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Ever hear of a cyclist being struck by lightning?(15 posts)

Ever hear of a cyclist being struck by lightning?dzrider
Jul 22, 2003 7:04 AM
I got caught in a thunderstorm commuting this morning and my co-workers were startled that I'd risk riding in one. These are the same people who wouldn't risk riding in rain, heat, cold, wind, up hills, down hills, on the roads or on trails, but it did make me think.

I admitted it was possible for a tree to be struck by lightning and all or part of it fall on me, but had never heard of a cyclist being struck. Neither did any of them, which, with their capacity for imagining disaster, I found comforting. Whaddaya think? Is it possible?
I guess it's possible...biknben
Jul 22, 2003 7:21 AM
...but no more likely than someone standing next to you being struck with an umbrella. I doubt moving is going to be a factor and that rubber on your tires isn't going to save you.

There are many reasons not to ride in a storm. Visibility immediately comes to mind. The thought of being struck by lightning is way down on my list of things to look out for. Your co-workers need a wake up call. Lightning strikes almost at random. You can increase or decrease the likelyhood but it is still a crap shoot.

My collegues think I'm a freak for commuting. They continuously point out example to support their claim. Me??? I think they are all lazy slobs who need to get a hobby. Maybe I should point out their guts to support my claim.

Ride on my friend.
re: Yes - struck deadTommasini
Jul 22, 2003 7:46 AM
About 2 years ago a cyclist here in Omaha was riding on a open area of a bike path when he was struck dead by a lightning bolt - he was the tallest item in the vicinity. They got an AED to him very quickly (from a building less than a block away) but he was a goner.....
I wonder if..coonass
Jul 22, 2003 4:19 PM
this is the same incident where the MTB biker was riding out in the open, with a 'blue-bird' sky (virtually not a cloud in the sky) and he was struck dead by a lightning bolt that was nearly 5 miles away but 'flashed-over' the 5 miles distance and killed him. Witnesses indicated that there wasn't even a thunderous sound; just "ZAP" and he fell over dead...I read the article, but don't remember exactly which State it occurred in...
been caught out a few times...spooky...EpicX
Jul 22, 2003 7:56 AM
i've been caught out in a thunderstorm a few times and it was nerveracking. the worst was when i was riding a steel bike across a long bridge over a lake, lightning everywhere. i never thought i'd make it home. I kept going though because i was within 5 miles of home and the only place i could stop anyway would be empty fields, under a tree or on the bridge. better to keep moving i figured.

now i ride carbon, hopefully it's less of a lightning rod. lol.
Personally, I'm movin' too darn fast to get hitPaulCL
Jul 22, 2003 8:00 AM
OK..in my dreams. In lightning, I always try to duck into some cover. If I'm on the road, even on a CF bike with rubber tires, I may be the tallest thing for miles. I think the biggest problem is not the lightning, but poor visibility for me and drivers in a rain storm.

Paul
Rubber Tiresbboc
Jul 22, 2003 8:47 AM
Factoid:
The rubber on you tires (Bike or Car) is not sufficient to safeguard you from lightning. Supposedly the metal enclosure of a car, or airplane is what actually protects the occupants, not any rubber. So, your CF bike/tires offer no protection. (I Saw this on the Discovery Channel or TLC recently)
Bill
You are 100% correct (nm)lemmy999
Jul 22, 2003 9:14 AM
My single scariest cycling memory....cory
Jul 22, 2003 8:05 AM
I've never heard of it actually happening, but I'm sure it has. I've seen two people shortly after they were struck, in two separate incidents--one on a golf course in Florida and one in Vietnam, where a tank crewman was riding with his head out of the turret and lightning struck the tank. I was the first medic on the scene. He had a perfect imprint of an M-16 magazine burned into his leg (it was in a cargo pocket in his pants) and kept saying, "Maria...Maria...Maria." I evacked him, but I still wonder sometimes, 35 years later, how he did.
About 20 years ago when my son was 2, I used to carry him on a seat that bolted to the top tube, with folding footrests on the downtube. We were riding on a fire trail in the Sierra when a storm blew up, and I was sprinting, trying to beat it home. As we crossed an open space, my hair suddenly started to prickle and stand up, and I could hear a very faint sound, part hum and part crackle. I remembered reading something about that being a sign lightning was very close, and without really thinking about it, I veered into a roadside ditch, dumped the bike and pushed him down flat, covering him as well as I could. Lightning hit a big pine tree maybe 50 yards away, close enough that the concussion stunned both of us. What MIGHT have happened is probably my scariest civilian memory.
It depends on where you live and ride..........CARBON110
Jul 22, 2003 8:27 AM
I feel more comfortable say, on the Blue Ridge Parkway or some back road in Vermont or even downtown Boston then perhaps Mtn biking Utah or road riding in Arizona or some places like Florida. There are places that just get strikes all the time. Check out your weather channel when they show where lighting is striking...the Southwest gets hit hard as does Florida and some of the Midcentral. Unless its just dam pouring out I ride anyway...city or back roads. If a downpour approaches it never lasts long. I am concerned about seniors in cars on a sunny day then rain 99% of the time. Some of those damn seniors cant even see the road much less my skinny butt....they weave in and out of lanes when Im next to them in my car! I think if your older then 65 you should have to retake your driving exam anually.
Been almost that close without a child on the bike.dzrider
Jul 22, 2003 10:01 AM
It hit a metal tank about 100 yards away that had once held cement. The feelings of my hair standing on end in the rain and an instant almost like bouyancy are still with me. When I got a little further down the road there were a string of car alarms going off!
Two deaths this weekend (not on bikes)..Brooks
Jul 22, 2003 8:36 AM
A family was car camping in the High Uintas here in Utah when the usual afternoon thunderstorm blew up. They all gather under a tall tree, the parents sitting in metal lawn chairs! Parents killed (Darwin award nominees), kids are singed, but generally ok but now are orphans. Big article in the paper extols how great an outdoorsman the guy is. Yet he sits in a metal chair under a tall tree with lightning blasting around?

On the topic, I head for home or cover when I hear thunder.
re: Ever hear of a cyclist being struck by lightning?tarwheel
Jul 22, 2003 8:51 AM
I thought real hard about that last week when our group ride was caught in a bad thunderstorm. It must have been hailing because the raindrops stung like small rocks. I dropped off the back of the paceline because I couldn't see and was afraid I would hit another bike and wreck. Another guy joined me and we rode about the hardest I've ever pushed. Then the lightning started popping all over the place, so we finally headed for cover when got to a school. By the time the lightning stopped, it was nearly dark and we rode back to our cars with our tail-lights blinking. My legs were still sore and tired 3 days later.
re: Ever hear of a cyclist being struck by lightning?yellowspox
Jul 22, 2003 7:46 PM
It's more common than you think. We had a rider struck on Hwy 72 just south of Rockford, Il last summer. I don't recall if he survived.
re: Ever hear of a cyclist being struck by lightning?aliensporebomb
Jul 23, 2003 9:40 AM
Don't think that Carbon will necessarily be a big help
because carbon is an EXCELLENT conductor of electricity.

Years ago I bought a kite with special Easton aluminum
with carbon fiber spars and it came with warnings about
how if the kite came in contact with electrical lines to
just forget about it since the carbon was an conductor
to be reckoned with.

Then, at a kite shop this guy talked about how one kite
was discontinued from production because it had carbon
graphite spars with aluminized mylar sail material. A
guy was flying the kite in a field in California and it
was clear blue sky - apparently the kite was producing
such a lightning attractant that from 10-15 miles away
a lightning bolt from a seemingly distant cloud sought
out the kite and struck it and the guy flying it died.

Scary stories here - I don't mind getting caught in rain
but thunderstorms are scary stuff. I once hit almost 63
mph on a downhill with a 25 mph tailwind trying to outrun
a thunderstorm as it entered the area - I didn't want to
get caught on the hill so I just went for it. Two blocks
past the hill I got pelted with rain and hail - horrible.
Scary situation.