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how stupid was I?

Old 06-22-2011, 06:57 AM
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Location: Dalzell, SC
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Default how stupid was I?

left work at 11pm last night during a severe thunderstorm. I didn't want my bike left out in the parking lot overnight and didn't want the wife to pack up both babies to come get me. SC storms don't just blow over so I wasn't going to wait it out. Plus, i figured there's no time like the present to learn to drive through rain. and wind. at night. after 1 month riding experience.

needless to say, it was super scary and kinda fun. Obviously i have a high risk tolerance, but after riding through open areas on both sides of the road, and lightning flashing every half a second, I got to thinking, how dangerous was it for me to do that? whats the potential for a motorcyclist to get struck by lightning riding in the open road?

I only live 10 minutes away by speed limit, but i took the roads half the speed limit the whole way home. rain coming in my half-open face shield because I couldn't it was a fun experience! Not one I would care to do anytime soon though...
Old 06-22-2011, 11:56 AM
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Lightning can strike motorcyclists. Cars are assumed to be safer because of all the metal around the passengers to take the charge to ground.

Check this out.... there was a strike on track at Estoril during qualifying. Didn't hit anyone, but the rider blacked out for a sec!
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Last edited by Kuroshio; 06-22-2011 at 05:19 PM.
Old 06-22-2011, 01:40 PM
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You did the right thing. Personally, I would have felt like a total wuss having called the wife out to come pick me up, so you did good, imo. Bet that was very exhilarating riding through that storm. Seeing as you guys get all that rain down there, you might as well get used to it.
Old 06-22-2011, 05:13 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Dalzell, SC
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it was a good rush, to say the least. i rode within the lights, pretty slow for a 55mph zone. i had my faceshield halfway up sometimes, and when the rain started coming in sideways i flipped it down a bit lower and slowed down even more...torrential downfall isn't fun without windshield wipers!!!!
Old 06-22-2011, 05:22 PM
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Not exactly the circumstances I'd pick as a first experience. But sounds like you kept your head and handled it well.

Just because some of us are more comfortable easing into a situation slower than you doesn't make your approach wrong. You ride safe and ride smart your way, everything is good so long as the outcome is the same for us all: getting home safe
Old 06-22-2011, 05:35 PM
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I did ride in the storm too because it was the going home time. It wasn't like you were home and doing nothing and storm came so you went riding. You had to get home. And nobody wants to leave their bike unattended over night in the work parking lot. Plus you were riding in the speed that you are comfortable with. knowing your own limit is very responsible thing
Old 06-23-2011, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by AF Twin Turbo View Post
lightning flashing every half a second, I got to thinking, how dangerous was it for me to do that? whats the potential for a motorcyclist to get struck by lightning riding in the open road?
Riding in the rain was okay as long as you slowed down and remembered to stay out of the center of the lane where all the oil and stuff from cars accumulates and is extra slick in the rain.

Riding through an intense lightning storm when you had a choice to do otherwise probably wasn't the smartest thing you did that day.
Old 06-23-2011, 11:03 AM
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I wouldn't say it was all that stupid considering you live so close to your work. You took the right approach by keeping it slow and staying alert.

I had a similar first rain experience on my old bike. It was my 3rd day riding and I was maybe 5 miles from home when I start to approach some black storm clouds. I quickly turned around and headed back, but the storm caught up and was a nasty one. The downpour and lightning were scary enough, but I had the added fun of some strong wind gusts, it felt like my front tire was moving side to side while I was riding straight (probably all in my head).

As scary as it was for being a new rider, it actually made me a lot more confident about riding in wet conditions. I had previously thought rain soaked roads might as well be like driving on ice for a bike, but there was plenty of traction (I was also taking it super slow) and it definitely sparked confidence for my next unexpected rain adventure.
Old 06-23-2011, 12:39 PM
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Storms happen. I generally pull over and get shelter under something if I can do it in time..... but if I'm already soaked then there's no point in stopping.
Old 06-23-2011, 01:17 PM
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I also think you did the right thing. You gotta learn it some time so might as well pick a big, bad assed storm. Good thing you didn't have many miles of freeway to do though. That can be a real battle even for the most seasoned motorcyclist.

About getting struck by lightening: Is it really possible for a motorcyclist to get struck while riding? Good question.
Like a car, you're insulated from the ground (earth) by virtue of rubber tyres. There is no electrical path so lightening is not going to be attracted to you and will find another path to ground. If you're feet are touching down though, when you're at a standstill you could be vulnerable.
If you ride slowly, that will probably reduce the liklihood of you having to stop and touch down. Food for thought.
I'm sure someone here may have examples of riders being struck, or not?

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