A woman was last night seriously ill in hospital after suffering severe head injuries in a freak cycling accident.

The 43-year-old was pedalling downhill when a female pedestrian crossed her path.

It is thought as the cyclist, from Brighton, swerved to avoid the pedestrian she lost control and came off her bicycle.

Police at the scene of the crash, in Stanford Avenue, opposite Stanford Methodist Church, Five Ways, said the rider was not wearing a helmet.

Forensic collision officers initially described her condition as “life-threatening” but this was later downgraded to “serious”.

The woman was travelling between Ditchling Road and Preston Road when the collision happened at 10.35am yesterday (January 25).

The road was shut to traffic until 1.30pm while police examined the scene.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “It looks as though she swerved to avoid a woman crossing the road southbound and just came off her bike and hit her head hard. It is a reminder that people should always wear a helmet.”

The woman was airlifted to King’s College Hospital in London from nearby Blakers Park.

Douglas Morrison, who lives in Southdown Avenue, Brighton, walked past moments after the incident.

He said: “She looked seriously ill. Paramedics worked on her while she was lying on the floor. She was then lifted into an ambulance.”

A Sussex Police statement said: “Police are appealing for witnesses after the woman tried to avoid a pedestrian crossing the road and came off her cycle.

“She has serious head injuries but not life-threatening.”

Anyone who witnessed the accident should call Sussex Police on 101, quoting Operation Rochford.

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