POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a motorcyclist was critically injured in a crash which closed the M5 motorway on Friday (August 11) and led to long queues of traffic on the A38 around Wellington and into Taunton.

The biker, who was in collision with a car on the northbound carriageway, was flown by Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to Southmead Hospital, in Bristol.

He was riding a black Triumph motorcycle which was in collision with a silver BMW 1 Series car between junctions 23 and 24 of the motorway, about half-a-mile short of the J23 exit, at about 10.30 am.

The motorway was closed as far back as the Taunton exit at junction 25 and was not expected to reopen until the evening, allowing police collision investigation work to be carried out, plus vehicle recovery.

Queues of trapped vehicles on the motorway grew back beyond Taunton and resulted in many motorists leaving the M5 at junction 27 as they entered Somerset and using the A38 and Wellington Relief Road, creating further mayhem on the trunk road, as well as around both Taunton and Bridgwater.

Police have appealed for any witnesses or anybody with dashcam footage to call 101 and quote reference number 5223193630.

An Avon and Somerset Constabulary spokesperson said: “We are particularly keen to hear from any motorists who were in the area at the time and may have witnessed the incident or either vehicle before the collision occurred.”

Both carriageways of the motorway were initially closed while emergency services, including the air ambulance, attended the scene, but the southbound side later reopened.

A National Highways spokesperson said: “Collision investigation is ongoing and closure is likely to be in place for several hours.

“There are 60-minute delays above normal travel time. Avoid the area if possible.”

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said the incident was attended by an air ambulance, a doctor, an operations officer and two double-crewed land ambulances.