A MOTORCYCLIST suffered serious head injuries in a crash on the A19 in York last night.

The 21-year-old male rider, from Nether Poppleton, was taken to Leeds General Infirmary following the accident, which happened close to The Mitre pub, in Shipton Road, at about 5.40pm.

North Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service were called to the scene, at the junction with Howard Drive, and the area was cordoned off for four hours while crash investigations took place.

Police said the crash involved an orange Aprilia moped, which was heading towards York, and a black Ford Fiesta whose driver and passenger were not injured. The moped rider is in a critical condition.

Traffic Constable Roger Walker, of North Yorkshire Police's roads policing group, said: "The collision happened at a busy time of day and I believe there are a number of people who witnessed it and who have not yet contacted the police

"I also need to speak to you if you saw either vehicle prior to the accident and ask you to get in touch."

A passer-by, who did not wish to be named, said the motorcycle involved in the crash was “a large bike”, which looked to have been travelling in the direction of York prior to the accident.

He said a black Ford car was parked in a lay-by close to the entrance of Clifton Ings, and showed signs of damage to the bodywork and windscreen. The passer-by also said police had been electronically scanning the road to create a record of the scene.

A police spokeswoman said the crash was “a serious incident”. A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were sent to the scene, and the injured rider was taken to the “major trauma unit” in Leeds due to the severity of his head injuries. She could not confirm the man's age.

Heavy traffic built up around the area while motorists were diverted around the scene. The Park&Ride number two service from Rawcliffe was severely delayed and a reduced service was in place from the time of the accident until about 10pm.

Anybody with information about the crash should phone Traffic Constable Walker at York Police on 101, or email roger.walker@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk, quoting reference number 12140004155..