Lightning & Riding Motorcycles Don’t Mix

Posted: June 18, 2019 in Motorcycle, Motorcycle news, motorcycle safety, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

lighting

I am sure that title is a common sense notion but, three riders have been killed by lighting in the last 16 years.  The latest to die this way was a man in Florida.

So I thought why not some sort of Public Service Announcement about lightning and motorcycles.  Turns out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation had already done so.  So I will present what the MSF put out in a recent AMA “American Motorcyclist” magazine.

There is a myth that being in/on a vehicle with rubber tires somehow insulates the occupants from lightning. Cars and trucks provide occupants some protection from lightning strikes, but that is because the electrical current travels across the exterior metal skin of the vehicle and into the ground, not because the tires offer protection.

Occupants are in contact with the fabric and plastic parts of the vehicle, so they are insulated from the exterior unless they’re touching metal parts, such as the ignition switch, shift knobs or door handles.

Vehicles not fully enclosed by metal, including convertibles and motorcycles, are dangerous to operate in conditions where lightning is likely to occur.

If lightning strikes an open-top vehicle, the electrical current can connect directly with its occupants, especially if the occupants’ heads extend above the top of the vehicle. It’s rare, but it does happen: two motorcyclists in Colorado were struck and killed by lightning bolts in the past 16 years.

If you’re riding and see lightning, find an underpass or parking structure where you can wait out the storm. Don’t park under a tree. Trees attract lightning, due to their height and moisture content and can transmit the charge to you, and branches can be split by lightning and fall on you. If you can’t find shelter, make a U-turn and ride away from the storm.

And if you haven’t started your ride and are aware of an approaching thunderstorm, delay your ride until at least 30 minutes after the storm has passed and you’ve heard the last round of thunder.”

Ride On, Ride Safe

 

Comments
  1. I endorse you comments totally.
    A few years back I was crossing Col de L”Iseran in the French Alps, at 2764m/9068ft it’s the highest paved pass in Europe. As I got past half way up a summer storm blew in, fortunately there is a short tunnel where I took shelter. As I waited for the rain and lightening to pass, a bolt of lightening arced across the sky and struck the mountainside about 400 yards from where I was in the tunnel mouth. I could feel the percussion of the blast and smell the burnt ozone from the electrical discharge. I was safe, bu I learnt a BIG lesson that day; don’t mess with lightning!
    Ride safe, ride far.
    Dookes

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