Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Downed Power Lines

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!
View Poll Results: You are riding along and come upon a downed power line. What do you do?
Ride over it. The rubber tires/tubes will protect you.
3
3.09%
Play it safe and bunny hop it.
7
7.22%
Carefully step over, while carrying the bike.
9
9.28%
Turn around and change route, it’s much too dangerous to risk.
59
60.82%
Stop and move the line to the side, so no one gets hurt.
2
2.06%
Other
17
17.53%
Voters: 97. You may not vote on this poll

Downed Power Lines

Old 11-10-20, 08:08 AM
  #51  
Mojo31
...
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 1,313
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1109 Post(s)
Liked 725 Times in 403 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
So you are an opinionated ‘gentleman’ with no sense of humor. Pleased to meet you.
I'm sorry, it was meant in jest since it seems that all of the naked bike riders you hear about are on the west coast, for example, the lady in Ojai.

I was not intending to insult you, and apologize if I did.
Mojo31 is offline  
Likes For Mojo31:
Old 11-10-20, 08:41 AM
  #52  
Podagrower
Senior Member
 
Podagrower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 673

Bikes: Giant Defy Composite, Spechialized Ruby (hers), Niner RLT9, Miyata 712, Condor ??

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 17 Posts
I actually have some experience with this, although I wasn't on my bike. I watched a car take out an overhead power pole, in my panic, I stopped without running over the line so I guess that's my true answer. But once I traced the wires and realized it was the triplex service drop to the building that was on the ground and ripped off the XFMR I knew there was no threat.

Phone, fiber, coax on the ground are getting run over. Triplex I'm going to look and see if it's still hooked to the XFMR. Primaries I'm not getting near. When the overhead primaries to our XFMR got caught up in a tree during a hurricane, even though I knew the primaries were dead, I wanted nothing to do with trying to clear the line because I had no way of knowing (other than risking turning myself into a candle) when the primaries would be reenergized.
Podagrower is offline  
Old 11-10-20, 09:02 AM
  #53  
trailangel
Senior Member
 
trailangel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 4,508

Bikes: Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1718 Post(s)
Liked 437 Times in 267 Posts
You don't need to step on or touch high current power lines to be electrocuted. If you are a good ground, the current will 'jump' to you and ground out.
You are dead.
trailangel is offline  
Old 11-10-20, 09:16 AM
  #54  
coupster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Flat Rock, NC
Posts: 424
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 18 Times in 13 Posts
To all of you that want to go anywhere near a downed line, please go right ahead with my blessings and encouragement. The world will be a much better place with less yahoos and idiots.
coupster is offline  
Likes For coupster:
Old 11-10-20, 10:45 AM
  #55  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 753

Bikes: Rodriguez Racing Tandem, Fondriest Steelie, Bianchi Trofeo, Bianchi Infinito, Schwinn Varsity, Trek mtn

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 301 Post(s)
Liked 369 Times in 227 Posts
Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
I'm sorry, it was meant in jest since it seems that all of the naked bike riders you hear about are on the west coast, for example, the lady in Ojai.

I was not intending to insult you, and apologize if I did.

Much appreciated. Emojis often help delineate humor from non, such as ->.

Have a a good day.
__________________
Rick Seattle-ish, Wa.

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche



rsbob is offline  
Old 11-10-20, 12:28 PM
  #56  
Troul 
:D
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 3,015
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 480 Times in 340 Posts
Where's the "throw a spent CO2 cartridge at it" option?
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 11-10-20, 08:04 PM
  #57  
Reynolds 
Passista
 
Reynolds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 7,159

Bikes: 1998 Pinarello Asolo, 1992 KHS Montaña pro, 1980 Raleigh DL-1, IGH Hybrid, IGH Utility

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 703 Post(s)
Liked 324 Times in 195 Posts
If it's low voltage, I'd probably go around it carefully. If high voltage, turn 180, get away and report it!
Reynolds is offline  
Old 11-10-20, 08:27 PM
  #58  
jack pot 
Fxxxxr
 
jack pot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: falfurrias texas
Posts: 724

Bikes: wabi classic (stolen & recovered)

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1242 Post(s)
Liked 538 Times in 389 Posts
downed lines are common here on the east Texas coast when tropical storms pass thru. i saw a couple this year after Laura. Definitely a detour and report to 911
__________________
Nothing is true---everything is permitted
jack pot is offline  
Old 11-11-20, 10:54 AM
  #59  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,254

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1837 Post(s)
Liked 863 Times in 488 Posts
Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
I'd "McGyver" some sort of inverter device, pinch-connect it to the power line and use it to recharge my phone, my GPS, my electronic shifter and my portable boombox.
Only need an inverter if you're powering an AC device from a DC battery. What you'd need in this situation is a step down transformer going from 10 kV down to whatever voltage you need, plus a rectifier circuit to change it from AC to DC. [/electronics nerd]
Milton Keynes is offline  
Old 11-11-20, 10:55 AM
  #60  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,254

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1837 Post(s)
Liked 863 Times in 488 Posts
Originally Posted by coupster View Post
To all of you that want to go anywhere near a downed line, please go right ahead with my blessings and encouragement. The world will be a much better place with less yahoos and idiots.
They just want to win a coveted Darwin Award.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Likes For Milton Keynes:
Old 11-11-20, 11:48 AM
  #61  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 12,673

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6066 Post(s)
Liked 941 Times in 533 Posts
Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Only need an inverter if you're powering an AC device from a DC battery. What you'd need in this situation is a step down transformer going from 10 kV down to whatever voltage you need, plus a rectifier circuit to change it from AC to DC. [/electronics nerd]
Luckily I always carry those things in my saddlebag on every ride ... I mean, who doesn't?

An inverter, though ... I have never needed a power inverter on a ride.
Maelochs is offline  
Old 11-11-20, 12:57 PM
  #62  
csport
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: /dev/null
Posts: 395

Bikes: Soma Double Cross Disc (2018)

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 121 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 19 Posts
Humorless nerd here.

Actually the conducting tires would make no problem. If the bike were full metal all the current would go through it, and the voltage drop between different points of the bike would be negligible. (Think of birds sitting on power line wires, all the current goes through the wire making no harm to the bird). The metal bike will shunt the human body. The reality may be different: possible breakdown between the wire and the foot, parts being insulated because of the paint, falling near the wire and getting killed by the step potential etc. Stop and call 911.

Definitely do not "carefully step over it" because of the step potential.
csport is offline  
Old 11-11-20, 01:14 PM
  #63  
CargoDane
Not a newbie to cycling
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 911

Bikes: Omnium Cargo Ti with Rohloff, Bullitt Milk Plus, Dahon Smooth Hound

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 356 Post(s)
Liked 319 Times in 197 Posts
High voltages tend to quickly go through a thin layer of paint and the like. It might jump directly to the rim or frame if and when you put your foot down.
I agree though: Don't frigging step over it. Stop at a safe distance and call 911 as you say.
I'm reminded of people being electrocuted in fresh water harbours due to some boat in the vicinity having a faulty ground (ESD, Electric Shock Drowning). Some things are simply not worth it.

https://www.google.com/search?client...4dUDCAw&uact=5
CargoDane is offline  
Old 11-11-20, 03:35 PM
  #64  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,254

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1837 Post(s)
Liked 863 Times in 488 Posts
Originally Posted by csport View Post
Humorless nerd here.

Actually the conducting tires would make no problem. If the bike were full metal all the current would go through it, and the voltage drop between different points of the bike would be negligible. (Think of birds sitting on power line wires, all the current goes through the wire making no harm to the bird). The metal bike will shunt the human body. The reality may be different: possible breakdown between the wire and the foot, parts being insulated because of the paint, falling near the wire and getting killed by the step potential etc. Stop and call 911.
Don't forget the possibility of getting the power wire wound up in your wheel or something, or a power pole falling and pulling the wire up right as you ride over it.

Smart people know how to deal with danger. Really smart people know how to avoid danger in the first place. If there is a wire down, stay far away from it. Don't assume it's not live just because you don't see sparks.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Old 11-11-20, 03:48 PM
  #65  
Troul 
:D
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 3,015
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 480 Times in 340 Posts
if it smells of electricity, call the utility service maintainer.
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 11-14-20, 07:35 AM
  #66  
MoAlpha
• —
 
MoAlpha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 7,713

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5476 Post(s)
Liked 2,261 Times in 1,279 Posts
A downed line is potentially (ha) creating a field in anything it’s in contact with, e.g., the ground surrounding it. If it’s a big enough line, that means if your wheels or feet are far enough apart, there can be enough potential difference between them to hurt you. Same principle applies to precautions for ground strikes from lightning Unless it’s, like, a little residential line or something, I wouldn’t even go near it, much less ride over it. Imagine having one wheel on the live line and the other on neutral ground while you’re spread out in the same spatial axis on the bike! And rubber shmubber. Anything, including air, will conduct when it’s ionized enough.
MoAlpha is online now  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 11-16-20, 08:32 PM
  #67  
BEC111
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 84

Bikes: Specialized Turbo Vado SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
I ride the W&OD trail through Ashburn, VA where the internet roams. (70% of global Internet traffic flows through Ashburn.) the power lines along the trail power multiple megawatt data centers.

If one of those lines falls hot and you’re near it turn around, go back a few yards and call 911. Stay there and prevent others from riding past. If you can be seen and heard by riders coming the other way, do your best to get them to stop too.
BEC111 is offline  
Likes For BEC111:
Old 11-17-20, 07:35 AM
  #68  
ChrisWagner
Sierra
 
ChrisWagner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: NA
Posts: 80

Bikes: Surly Bridge Club, Priority Eight, Trek 700, '78 Motobecane Super Mirage, tt Mule

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 15 Posts
Down power lines usually follow catastrophic events. As a Hurricane Katrina survivor, I learned to keep all public service utilities emergency contact numbers in my phone. When 911 services are slammed, contacting the electric utility directly can yield faster response times.
ChrisWagner is offline  
Old 11-17-20, 08:39 AM
  #69  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,254

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1837 Post(s)
Liked 863 Times in 488 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
And rubber shmubber. Anything, including air, will conduct when it’s ionized enough.
Especially when it's 13.8 kV on a standard residential line. If for some reason the electricity wants to make a path through your bicycle your thin tires are not going to insulate it that much. The electricity may even jump through the air around your tires.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Likes For Milton Keynes:
Old 11-17-20, 01:01 PM
  #70  
bikecrate
Senior Member
 
bikecrate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: LF, APMAT
Posts: 2,595
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 567 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 209 Times in 133 Posts
A couple of years ago we had a windy storm pass through. However, nothing unusual for summer time in FL. The next morning was a bright, sunny beautiful day. A cyclist was on one of our local paths that morning and didn't see a downed power line. Instant death.
bikecrate is offline  
Likes For bikecrate:
Old 11-17-20, 02:43 PM
  #71  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 12,673

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6066 Post(s)
Liked 941 Times in 533 Posts
Originally Posted by bikecrate View Post
A couple of years ago we had a windy storm pass through. However, nothing unusual for summer time in FL. The next morning was a bright, sunny beautiful day. A cyclist was on one of our local paths that morning and didn't see a downed power line. Instant death.
I had to quote this because I felt weird about "Liking" it. Something about the phrase "instant death," I guess.

Then again, it was Florida. The guy was probably trying to tow the line back to his house to get free electricity.
Maelochs is offline  
Old 11-17-20, 03:23 PM
  #72  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,273

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2716 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1,180 Times in 808 Posts
My second of my three (failed) attempts at ending my life (all not intended) happened when I managed to contact an apparently live electrical conduit with my sweaty right wrist while holding bailing wire in my equally sweaty left hand. Stopped my heart and breathing instantly. Paralyzed me, But I stayed fully conscious. Knew I had to break the contact and reasoned if I kicked hard enough I could unbalance myself and fall off the step ladder I was on. It worked. I got to about an inch past balance, then fell for what seemed like minutes before hitting the floor very hard flat on my back. The impact started my heart. Fascinating being completely aware of the state of my body the whole time.

We never duplicated the circuit. Probably 110V though it could have been 220V. Whatever, it was plenty.

Ben
79pmooney is online now  
Old 11-18-20, 10:04 AM
  #73  
MoAlpha
• —
 
MoAlpha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 7,713

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5476 Post(s)
Liked 2,261 Times in 1,279 Posts
There's a video on the internet of some guy walking from car to car on top of an Indian train and contacting the overhead wires. I'm kind of sorry I watched it.
MoAlpha is online now  
Old 11-18-20, 11:35 AM
  #74  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 12,673

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6066 Post(s)
Liked 941 Times in 533 Posts
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Fascinating being completely aware of the state of my body the whole time.
Good story. I bet it felt great.

Glad you didn't get hurt falling off that ladder.
Maelochs is offline  
Old 11-18-20, 11:39 AM
  #75  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 564

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 259 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 202 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
There's a video on the internet of some guy walking from car to car on top of an Indian train and contacting the overhead wires. I'm kind of sorry I watched it.
On a related note, a few years ago we were doing some work in the subway in Chicago so we had to take the official Chicago Transit Authority subcontractor's safety class. Among other things, one of the items they taught us was the correct way to step over the electrified third rail. Then they took us out into the coach yard and made us demonstrate we'd paid attention and could do it successfully! Needless to say, that was one real serious group of guys who all had to go up there one at a time and step over the live rails for the instructor. I kept thinking, won't my steel-toe shoes cause it to arc or something? But fortunately none of us died.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Likes For Reflector Guy:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.