Cyclist killed by lightning.

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Simon Mason, May 31, 2004.

  1. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

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  2. Vivian

    Vivian Guest

    I wonder if he was killed while he was on the bike. I always thought that
    if you were ON the bike, lightning wouldn't kill you b/c of the tyres- they
    are made of rubber.

    I once cycled through a fierce storm. This was in Uruguay, years ago. It
    had been a really hot day and we all knew that rain was coming. I was in
    the beach and when it started clouding over, I stayed anyway. The clouds
    were an amazing spectacle; purple and grey colours. Also very thick clouds,
    and the wind had picked up, so it looked like they were dancing across the
    sky to some valtz. Anyway, I thought it was time to head back home when the
    first drops fell. Got on my bike, and five minutes later, the floodgates
    opened! And the worst thunder and lightning storm I've ever seen! Well, it
    would seem the worst when you have a courtain of water in front of you, can
    bearely see anything, you're getting soaked to the bone, the thunder gets
    scary and you're cycling on gravel roads!!!

    My road bike was covered in mud and gravel, gears (just 3) were ruined
    because of the gravel.

    --
    Vivian
    -------
    "We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school".
    No Surrender



    "Simon Mason" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I was out cycling from work yesterday and could hear there was lightning
    > about in my earphones on AM radio by the static crashes. I couldn't

    actually
    > hear any thunder or I would have taken cover myself.
    >
    > http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lincolnshire/3762613.stm
    >
    >
    >
     
  3. vernon levy

    vernon levy Guest

    > I wonder if he was killed while he was on the bike. I always thought that
    > if you were ON the bike, lightning wouldn't kill you b/c of the tyres-

    they
    > are made of rubber.


    A major misconception if ever there was one. If the lightning bolt can
    bridge the gap between you and the clouds, a few centimetres of rubber will
    not be much of an impediment to the bolt being conducted through you to
    earth. You'd be safe inside a car - not because of the tyres being 'taller'
    I hasten to add.

    Your best bet is to find shelter.
    >
    > I once cycled through a fierce storm. This was in Uruguay, years ago. It
    > had been a really hot day and we all knew that rain was coming. I was in
    > the beach and when it started clouding over, I stayed anyway. The clouds
    > were an amazing spectacle; purple and grey colours. Also very thick

    clouds,
    > and the wind had picked up, so it looked like they were dancing across the
    > sky to some valtz. Anyway, I thought it was time to head back home when

    the
    > first drops fell. Got on my bike, and five minutes later, the floodgates
    > opened! And the worst thunder and lightning storm I've ever seen!


    I witnessed something similar at Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire where I
    had organised a school trip. Alarm bells started to ring for me when the
    kids' hair started to stand on end and the air on my arms started to
    prickle. The kids were most miffed when they were dragged to the mini bus
    as they thought that the 'hair tricks' were 'very cool'. They soon shut up
    when the thunder and lighning started....they'd never seen such well defined
    bolts of lightning or heard such loud claps of thunder or seen so much rain.
    A scary ten to fifteen minutes I can tell you!
     
  4. Duncan Gray

    Duncan Gray Guest

    "vernon levy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > > I wonder if he was killed while he was on the bike. I always thought

    that
    > > if you were ON the bike, lightning wouldn't kill you b/c of the tyres-

    > they
    > > are made of rubber.

    >
    > A major misconception if ever there was one. If the lightning bolt can
    > bridge the gap between you and the clouds, a few centimetres of rubber

    will
    > not be much of an impediment to the bolt being conducted through you to
    > earth. You'd be safe inside a car - not because of the tyres being

    'taller'
    > I hasten to add.
    >
    > Your best bet is to find shelter.


    But not under a tree. The electricity might find it easier to get to earth
    by arcing through the air onto you rather than travelling down the wood.

    I published a page with some safety advice recently:
    http://www.mountaineering-scotland.org.uk/safety/lightning.html

    --
    Duncan Gray

    homepage - www.duncolm.co.uk
    also www.mountaineering-scotland.org.uk
    The Mountaineering Council of Scotland
     
  5. John Mallard

    John Mallard Guest

    Vivian wrote:
    > I wonder if he was killed while he was on the bike. I always thought
    > that if you were ON the bike, lightning wouldn't kill you b/c of the
    > tyres- they are made of rubber.


    Ah, but why would the lightning bolt want to travel through the tyres?
    It's already traveled several hundred feet through the air to reach you.
    I'm sure it would manage to travel a couple more inches through the air
    around your tyres. Or possibly the short distance from your bottom bracket.
    Take cover from lightning storms when cycling in the open.
    --
    Cheerful Pedalling
    John Mallard
     
  6. vernon levy wrote:
    > I witnessed something similar at Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire
    > where I had organised a school trip. Alarm bells started to ring for
    > me when the kids' hair started to stand on end and the air on my arms
    > started to prickle.


    That's the start of becoming a human lightning conductor - it doesn't just
    "come down from the sky", it "meets in the middle" when the best route to
    bridge the potential gap is discovered. Different paths take different
    energies to jump, so when the lowest energy gap is discovered, then you get
    the route for the spark(s) to follow.

    Check out http://science.howstuffworks.com/lightning4.htm and
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/lightning5.htm for the best non-physicists
    explanation I've ever seen.

    I looked this stuff up while I was a student... one evening I was walking
    across the Leazes Moor in Newcastle with a set of kayaking paddles (2m long
    aluminum pole) in my hand. Dark sky.... "hmmmm - might rain". I heard this
    high pitching "singing" noise and I experienced a serious bad hair moment.
    Being a clever Physics bod, I checked my paddles as far away as I could and
    "made low" - about 15 seconds later there was a massive discharge of
    lightning on the chimney of the medical school ~250 metres away - most
    scary!

    Cheers,
    Chris


    --
    _____________________________________________________

    Chris Walters
    Hungerford, UK
    _____________________________________________________
     
  7. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    vernon levy wrote:
    >
    > You'd be safe inside a car - not because of the tyres being 'taller'
    > I hasten to add.
    >


    Don't count on it - that's one that lots of people misunderstand.

    http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/lightning.html

    Tony
     
  8. james

    james Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > vernon levy wrote:
    > >
    > > You'd be safe inside a car - not because of the tyres being 'taller'
    > > I hasten to add.
    > >

    >
    > Don't count on it - that's one that lots of people misunderstand.
    >
    > http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/lightning.html
    >

    shirley that was the distinction that Vernon was alluding to? The car
    makes an effective Faraday cage

    best wishes
    james
     
  9. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    james wrote:
    >
    > shirley that was the distinction that Vernon was alluding to? The car
    > makes an effective Faraday cage
    >


    That's one of the points people get wrong. Faraday Cages are for static
    electricity. Lightning is anything but static. Your protection is through
    something called skin depth with causes the currents to run in the outer
    layers of the metal. You can get a electric shock by touching the metalwork
    inside a car during a lightning strike. You can't get a shock inside a
    Faraday cage no matter where you touch it as long as you don't poke a finger
    outside the cage.

    Tony
     
  10. vernon levy

    vernon levy Guest


    > That's one of the points people get wrong. Faraday Cages are for static
    > electricity. Lightning is anything but static. Your protection is

    through
    > something called skin depth with causes the currents to run in the outer
    > layers of the metal. You can get a electric shock by touching the

    metalwork
    > inside a car during a lightning strike. You can't get a shock inside a
    > Faraday cage no matter where you touch it as long as you don't poke a

    finger
    > outside the cage.
    >

    A mislaid 'r' making safe into safer would have helped in my original
    posting. After all where would you prefer to be in an electrical storm -
    outside of your car or inside of your car?
     
  11. vernon levy

    vernon levy Guest

    "james" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > vernon levy wrote:
    > > >
    > > > You'd be safe inside a car - not because of the tyres being 'taller'
    > > > I hasten to add.
    > > >

    > >
    > > Don't count on it - that's one that lots of people misunderstand.
    > >
    > > http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/lightning.html
    > >

    > shirley that was the distinction that Vernon was alluding to? The car
    > makes an effective Faraday cage
    >

    If you put an 'r' on the end of safe then you get a better and more accurate
    sense of my assertion. I never called the vehicle a Faraday cage.
     
  12. Simon Mason wrote:
    > I was out cycling from work yesterday and could hear there was lightning
    > about in my earphones on AM radio by the static crashes. I couldn't actually
    > hear any thunder or I would have taken cover myself.
    >
    > http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lincolnshire/3762613.stm
    >


    Shocking.
     
  13. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Vivian
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > I wonder if he was killed while he was on the bike. I always thought
    > that if you were ON the bike, lightning wouldn't kill you b/c of the
    > tyres- they are made of rubber.


    Well, I remember having posted to this very group not a dozen of your
    English weeks ago saying how unlikely it would be for anyone to be
    struck by lightning when cycling, so this just goes to show...

    Lightning seeks the easiest path. It will therefore, all other things
    being equal, strike from the highest point locally. If you're on a
    bicycle in the middle of an airfield you're quite likely to be the
    highest point locally. While insulation offers some protection, the
    voltages present in lightning strikes mean that nothing is complete
    protection. After all, stone buildings and tress are not exactly
    perfect conductors either, but they are frequently hit.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    I'm fed up with Life 1.0. I never liked it much and now it's getting
    me down. I think I'll upgrade to MSLife 97 -- you know, the one that
    comes in a flash new box and within weeks you're crawling with bugs.
     
  14. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:7e7uo1-

    >
    > Well, I remember having posted to this very group not a dozen of your
    > English weeks ago saying how unlikely it would be for anyone to be
    > struck by lightning when cycling, so this just goes to show...


    Funniest comment I heard (well not funny - it was a tragedy) concerned
    newlyweds on honeymoon who were walking along a beach in Mexico. A bolt of
    lightning killed the barefoot woman and the bloke reckoned he was saved as
    he had flip flops on.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3175447.stm

    --
    Simon M.
     
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