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Can you get struck by lightning on a bike

Can you get struck by lightning on a bike

If you are an adventurous cyclist, then you may be eager for outdoor activities. However, when the weather turns bad and a thunderstorm strikes, if you continue through the storm, you may be at risk of being struck by lightning.

So, can cyclists really get hit by lightning? Can you get struck by lightning on a bike? Yes, cyclists and anyone outdoors during a thunderstorm can-and indeed-be struck by lightning.

In the United States, most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer, when outdoor activities and thunderstorms reach their peaks. Cyclists are at greater risk of being struck by lightning, mainly because they are more often outdoors, riding on higher-altitude trails, sitting on bicycles that may attract lightning, and choosing not to take appropriate action.

Remember, whenever you experience a storm when you go out to enjoy a ride, you should know and understand some simple guidelines to ensure your safety.

Stay safe during lightning strikes

If you are on a long bike trip, or even if you are enjoying a leisurely weekend ride, if you are trapped outdoors in a storm, there is always a chance of being struck by lightning. Remembering some basic techniques can help you minimize your chances of being hit.

Know Before You Go
The most obvious way to avoid being struck by lightning is to get the weather forecast before going out. However, sometimes thunderstorms will form and rapidly intensify. They also move very fast, so it’s not uncommon to be far away from your home when a storm hits you.

If you have a weather app on your phone, please stop and check. See where the storm is relative to your location, where it is going, and how fast it is moving. If it is a small isolated storm, you may be able to diverge around it or avoid it until it passes.

Seek asylum

When lightning strikes, the best way is to seek shelter. Even before you see lightning, look for a safe shelter as soon as you hear thunder.

Another tip is that when you know you are about to experience a storm, or you cannot escape people approaching from behind, seek shelter while you are still dry. This is because you don’t know how long you will be stuck in place. If you wait for the storm to end without wearing soaked clothes, you will stay warm.

Places to seek asylum include:

Sturdy buildings-big barns, shops, train stations.
Underground passage-as long as it is not flooded.
House-If someone’s home is the only refuge around you, don’t be afraid to seek refuge.
Vehicles-In a storm, cars and trucks are safer (and drier) than bicycles, and you can also signal to the driver or ask if you can sit in it.
Avoid dangerous places
Do not take refuge in small buildings such as sheds, and do not stop by fences or telephone poles. Smaller buildings will not protect you, and metal objects will increase your chances of being hit.

Never seek shelter under a tall tree. Lightning has a tendency to hit trees, and strong winds can knock them down. When lightning strikes a tree (or high pole), 30,000 amperes of current will enter the ground. A voltage called a “step potential” can reach one leg, pass through your heart and flow out of the other leg.

Separate yourself

If you are riding a bicycle with a friend, please keep a few yards away from each other and your bicycle. In that case, if lightning strikes, neither of them will be injured. Distance should prevent lightning from spreading between you two.

Also, if you have any combustible items, such as the fuel tank of a portable stove, make sure to separate it from you during the storm.

Lower altitude

If you are on a hill exposed to the sky, go downhill or look for overhanging cliffs, valleys, or ravines—anywhere that can reduce exposure. Remember, if you are on the top of a mountain, riding a bike above the tree line is a bad place to encounter thunderstorms-you are now the tallest thing around. In this case, the safest thing to do is to get out of the car and squat down (rather than lying down) to the lowest point you can find.

Tingling is not good

If your hair stands up and the back of your neck starts to tingle, this is a bad sign. If this happens, get out of the car quickly, squat down, land with the soles of your feet, put your hands on your knees, and your head between your knees. Try to make yourself the smallest goal possible and minimize contact with the ground.

When the negatively charged bottom of the storm releases an invisible charge to the ground, this negative charge will be attracted by all positively charged objects and produce electrical transfer. If you feel tingling, it is a bad sign that the positive charge is rising through you, reaching the negative part of the storm.

Facts about lightning

According to the National Weather Service, there are an average of 49 lightning-related deaths in the United States each year, and hundreds of people are injured—some of which are related to cycling. Injuries range from severe burns and permanent brain damage to memory loss and personality changes. There is nothing to provoke lightning!

Chance of being hit

The chance of being a lightning victim in any given year is one in 700,000. The chance of being hit in your lifetime is one in three thousand. Most people don’t realize that even if the center of a thunderstorm is 10 miles (16 kilometers) away and there is a blue sky above them, they will be struck by lightning.

How lightning spreads

Outside, lightning can propagate down or along tall metal poles, fences, or building shells. It can also reach the ground along metal gutters and downpipes. Inside buildings, lightning can reach the ground along conductors such as electrical wires, pipes, and telephone lines.

Unless specifically designed to protect against lightning strikes, small structures have little effect in protecting occupants from lightning strikes. Many small open shelters in sports fields, golf courses, parks, roadside picnic areas, and other places are designed for rain and sun protection-but not for lightning protection.

Where the lightning strikes

Although many of us still use the “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” technique to calculate the number of seconds between lightning and thunder to determine its distance, the National Weather Service does not recommend this.

In fact, as long as you can hear thunder, you will be close enough to be struck by lightning. If you hear thunder, you are less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) away from the storm-this makes you vulnerable to lightning strikes.

Some people use the 30-30 rule when visibility is good and nothing prevents you from watching the storm. This is when you see lightning, and then count the time until you hear thunder.

If it is 30 seconds or less, the storm is less than 6 miles (10 kilometers) away. Do not do this! First, if you can see lightning, you are in danger. Second, if the storm is less than 6 miles away, then your distance from being hit is too dangerous.

Seek help when lightning strikes
If you or someone else traveling with you is struck by lightning, you may need to seek immediate medical attention to save your (or their) life. Cardiac arrest, burns, and nerve damage are common in lightning strikes. With proper treatment, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, most victims can survive the strike. However, it can have devastating long-term effects.

Note: In addition to the visible flashes that propagate in the air, currents associated with lightning discharges propagate along the ground. Some victims will be hit directly by lightning, but many victims will be hit by electric currents moving on and along the ground.

Rubber won’t protect you

This is a myth—rubber shoes and rubber tires cannot protect you from lightning strikes. Although rubber is a good electrical insulator, there is not enough rubber in bicycle tires to protect you.

The National Weather Service states that “on average lightning carries about 30,000 amperes of charge, has a potential of 100 million volts, and has a temperature of about 50,000°F.” Compared to relatively small tires, more energy will pass through stronger insulators. combustion.

Even in automobiles, it is not rubber tires that can provide lightning protection. Conversely, the large metal cages of the car body and frame may direct energy around the passenger compartment, which can cause the car to be electrocuted instead of you.

Ride the wind and waves

Although lightning is the most serious life-threatening problem when riding a bicycle through a storm, sometimes it is not the only problem. Heavy rains, flooded roads and trails, high winds or hail can make your bike trip miserable.

Here are some suggestions for getting through the storm (of course, in the absence of lightning):

Don’t try to cross the rushing flood. In addition, if you cannot see the bottom of the still water, it is best to walk through it or avoid it altogether. You don’t know if you are riding into rocks, huge potholes, or just water much deeper than expected.

Pack extra clothes. Even if you have something as simple as a bicycle rain cover-it can prevent rain from getting on your glasses-it will make a difference on you. Leg and arm warmers and all-weather shells that can be rolled up and placed in a suitcase or back pocket are also helpful. (We like this)

Pay attention to hypothermia. Cycling in the rain, especially in colder temperatures, can cause hypothermia. Prolonged tremor, confusion, and numbness or burning in the limbs are all signs of a drop in core temperature. If you have any or all of these symptoms, you need to concentrate on keeping warm and dry as quickly as possible.

Pay attention to the road. The road is the most dangerous in the first hour after the rain starts. Exhaust gas and oil will stay on the road surface and make the road smooth during heavy rain. When riding a bicycle, the road below will feel like ice. It’s best to take your time, but if you do suffer a loss, make sure to resolve any road rashes immediately after you get off the car.

The bottom line when riding in a storm-stay alert, watch the sky, and stay safe in the event of lightning strikes.

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