A female cyclist who was hit by a lorry in High Barnet is believed to have died almost instantly.

Shocked crowds gathered around the woman, who was struck by an industrial dumper truck in High Street, outside St John the Baptist Church, shortly before 3pm.

One onlooker placed their coat over the woman’s head before emergency services arrived and officially declared the fatality.

Assistant curate at the church, Charlotte Ballinger, said a prayer over the woman’s body soon after the emergency services arrived.

Police put a cordon around the scene and erected a tent over the woman’s body. High Street remained closed off at the junction with the church at 6.15pm.

The road closure wreaked havoc with rush hour traffic and TfL diverted bus routes 234, 383 and 384.

Barnet College student Yasmin Costello arrived moments after the woman was hit.

The 18-year-old said: “I was in shock – everyone was in shock. You don’t expect to see this kind of thing, it was horrible.

“Her bike was in pieces and you just knew it was really bad – we knew she had died very quickly. It is not the sort of road where people go fast so I’m surprised – it was horrible.

“The driver of the truck was sat outside the sweet shop – he looked totally grief stricken and he must have been in shock.”

The lorry that hit the cyclist is owned by building contractors Fitzgerald and Burke, based in Oakleigh Road South, New Southgate. No-one at the business was available for comment this evening.

Maya Patel, co-owner of The Barnet Store newsagent near to the scene of the accident said: “It is a narrow stretch of road and if a lorry and a cyclist were coming through together it would be tight. I just feel for the cyclist and her family – it is very sad.”