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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last weekend I was leading a group of seven riders up in the west North Carolina mountains when we encountered the usual pop up afternoon rain storm. After putting on rain suits we ventured on . As the road reached higher elevations I started to see bolt of lightning here and there. It was still raining hard but we had enough visibility to continue moving on, albeit at a slower rate. We occasionally passed road side clearings large enough to accommodate the seven of us but I didn't stop.
But I questioned my decision to keep on keeping on. Are you better off continuing to ride in spite of the lightning, or is it best to pull off into an open clearing (no shelter) and wait it out?
 

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I've read news stories of people getting struck while riding... I would find shelter ASAP
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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How to avoid being stuck by lightning - Lightning Safety Protection Systems, Lightning Arrestor Sources, Lightning Rod Installers, Lightning Protection System Inspection, Lightning Strike Probability & Risk Assessment
When everything is wet, you aren't isolated from ground. The reason a car is a decent place is the metal body that is a much better conductor of current. Occupants are basically inside a Faraday cage as long as they don't touch metal when inside the car. Being on a motorcycle in a lightning storm is not a good idea.
 

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When everything is wet, you aren't isolated from ground. The reason a car is a decent place is the metal body that is a much better conductor of current. Occupants are basically inside a Faraday cage as long as they don't touch metal when inside the car. Being on a motorcycle in a lightning storm is not a good idea.
+1. Cars get struck by lightning occasionally; it just doesn't usually hurt the occupants. On a bike, you are an integral part of the best path to ground, which probably begins at your helmet. :thumbup:

I love thunderstorms, but I'd opt to not be the tallest thing around if I were riding near one (and remember that lightning strikes can and do happen several miles from the storm center).
 

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I thought this was going to be a thread about removing weight from the bike. :green_lol:
I was primed to give the O.P. crap about that, but then noticed he spelled it correctly within his post, and I don't think editing the thread title is possible for mere mortals, so -- contrary to my natural instinct -- I let it go. :biggrinjester: :biggrinjester:
 

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Cowboys aint easy to love
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I was primed to give the O.P. crap about that, but then noticed he spelled it correctly within his post, and I don't think editing the thread title is possible for mere mortals, so -- contrary to my natural instinct -- I let it go. :biggrinjester: :biggrinjester:
Me, too ... exactly!

(Now why did I bother to include this post? Have I become a true post whore?)
 

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If there's no shelter available I guess there's not much point in stopping, as I don't imagine that your odds of being hit change much. If there is shelter available, then by all means take it.

There's been a couple time I've been riding when the flash and sound were simultaneous, it sure scared the crapola out of me. :yikes:
 

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Remember the old Boy Scout rule, from the flash to the thunder, 5 seconds = 1 mile. I'd be careful if the thunder came within a second or two of the flash.
 

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Since nobody quoted my post and it was erroneous, I deleted it. Don’t want nobody to get kilt on my account.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My choices were not shelter or no shelter but rather stopping the group in an open area or keep riding. In other words are you more likely to be hit while riding or standing still but exposed? My guess is they are about the same.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Whether riding or standing, spread the group out. If you feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, dive into a ditch and lie flat.:biggrinjester:
 

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Last year I rode BRP from Asheville and got into the rain, then clouds with bolts of lightning left and right... I slowly rode through it, even thought it was deafening at times... I rode through tunnels and such and after one I pulled at the scenic viewer area where I found a few riders putting on rain gear... As soon as I stopped, a lady in a car stopped from behind and said that on the other side of the tunnel is complete shit - hail, rain, fog, lightning...

I liked the responce from one of the guys, - hurry up before its all gone, oh... yee...
 

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My choices were not shelter or no shelter but rather stopping the group in an open area or keep riding. In other words are you more likely to be hit while riding or standing still but exposed? My guess is they are about the same.
Those risks are about the same, however I would think that there is more risk riding in the storm rather than sitting it out. When riding in a storm, it is not just lightning that is the risk. Risks; poor visibility for you and cagers, less traction for you and cagers, falling limbs from trees and other debris blown out onto the road, water puddling on the road to unknown depths, possible hail and or high winds, extra rain-wear or clothing to inhibit control of the bike, hypothermia with the resulting confusion and loss of strength, etc. Since the risk of getting hit by lightning is about the same, I would get off the road and eliminate the other risks.:yesnod:
 

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This made look but it happened in 2006 and 2009 in Southeast VA. Both times the riders died. I know one was West of Va Beach. I like to ride in the rain with the proper gear staying dry but lightning and thunder close means time for a break.
 

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Whatever you do, don't stop under a tree. :flaming_devil:
 

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Last Easter I went to my brothers house in N.E. Philadelphia on the bike, and checking the weather forecast all day the forecast called for 40% chance of rain and thunder. I prepared for it but hoped for the best, besides I have not gotten to ride the bike for the past couple of weeks and was itching to get a ride in.

On the way home from his house I hit the PA turnpike west bound a little after dinner and looked up at the sky and figured "this is not too bad".. it was dark and puffy clouds, but figured I had a 45 min ride and be home in no time. (yes I did check the weather channel before leaving & the rain was south of the turnpike a bit)

2 min later on the trunpike, the sky's opened up with wind and hail and then a very good amount of rain and lightening (hail hurts at 65 Mph). At this time traffic slowed down to 45 mph and I started weighing my options; 1) pull over, 2) pull over under an over pass, 3) keep on driving. The next exit was 10 miles down the road so getting off was not an option.

I weighted the risks and picked option #3 because I figured that if I pulled over on the side of the road (#1), I might get hit with a car pulling over and maybe he would not see me with all the rain and wind.

Option #2 is no good because the way the over passes are designed you can't park a car under an over pass because the wall pulls into close to the white line under the bridge (maybe half a car).. I figured if i was sitting there the same result from #1 would happen (driver pulling over and not seeing me)

Then overall I figured that my chances of being struck by lightening with all these cars and trucks around me might be actually lower with them around me then if I were on the side of the road.

Needless to say I rode it out, after about 15 long min of fighting the wind a little bit, heavy rain that made the roadway into a mini river, decent light show in the sky it.. was mostly over except for a light rain. Traffic thinned out again and I was happy cruising along on my v-strom.

The point of the story? Well you need to weigh your options and risks and every situation is going to be different. If I was alone on the road I would have considered getting off the highway and taking shelter (10 miles later). While there was a decent light show in the sky, there was very little if any ground strikes in the area (mostly cloud to cloud). Does it matter if you are riding or standing on the side of the road? Who knows.. its all about chances and in the right area at the wrong time. I also figured that riding though the storm would have made it shorter for me then waiting it out standing still. I was moving west, the storm ENE.

I have to admit, a lightening storm looks great from behind a face shield. Next time I'll wear my Faraday cage.
 

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About a decade ago, it started raining and I went to the back of the plant to close the doors. Right there and then, a motherpucker of a lightning bolt stuck a high voltage tower behind the building and about 200 feet away. The strike itself didn't hit me but I felt it and have no words to describe it. My eyes got imprinted with the image for a good ten minutes. Then there was the sound wave that shook my guts.

I can't imagine that hitting a biker.
 

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It is better to be on the move than stopping some where in a lightning storm. I usually don't let lightning storms make me too nervous since the probability of getting hit is pretty low. If one clapped beside me where I heard the sonic boom right after seeing the bolt then I would probably haul ass to the nearest sheltered area.
 

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I commute everyday and have feared getting caught in a real storm. ( I say to myself real men are not scared) I got caught last night riding home in Ontario.First I could see all the lightning in the distance and it was actually peaceful. I had my rainsuit on but when it started it really came down, had to slow down not only because of the visibility but also the hail was bouncing off and really hurting. Got soaked but it was warm and not bad really.
 
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