Researchers at the Queen Mary, University of London analysed cycling accidents involving serious injury - where the cyclist was admitted to The London Hospital trauma centre by helicopter or ambulance - over a six year period.

The results found that cyclists were more than three times as likely to be killed when involved in a collision with an HGV compared with a car. Those who survived an HGV collision needed on average a 12 day stay in hospital and one in five needed to be transferred to another hospital, suggesting the need for further treatment and ongoing care.

According to Transport for London (TfL) there were 4,274 reported accidents involving cyclists on London's roads between August 2010 and July 2011. Of these, 12 resulted in the cyclist’s death of which eight involved an HGV, a large lorry or a refuse collection vehicle.

Devastating impact of serious cycling injuries

Leading researcher Dr Joannna Manson, Trauma Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London and surgery registrar at Barts and The London NHS Trust said: “This research paints a grisly picture of the injuries sustained by cyclists who are unlucky enough to be involved in a collision. But it’s a first step in providing evidence about the devastating impact of those most serious cycling injuries.

“Overall, increasing cycling in our cities is beneficial both to the individual and to the city but the risk of injury remains a major deterrent. Exactly how to improve the safety for people cycling in urban environments is unclear and we need more evidence to guide policy making in this area.”

Henrietta Phillips, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: “We know from the cases we deal with just how vulnerable cyclists are particularly to HGV road positioning and blind spots. Campaigns such as LCC’s Go Dutch Campaign shows the way we should be going and the ongoing cycle training for lorry drivers is the sort of positive step needed if we are to really reduce the risk.”