Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 33

Thread: grounding a bike ( lightning rods)

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Maryland.
    Posts
    148

    grounding a bike ( lightning rods)

    Does anyone know of anyone that has grounded a bike so that it can take a lightning strike ?

    I would like to mount something like this on the back of my RTP. Just so my head is not the highest point anymore.

    Last night, I rode home after a nasty thunderstorm rolled through the area.
    Although I like riding in the rain, catching up on a slow moving thunder storm while on a 4 mile bridge got me a little nervous. I could see lightning dancing in the sky above and striking the ground in the horizon maybe 5 or 10 miles ahead. So, after my ride ended safely, I goggled 'lightning and motorcyclists'.

    I wasn't sure if my fear was a valid fear. But, it appears a few motorcyclists have been roasted while riding near a thunderstorm. My daily commute takes me about 300' closer to the sky than the ground as I cross over a 4 mile bridge. After reading the stories I googled, it seems like motorcyclists are human lightning rods traveling down a road. However, since most of us do not have metal in our head, our body becomes the grounding vector in which lightning passes through to get to the ground. It seems most times the lighting jumps through the body to the frame of the bike and then to the ground. If lightning strikes a motorcyclist, he will temporarily be incapacitated at least for a few minutes, which means a crash will occur. So, why don't cruisers should have an option to mount lightning rods with copper nets that can be dragged behind to move a strike away from the riders head.

  2. #2
    leesrt
    Guest
    1st. You don't want to be grounded, you want to be isolated from ground. If your grounded current will flow through you. If your isolated by your tires you will still get the bolt (voltage) but no current flow.

    2nd. It doesn't matter what you do, if a lightning bolt hits you while your riding your done. It doesn't matter if you have a grounding rod, aluminum wrapped head, or wear rubber soled shoes. Lightning is so powerful that it will blow through and little barrier you throw in front of it. I've seen million dollar lightning protection get blown to pieces and the equipment it was suppose to protect destroyed. It's kind of Gods way of accepting the challenge.

    3rd. Seriously?

    4th. Fill out your profile so we know who you are, what you ride, and location. We don't bite..........hard

  3. #3
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    between SanAntone & the Weird Place, TX
    Posts
    5,924
    A car has a steel cage around the driver and redirects the energy away from said driver. A bike with wet tires and no shielding around the operator will most likely not insulate one well. A lineman in wet raingear on a pole is prob more safe!BTDT!

    The lightning may strike the ground in front of you anyways, as was a report a few years ago. Seems the rider got hit with concrete and fatally crashed if I remember the story.
    Two things I do not ride in anymore...lightning and ex-wives neighborhoods...both as dangerous
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  4. #4
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    WNY, Further fron NYC, than 6 entire states!
    Posts
    2,081
    Quote Originally Posted by leesrt View Post
    1st. You don't want to be grounded, you want to be isolated from ground. If your grounded current will flow through you. If your isolated by your tires you will still get the bolt (voltage) but no current flow.


    #1 YEA RIGHT!!!, That bolt just jumped 30,000-50,000 feet, you don't think it will jump 3" from the rim to the ground................I want to see this.

    #2, the tires really ARE not very good insulators, lots of carbon in the rubber, and carbon is a conductor of electrons!

    do this quick test to see how well black rubber insulates. Take a common 12 volt test light, and hook the ground to a hose clamp on a radiator hose, and touch the probe to a 12 v source.......get back to me when it lights brightly.


    BUT, I do agree, a lightning rod would do NOTHING, except possible increase your chances of getting struck. MOST deaths are people standing under trees for shelter, and that tree is grounded!! Best bet, stop and have a cup of coffee, pull into a farm and get into a barn etc. I don't want to be within 100 yards of a strike myself.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Topeka, KS
    Posts
    119
    Two years ago had a rider die here in Kansas from a strike. It does happen.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517985,00.html

    Any height you add will simply increase your odds of getting hit.

  6. #6
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Posts
    2,013
    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    #2, the tires really ARE not very good insulators, lots of carbon in the rubber, and carbon is a conductor of electrons!
    The tires are probably wet too, making them more conductive. That why a car is relatively safe, easy path to ground.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  7. #7
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sheboygan, WI
    Posts
    3,444

    Cool

    Your question shows an inquisitive mind, and I commend you for that.

    That being said, no need to review reams of science why your idea will never work.

    Be safe - if caught out riding in a thunderstorm, only one thing to do - seek shelter indoors. If not possible, lay the bike on its side and lay low in a ditch away from the bike (good time to start praying as well!). No gaurenteed survival, but few options left at that point.

    I got thrashed by a thunderstorm near Spearfish, SD on my way to the Gillette Rally years back - accepted a seat in a passing motorist's vehicle for several minutes, so I was safe from the lightning all around me after the R1200RT got blown over.

    Trying to outsmart a thunderstorm is like wrestling a grizzly bear - you don't!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eastern KY
    Posts
    3,201
    Quote Originally Posted by deanwoolsey View Post
    Two years ago had a rider die here in Kansas from a strike. It does happen.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517985,00.html

    Any height you add will simply increase your odds of getting hit.
    I'll agree that with a forum handle like yours: "dumbluck" you ought to be asking these kind of questions,i.e., about lightning strikes & such. I had a girl in high school that was struck when a small child & came out just fine, but I have seem more than a few trees in my woods that were wiped out & they commonly have lightning runs down the bark where it streaks to the ground. When I was a caddy I heard that pro golfers couldn't buy regular life insurance because of lightning issues & remember wondering why the amateurs could? Fact is, that being in an open area, such as a golf course or pasture/field -whether high or low-is an open invite to disaster. I have seen several "lightning holes" in golf courses. In Kansas I will add!

  9. #9
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Clovis, NM
    Posts
    934
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    Be safe - if caught out riding in a thunderstorm, only one thing to do - seek shelter indoors. If not possible, lay the bike on its side and lay low in a ditch away from the bike (good time to start praying as well!). No guaranteed survival, but few options left at that point.
    That's not the best advise I've read about getting caught out in a thunderstorm - it's the ONLY advise!

    During the IBR last month, I got stopped three times, for a total of just over 4 hours, because of electrical storms. Here in the southwest, we also have what is referred to as 'dry lightning' which is particularly dangerous to riders because it can and does often generate micro bursts of downdraft winds that hit some very significant velocities. Dry lightning is responsible for a significant number of fires out here.

    Any type of electrical storm will absolutely, under any circumstance, get me off the bike. Here in the southwest, we have miles and miles of desolate stretches where you and your bike are the tallest thing for miles around. If you're caught out in any kind of electrical storm out here, you ARE the lightning rod. All you can do is find a place to stop, get off the bike and get away from it and get down as low as you can. Trust me when I tell you you'll certainly feel like an idiot squatted or laying down in a ditch line - but you will certainly decrease your chances of getting struck.

    I am aware of a guy on a dirt bike about 15 or so years ago, taking a lightning strike south of San Jon, NM on State Highway 469 where it crosses the caprock escarpment at the northern edge of the Llano Estacado. Hit the link. I recall that the news reported he survived but was paralyzed. If I recall correctly, this was a case of 'dry lightning'.

    Lightning is nothing to take lightly. I know some that ignore good advise - let me tell you that doing so could cost you your life.
    Nom de Plume:
    Steve Aikens, Clovis, NM
    BMW MOA #6218
    IBA# 442

  10. #10
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Braintree, MA
    Posts
    3,069
    There is no safe place outdoors when it comes to lightning.

    http://www.weather.gov/om/lightning/outdoors.htm
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  11. #11
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Pismo Beach, CA
    Posts
    3,007
    Lightning is nothing to take lightly. I know some that ignore good advise - let me tell you that doing so could cost you your life. d
    Hey, when your number is up, your number's up!

    That's why I change my number every morning. .. ..
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden

    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner

  12. #12
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    589
    I avoid riding in thunderstorms.

    Any benefit to parking the bike directly under power lines? Would that provide some shielding overhead? The top wire would act to intercept lightning? Or am I just being too optimistic?

    I know under a bridge would be a good spot, but the nearest bridge might be 40 miles away or more...

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  13. #13
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    1,751
    Just tuck in real close to a semi with a tall load so it takes the strike and not you.

    But I'll go with the suggestion of trying really hard to avoid being out in a thunderstorm or seeking any shelter if you do get caught out.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  14. #14
    Registered User marcopolo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    653
    You can check out lightning tips at the National Lightning Safety Institute's website. Lots of good info there. Here's a link to a set of tips (BTW, if outside, crouch down, with feet together and cover your ears).


    http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/lst.html
    Mark
    2006 R1200RT

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Dartmouth, Massachusetts
    Posts
    497
    In the Boston Science Museum they have a Faraday (SP?) cage and a fellow inside has a generator hit the cage with thousands of volts of electricity and he touches the cage. The electricity runs on the outside called "skin effect".

    He goes on to say you are protected in a car because of the metal skin. If the tires were going to isolate you from the ground they would need to be a mile high he says.

    He said the best place to be in a lightning storm is a metal garbage can or a steel dumpster.

    There is zero way to protect yourself on a moving motorcycle.

    A ground rod bleeds off electrical current so your potential for a strike is low.
    RoyB....
    2007 BMW K1200R Sport (abs),2007 Suzuki dl650 V Strom (abs),2004 Honda VFR (abs),1972 Honda Trail 90,
    2001 Moto Guzzi V-11 Rosso Mandello

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •