an open field without electrical lines around, as those are the dangerous ones and I would not have any place to hide.

Visibility is a problem on fast moving roads, but I'm typically in situations where there is a good level of traffic; therefore a good rain typically slows down traffic fairly much. My worries are twofold:
- Pedestrians without rain gear. During the first 2-5 minutes, they run like crazy to avoid getting wet. Running into a cyclist or a car driver is the least of their worries.
- Puddles. Montréal itself has very good drainage patterns, with 4-5% crowns on most streets (vs the typical 2%). So there are few puddles and they are not deep... unless they hide a nasty pot hole, which is usually the case.


As for hail: not too bad unless it falls into my face. My helmet proved itself useful more than once as a hail receiver.
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Old 07-28-08, 09:48 PM
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Not me. I'm very afraid of lightning.

It kills a lot of people each year.

Start with this: It's estimated that 40% of lightning strikes on people go unreported.

91% of strikes are one person alone. 9% involved more than one person getting zapped at the same time.

Death by states (from highest to lowest): FL, MI, TX, NY, TN

Location of Incident (don't know how bikes fit into this):

40% Unreported.
27% Open fields & recreation areas (not golf).
14% Under trees (not golf).
8% Water-related (boating, fishing, swimming…).
5% Golf/golf under trees.
3% Heavy equipment and machinery-related.
2.4% Telephone-related (use a cordless or cell phone during a storm).
0.7% Radio, transmitter & antenna-related.


The most frequent days (obvious one here) is Saturday and Sunday. Next is, for some reason, Wednesday.

The above was from the Lightning Safety Institute (didn't know it existed).

Below is from National Geographic:

Lightning is a killer. It claims more victims each year than do snowstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. It keeps a low profile as the second largest weather-related killer, usually striking one person at a time. Only floods, which can wipe out towns, kill more people.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, 73 people die from lightning strikes each year and hundreds more suffer life-debilitating injuries. Memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, and weakness are some of the maladies cited.

The highest death rates from lightning in the United States are in Florida, which is known as the lightning capital of the country. According to the service, from 1959 to 2003 lightning killed 3,696 people in the United States. Of those, 425 were in the Sunshine State. (The only state that did not record a lightning death in the period was Alaska).

Lightning has injured at least 2,000 people in Florida since 1959.
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Old 07-28-08, 09:55 PM
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Here are some more interesting stats for fun:

The very first car accident in history happened in New York in 1896. The car hit and killed a bicyclist.

Here are some more stats on bike riding accidents from the Bicycle Almanac:

Where cyclists die or crash

U.S. cyclists are three more likely to be killed than German cyclists and six times more than Dutch cyclists, whether compared per-trip or per-distance traveled. (Reuters, Aug. 28, 2003, by Maggie Fox)

Cyclist fatalities occurred more frequently in urban areas (66%), at nonintersection locations (67%), between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (30%), and during the months of June, July, and August (36%). (NHTSA, 2004)

Riding on the sidewalk is several more times more dangerous than riding in the street. (William Moritz, 1998)

Most deaths on major roads. Fifty-seven percent of bicycle deaths in 1999 occurred on major roads, and 37 percent occurred on local roads. (6)

Streets with bike lanes have a significantly lower crash rate then either major or minor streets without any bicycle facilities (38 and 56% respectively). (William Moritz, 1998)

Streets with bike lanes are safer than those without. Article also has information about the safety of bike paths. (BicyclingInfo.org, 2004)

Texas leads cycling deaths. Texas ranks 14th in number of cyclist fatalities per capita. (5)

Four states lead cycling deaths. Four states (California, Florida, New York, and Texas) accounted for 43% of bicycle deaths in 1999. (6)





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When cyclists die

Many deaths occur at night. In 1999, 39% of deaths on bicycles nationwide occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight. (9) (more on when cyclists died)



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How many cyclists die

Deaths per year. 725, 629, 665, 732, and 693 cyclists died per year in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000 respectively, and were about 89% male. (National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration, and Insurance Institute for Highway Saftey)

An average of 16.5 cyclists per million die every year in the U.S. (For motorists, it's 19.9 motorists per million.) (National Safety Council 1988)

Cyclists are 2% of road deaths & injuries. The 761 cyclists killed in 1996 accounted for 2% of traffic fatalities, and the 59,000 cyclists injured made up 2% of all traffic injuries. (5)

Cycling deaths higher in 70's & 80's. The number of cyclist fatalities in 1996 was 19% lower than the 941 fatalities reported in 1986. The highest number of cyclist fatalities ever recorded was 1,003 in 1975. (5)

Cyclists accounted for 12% of all nonmotorist traffic fatalities in 1996. Pedestrians accounted for 86 percent, and the remaining 2 percent were skateboard riders, roller skaters, etc. (5)

Cyclists killed SINCE 1932. Nearly 44,000 cyclists have died in traffic crashes in the United States since 1932 &emdash; the first year in which estimates of cyclist fatalities were recorded. (5)

Cyclists killed IN 1932. The 350 cyclists killed in 1932 accounted for 1.3% of the 27,979 persons who died in traffic crashes that year. (5)



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Age of cycling victims

Child cyclists killed. Cyclists under age 16 accounted for 24% of all cyclists killed in 2002. (Insurance Institute for Highway Saftey) Cyclists under 16 were 33% of all cyclists killed and 45% of those injured in traffic crashes in 1996. In comparison, cyclists under age 16 accounted for 47 percent of all those killed in 1986. (5)

Average age of killed/injured cyclists. In 1996 the average age of cyclists killed in traffic crashes was 31 years, and the average age of those injured was 23.2 years. In 1986, the average age was 23 years. (5)



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Non-Fatal Injuries

One in every 20 bicyclists is injured annually.(Bicycling Magazine 1987)

A bicyclist can expect a minor injury every three years and a more serious one every fifteen. (Bicycle Forum 1978)

Kinds of crashes. Falls account for 59% of all crashes, running into a fixed object 14%, moving motor vehicles were involved in 11%, and another bicycle in 9%. (Moritz, 1998)



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Bike Lanes

We have a separate page about the safety of bike lanes.



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Helmets

CPSC Report. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released a detailed report in 1999 about helmet use among consumers. (There is very little there about efficacy.)

The Ontario Coalition for Better Cycling has lots of information about helmet efficacy.
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Old 07-29-08, 04:13 AM
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Hell NO! Since I started commuting there has been three hits within a 1/2 mile of my route that resulted in fires. That's in 10 weeks. One was 500 ft. Last year a house in my neighborhood burned to the ground from a strike.

I sit them out till they pass, watch radar in the afternoon when wee know they are coming and leave early enough to miss them or I get a ride home. So far I have managed to sit them out or leave early and beat them. Now I am a key holder and I generally start an hour early work .5-2 hours late so I can be flexible on my leave times.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:16 AM
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I'll ride in almost anything, snow, rain, extreme cold, etc. but not lightning.
A pretty interesting read about lightning safety can be found at NOAA: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/

Particularly interesting are the survivor stories. and the medical facts page. Reading a few of those should make you think twice about riding in a storm.

Generally, I will just wait out a storm.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by AntEater View Post
Particularly interesting are the survivor stories. and the medical facts page.
One of the survivors is listed as being left with 'extrasensory perception' as a medical impact.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:50 AM
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Or, you can strap a 1-iron to your bike. j/k

Originally Posted by Lee Trevino
In case of a thunderstorm, stand in the middle of the fairway and hold up a one iron. Not even God can hit a one iron.
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Old 07-29-08, 06:29 PM
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Had to wait one out today. What a gully washer. Flooded out out back lot around the loading docks. Had to be over a foot deep. Only seen that once before in the three years I worked at this location. News said 3 inch in 30 minutes at its peak. Lighting was hitting real close. It was rattling the windows with the thunder claps. So 2 hours of OT today.


Did get to try out my Freddy fenders. I must say I am a happy camper with them. Got home without soaking wet feet from tire spray.
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