Hampshire & Isle of Wight

New Forest crash: Family's tribute to 'happy' biker

Michael Smith
Image caption Michael Smith's brother said he was happiest riding his bike

The family of a motorcyclist who died in a crash in the New Forest have described him as a happy-go-lucky person who loved life.

Michael Smith, 50, from Freshwater, Isle of Wight, died when his bike was in collision with a van on the A35 between Ashurst and Lyndhurst.

He died at the scene of the crash just before 22:00 BST on 2 July.

His brother Richard said he was happiest when riding his motorbike to a bike show or "just riding his bike".

'Ride free'

He added: "Michael as a person loved life but life didn't always love him back which led some to believe that Mike was a gruff unhappy person - nothing could be further from the truth.

"Mike would help anyone with anything and would always do it willingly. He would work flat out all day for a thank you.

"[He] also had a wicked sense of humour which infected everyone around him and he loved nothing more than a few beers or ciders and a good belly laugh.

"I personally feel honoured to have been allowed to have spent time in the company of such a guy as Mike. Ride free my brother."

'So cruel'

Mr Smith also leaves a partner, Dee, who said: "It took most of our lives to find each other's kindred spirit - one who understood each other without words.

"So cruel to take him away so soon."

Hampshire Constabulary said Mr Smith lost control of his Yamaha 550 bike before hitting a Mercedes Vito van travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver, a 47-year-old man from Lymington, suffered shock but was uninjured.

The road was closed for seven and a half hours and police are continuing to appeal for information.

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