CYCLISTS have called for more dedicated lanes after it emerged serious accidents have increased by a third in three years.

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) – regarded as the best way to measure road safety – has increased from 54 in 2009 to 72 in 2012.

Richard Mann, from city cycling promotion group Cyclox, said: “Clearly the figures are a problem.

“The numbers are partly due to more cyclists on the road. The key is to get more cycle lanes painted, especially across junctions, so drivers know roughly what cyclists are doing. It is the surprises that lead to accidents.”

Tom Chapman, manager of the Cycle Centre in Jericho, said the increase was simply the result of more bikes on the roads.

He said: “When you have many more people travelling, you get many more miles covered and will have many more accidents.

“But (eventually) the more cyclists you have the safer roads are because the more motorists are conditioned to see cyclists the less surprising they are.

“It is not getting more dangerous. It is getting safer.”

He added: “Segregation does not really work. It is a lovely idea but the problem is we have not got enough space to do it properly. Cyclists are leaving and entering segregated areas and you get more tribalist mentality – drivers saying: ‘There are segregated facilities, why aren’t you using them?’ “If we could just be a little more considerate it would get a lot safer for everyone.”

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for transport Rodney Rose said: “There is a great need for more cyclist training I am afraid, especially in Oxford. Cyclists behave as though they are way above the highway code.”

All accidents involving cyclists rose from 276 in 2009 to 309 in 2012 (12 per cent) and slight casualties increased from 219 to 231 (five per cent) over the same period.

But at the same time the number of cyclists increased from 8,927 of 60,000 journeys to work in 2001 to 12,270 of 70,000 trips in 2011 (a 37 per cent increase).